We recently went to Jubilee Lake in the Umatilla National Forest.  Upon stepping out of the car, the overwhelming scent of pine and woodsmoke immediately filled me with an aching nostalgia (and my eyes with tears) for all our forest hikes of years gone by.  The campground was full at this peak summer time, and happy voices - human and canine - echoed all the way around the lake.  According to my tracker, the trail is somewhere between 2.5 and 3 miles, and it is beautiful.  It exceeded our expectations.  We can't wait to get back there with our kayaks.

Summer has been treating us well.  A few weeks ago we took a quick trip to Hawaii.  We did early morning snorkeling (I could become obsessed with this activity), afternoon walking, and and took evening dips in the gloriously warm and stunningly turquoise water.  

I have been tending to the family garden out at my sister's place with my Dad, and I can't think of too many things that I've enjoyed so much in a long time.  It's so wonderful to spend that kind of time with my Dad.  The garden has given an abundance of corn, zucchini, yellow squash, beets, beans, potatoes, chard, eggplant, basil, kale, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and more that the family all shares.  We are currently waiting on cantaloupe and pumpkins!  

Yoga and running nearly every day have become habit over the last many months, and I feel like I've finally found what my mind/body needed in the balance between those two things.  The summer garden diet of very fresh fruits and veggies at every meal on top of that has me feeling extra plant-powered, invigorated, and better than I have felt in years.  

Lots of family time, new explorations, old and new habits taking hold....this season of life is feeling good and I'm so grateful.  I hope this season is a good one for you, too. 


spring break gratitude

For the first time since Thor was born, we did not go down to the California desert to see my folks for spring break.  They sold their little place down there and returned to Washington the week of Thor's school break.  We decided to do a beach trip for a few days, by way of Salem and Silverton.  The highlight (for me, anyway) was a day spent at Silver Falls hiking the 7-mile Trail of Ten Falls.  This place holds so many memories for us from our Salem days.  (Salem, I still love you so.) My heart felt so very happy and grateful to be back on these trails with my family (my human and tree family).  

The rest of our trip was spent at the coast in Newport.  I put my camera away for that part, but I assure you the Oregon coast is as magnificent as ever.  We body-boarded and surfed in the icy water, not knowing when our next chance would be, and found contentment along the old familiar roads and waterways.  

I will always have a certain longing for our place in Portland, but driving through the area was a hard reminder of why we left.  I returned home with a renewed appreciation for where we are now and a deep gratitude for finding our way here at this point in time ... but the Oregon forest, fog and sea will forever run through our veins.  

"We tend to think of landscapes as affecting us most strongly when we are in them or on them, when they offer us the primary sensations of touch and sight.  But there are also the landscapes we bear with us in absentia, those places that live on in memory long after they have withdrawn in actuality, and such places - - retreated to most often when we are most remote from them - - are among the most important landscapes we possess."  -  Robert Macfarlane in The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot