Simple Gifts

I believe I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world; the Snoqualmie Valley. I get to see amazing things everyday. It's time to celebrate that. (You can view pictures in larger format by clicking on them)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A journey shared

This holiday season has left me a bit sad. Perhaps it's silly, but for the past ten years home and family has meant Coal, Fancy, Grumbles and myself. Perhaps the difference between having pets and having furry family members, is the choice to see the individual. I have had the chance to share my home with these special individuals with unique personalities and needs. Instead of ownership, I have emotional obligations and a journey shared.

Grumbles, last Christmas
She decided the bed was for her, not Coal

As I write this Fancy sits purring in my lap. She is the same determined, bad tempered and smart cat. Our family is changing though and she has become friends with Schmoo. He's much bigger then her now and he has a puppy's exuberance but I've watched them sit side by side, gently bopping each other with their paws. A few nights ago, they slept side by side on the couch. I am glad for her.

Fancy Cat this summer
I actually got a picture of her!

I miss Coal and Grum. I miss Grumble's easy warmth, the way she'd hide under the covers and her play bites. I miss Coal so very much. I miss the expressions on his face, leaning into him, his joy at walks or snow and reaching out to his calm and loving presence. I ache from missing them, but I am also grateful for all they gave me.

Coal, summer of 2006
At Franklin Falls, one of our favorite places

My memories may be intangible but I will hold tight to them. Right now, Fancy sits warm and purring in my lap (and somewhat annoyed with my typing). While I embrace my memories I also reach out for the love I have. My furry family has changed, but it's still with me. I am soothed by Fancy's purr and thinking of tomorrow. Schmoozer is growing so fast and I am once again on a journey of discovery. His joy and energy brighten my days and neither one of us can resist the chance to walk and play. As always, it's the simple gifts in life that mean the most

Schmoo was surprised and confused at first
when we woke to nearly a foot of snow

Schmoo leading the way and wanting me to hurry up.

He sticks his head all the way in the snow
Or in the river... brrrrrrr!!!!!!

My beautiful puppy is growing up

The river by my house,
Thanks to Schmoo I got myself out to see the beauty

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Catching up on happenings

One of the wonderful things about life is the variety of opportunities to explore and learn. Of course for me, my favorite moments tend to include nature and dogs. Here are some of my special moments from the last few months.

Rattlesnake Mountain and Snoqualmie Point Trailhead

Katie and her lovely little girl Ruby, and Schmoozer and I decided we had to check out the new Snoqualmie Point Trailhead. (For some photos check out this wonderful blog). We we really enjoyed the new park but it was even nicer to be out exploring with good friends. We went a ways up the Rattlsnake Mountain trail and the goal wasn't distance or any particular place but just sharing with each other.

City Nature, the zoo and more

I met my friend Brad at the Renton park. Of course I can go just a short distance from my house and be lost in the woods, but the park was a fun experience. The Maples were gorgeous and salmon were spawning in the Cedar River.

We then drove down to the Point Defiance Zoo. Surprisingly, I think my favorite part of the zoo was the walruses.

There's a downstairs part to the zoo where you can see walrus, otters and beluga. It was really loud and I went over by the walruses while everyone else seemed gathered around the otters and whales. A family came over and they had a little girl who was somewhere between one and two. They put her on the cement ledge so she was right next to glass (like me). She and I were basically beside each other. This one walrus apparently was interested in the girl. The walrus would come up from below face and body brushing across the glass the girl leaned on. Walrus are big but the girl never flinched or anything. She just sat there with a quiet smile. I felt like we (the girl, walrus and I) shared a secret. When I went upstairs the keepers were feeding the walruses and that was fun to watch too. As always, it is the interactions with animals that fascinate me the most.

This is a baby Anoa

Later, Brad and I drove through Point Defiance park where we got to see some beautiful scenes and some very urban raccoons begging along side the road.

Trip to California

I drove down to California to visit my friends for Thanksgiving. Schmoozer was a great passenger even though it's a long drive for a puppy. I drove through eastern Washington and Oregon and they live in Central California so I saw a lot of desert. I love having that chance to experience such a different habitat. The desert even sounds different and the sunlight was certainly nice. We went for two hikes, one in the desert and one at Big Trees State Park, so we got to explore the different worlds of forest and arid land.

Nae and Tasha at Big Trees

Schmoozer was, of course, delighted by the visit because he got to spend hours playing with Abby the dog. She was pretty good spirited about the puppy energy. Both dogs enjoyed the hikes. Schmoo did get rather frightened of a stump. Yep, it was one scary stump and Schmooze was barking and trying to protects us while backing away! Even the puppy was tired after the hikes so we had our quiet moments too.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Nature Poem

We, who are civilized, like to idealize and sanitize Nature
However, birth is a bloody, painful process that can end in sorrow and suffering.
Death isn't always quick and painless like my childhood nature shows proclaimed.
Natures glory is not always green or gold.

Ask the farmer or the logger if Nature is gentle.
Mud and muck, snot and slime,
Nature can be a stern and unforgiving mother.
The fetid odor of putrification and eutrification
Is as much her perfume as roses and spring breezes.

Today, I looked at the ruler straight snow line on the mountain.
The trees above stood out bright and strong against the twilight sky.
It reminded me of a winter display found in the shopping mall.
Perhaps I should be comforted by the sign of order and beauty,
But I felt uncertain and distant and longed for Natures intimacy.