It's been almost three weeks since we returned from Scotland.  It's funny how one particular location can get under your skin and all the rest kind of fall away when you think back on a trip.  My heart definitely belongs to one particular place we went.  I'm just now starting to go through all the pictures I took and hope to have some posts up in the next week or two.  

I have felt derailed of routine since returning and have had a hard time sleeping and going about my regular habits.  Does that happen to you?  I feel like part of it is anticipation of change.  I know it's still summer for well over another month, but seeing the garden winding down, everything looking so brown around here, and feeling heat in the 90s-low 100s has me just looking forward to fall.  Part of it is feeling like I'm in perpetual hot-flash mode, but I'm just so tired of feeling beastly hot all the time and am starting to get those end-of-summer twinges for darker, cooler evenings and cozier, quieter days.  It feels like we are in an "until" time.  

Last weekend there was a family reunion here in town for my dad's side of the family.  His siblings and their families (he is one of 11, there are 5 left) have held family reunions ever since I can remember, in various towns in Washington and Oregon.  It's always so good to see everyone, but after four days with lots of people I was more than ready to get out into the woods.  My husband and I took a long hike in the Blues.  Wildflowers are still in bloom, the ferns still verdant.  The sights and sounds of the forest were a symphony for my soul.  

lake & 4th


It feels really good to be getting out every weekend again and nice to finally be able to get further up the mountains to trails that were inaccessible over the winter.  We tried to get to Jubilee Lake about a month ago but the road was still closed due to snow.  This past Saturday we finally made it back and had warm(ish) temperatures and the trail mostly to ourselves.  My sister came with us and that made it extra nice. 

On the 4th, we got up early and road-tripped to Portland, Salem, and then Monmouth to spend the day with my husband's family.  My brother and his wife just moved to Portland from California, and we stopped to visit them and see their new place.  It's going to be so nice to have them so close and see them more than once a year.  At my sister-in-law's place in Monmouth, we caught up with family we hadn't seen for a while, ate, and watched all the kids/cousins having a blast together.  After dark/fireworks, we headed home, bringing one of Thor's cousins with us.  We got home and fell into bed about 3:30 in the morning, so were all a little blurry-eyed yesterday, but it was well worth the trip.  

We have been counting down the days to a very exciting adventure.  In a week, we will be somewhere we have never been but always dreamed of going.  I cannot wait.  



A midweek pause at the Walla Walla River.  While my husband fished, I walked up the rocky riverbank, exploring, listening, watching sunlight filter and glitter through the trees.  Simple pleasures.



Up in the Blue Mountains last weekend.  It has become increasingly rare that T comes hiking with us these days, and it was so nice to have him along.  The weather was perfect - cold and dark to begin with, then slowly and slightly warming up, with the sun coming and going at just the right moments to keep us warm and bring things into full color.  The lush green grasses, plants, and wildflowers in bloom were so beautiful.  We hiked this trail a couple of times last fall and it was so brown, so desolate - also beautiful, but in a different way.  This place is a completely different creature in my mind now.  It's no longer a quiet, careful, resigned thing, but rather one that sings with life, movement, and freedom.  A change of seasons, a new perspective.  
by mlekoshi