Finding Loveliness

Day’s Verse:
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.”
Matthew 5:43-44

There’s something about this time of year: The lights, the sparkle, the shine; the bold reds and greens and golds contrasting against each other; something that makes me remember that I love photography. That, combined with my awareness that some folks at church have been playing with new cameras and lenses, have let me hear again the soft, insistent call of my digital SLR. It’s nothing fancy, and the lens isn’t anything to write home about, but it captures beauty.

I want to see beauty in my life. It’s easy to get caught in the downward pull of the mundane, to glance over or through those many small moments. Remember the opening of Joe vs. the Volcano?

(Yep, the quality is terrible and it has Chinese subtitles — don’t ask where it came from.)

Lately I’ve allowed myself to put my head down and just trudge. Picking up my camera lets me find the loveliness everywhere I go. It isn’t always conventionally pretty or pleasing to the eye, but we live in a world where even broken glass glitters in the sun. Here’s what I saw today.

Ribbons & Bells

Christmas Decorations 1

Ribbons & Lights 2

Picture This

Day’s Verse:
There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth: … A right time to destroy and another to construct…
Ecclesiastes 3:1,3b

$400 worth of dirt and rocks.
$400 of Dirt & Rocks
Boy do I hope that tomorrow we get enough digging done in the back yard to get our driveway back. For reference, that’s 4 yards of Pacific Garden Mulch and 3 yards of 1 1/4-inch drain rock from Pacific Topsoils. I’ll add that I had an excellent customer experience with the Pacific Topsoils people, and I’ll certainly go back to them for our future dirt/rock needs.

20 lbs of honeycrisp apples.
20 lbs of Honeycrisp Apples
We are going to use our dehydrator to convert this large box of apples into a very tiny volume of apple chips, which we’ll consume in a matter of days.

NaNoWriMo 2011 research.
NaNoWriMo 2011 Research
I have a decent idea that I’m excited to pursue as a legitimate, non-sarcastic, non-parody novel. Of course, I’m counting on having time to write this November. If I actually get some OSPI teaching work (har har), that might make NaNoWriMo difficult. But I can always do it in December, or any other arbitrary period of 30 days. This stack of books comes to me courtesy of research librarian Michael, at the Bellevue Regional Library, who put them all on hold for me after reading a description and question I emailed to KCLS. I love it when my tax dollars are at work for me.

The bike ride Dad and I did today.

We’ll be digging ditches and ponds in my back yard tomorrow, and Sunday is church, which equals a weekend with NO BIKE RIDING*. Happily, Dad has loads of vacation time and could take Friday off for bike riding. And the weather cooperated, giving us a very warm, sunny, windy day. And today is what I think of as Flipover Day, more officially known as autumnal equinox, so it’s amazing to be worrying about overheating.

*This is probably the first such weekend in 8 or 9 months. I’ll hardly know what to do.

Ashland Bike Ride Media

Day’s Verse:
Run to me, dear lover.
Come like a gazelle.
Leap like a wild stag
on the spice mountains.

Song of Solomon 8:14

If I picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a video worth? Here are some videos I took of riding in Ashland, Oregon. This blog post will give you the impression that I went to Ashland for biking. Although the biking was exceptional, we were actually there for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I’ll put up another post about the plays and that experience, so stay tuned. Meantime, on to the media from the two hill climb rides I did in Ashland.

The first ride, I went out to the delightfully-named Dead Indian Memorial Road and did hill repeats. I guess you can call it a repeat if you do it twice, right? The interesting thing was going from down low, which has these sere hills, some scrub oak, and various other similar dry, hot-weather plants, up to higher elevations that are populated with gorgeous pines and evergreens. Here’s a video from lower down.

And here’s a video of the same road, a few thousand feet higher.

The next day, I rode up Mt. Ashland. The metrics don’t sound that impressive — 50 miles roundtrip, 5000 feet or so of climbing — until you realize almost all the climbing was in 15 miles going up the mountain. I now understand how different climbing 5,000 feet spread out is compared to all at once. Anyway, the ride was truly spectacular. Here are videos from that ride. They really don’t capture it; I kept getting these amazing glimpses into the valley all the way to Mt. Shasta off in the distance.

Here’s the lower-down video:

And here’s the video a few thousand feet higher up.

Definitely go take a look at my Flickr set for some cool pictures of Ashland and our drive down Highway 101. There are some very neat pictures there. Here are a few I just have to share.

You don’t see these at home. I cautiously walked across the cattle guard, not trusting myself to ride across it safely. How dumb would it be to crash on a cattle guard?
They Don't Have These At Home

This was the road lower down, heading toward Mt. Ashland. There was no traffic because partway up, one of the bridges was closed. Happily for me, the closure was for paving, which was essentially finished — they just still had equipment sitting around. I went around the road-closure barriers without any trouble. The result of that, though, was virtually zero traffic on that road, before or after the bridge. People saw the road closure signs and avoided it. Great for biking!
Mt. Ashland Road: Lower Down

Here’s the view from the top of Mt. Ashland facing…um, I guess south. That’s Mt. Shasta off in the distance.
View from Mt. Ashland

And finally, a vignette and accompanying picture. The story: When I got to the top of Mt. Ashland, I rode by a little boy who enthusiastically hailed me. There was nobody else up there — just me, this little boy, and his mom. And their black lab, Joy. Anyway, I stopped and asked the boy’s mom to take my picture at the top. The boy, who was incredibly gregarious, immediately gravitated to my bike and started examining it with great interest. He talked nonstop. I quickly learned that his name was Ian. He really wanted to be in my top-of-the-mountain picture, so here it is: Me and Ian at the top of Mt. Ashland.
Katie & Ian at the Summit
After that, he got fascinated with my bike pump and I let him carry it off in order to get a picture by myself. Turns out his little bike had a low front tire, and he immediately cottoned on to the idea of using my pump to put air in his tire. Unfortunately, the valves were incompatible and I had to leave without putting air in his tires. I rode down, taking one hour what had taken me two and a half to do going up. Boy it was fun.

Sometimes I really wish I could just ride and never stop.

More Seaside Pictures!

Day’s Verse:
God, brilliant Lord,
your name echoes around the world.

Psalm 8:9

Here are pictures of the day for the last few days.

Sunday: None, because I didn’t bring my camera with me at all! Also, we spent almost the whole day reading, with the occasional walk thrown in to keep our limbs from ossifying. I read almost the entirety of Three Musketeers. All for one, one for all! And thank goodness Milady was killed in the end, that b*tch.

Ian at Kinni-Kinnic Lodge

One Sandal
I went for a really nice bike ride on Tuesday, over to Oswald State Park. Here’s the route:

I mention this because there were some AMAZING views on the hill above Manzanita, and I took some pictures with my cell phone (which has the equivalent of a pinhole camera, so the best I could hope for is blurry-but-recognizable). Unfortunately, those will have to wait until we get home because I have no way of getting them off my camera here.

Abandoned Sandals
Check out the other pictures I put in my Flickr album, though — we saw some really cool sea life this morning during the low tide. We saw a limpet with its antennae out!; a sand dollar that had MOVED and left a track!; and of course lots of sea stars, hermit crabs, barnacles, anemones, and crab tracks.

I’ll probably post some more pictures from today. Dad and Mom came down yesterday afternoon, and Dad and I are going for a ride that’s supposed to have some nice views. We’ll have a better camera along, so I hope to capture some of it.

At Long Last, Crater Lake Pictures

Day’s Verse:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Part of Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon.
Lithia Park

First view of Crater Lake.
Crater Lake: First View

Obligatory picture of us, commemorating our trip.
Ian & Katie at Crater Lake

Looking south (I think) across Crater Lake.
Crater Lake facing South

We hiked down the Cleetwood Trail to the lake level.
Crater Lake: Lake Level

Ian even looked happy when we reached the bottom. That changed on the way back up.
Ian at Crater Lake

There were some really staggering panoramas of the landscape around Crater Lake, too.
Panorama on Drive Home

Drive Home

Drive Home 1

On the drive home, we stopped at a scenic overlook where the Rogue River had carved out a canyon in the volcanic rock.
Rogue River Waterfall

Rogue River Canyon

The next day we hiked up and all over the top of Lower Table Rock. Things both big (landscapes) and small (flowers) captivated us.
Ian At Lower Table Rock

California Condor

Lower Table Rock View


Lower Table Rock Grassland

Firework Flowers

I took a ton of HDR-ready pictures but haven’t had the time to combine them yet. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the pictures from our trip. And don’t complain there weren’t any of Ashland or the plays — no pictures allowed in the theaters, and Ashland was nice but not particularly photographic. The end!