The four redwoods

A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
—Ecclesiastes 4:12

Four redwood trees grow in my yard: three in one corner, a fourth by itself in another. The three that grow together shelter each other, and each one receives shade from the others at some point during the sun-drenched day.

Three redwood sentinels stand guard at one corner of the yard.

Each summer, right about this time, I start to fret about the fourth one standing alone. Its needles brown, despite the drip hose, evening waterings, and prayers. Continue reading

Studying and fighting for champion trees

I spent last week in a place I love. I love running there like no other place, because running there means I get to enjoy shaded trails under towering trees, and stop to drink in sweeping vistas of mountain ranges covered in hardwoods and pines. I can run longer and breathe easier in this place of magnificent trees. (Well, maybe not physically breathe easier because of the elevation, but there’s an emotional breath that comes more easily to me when I’m there.)

So when I imagine a world without trees, my heart catches, and I think of this beloved mountain place. I cannot let myself imagine it without its crown of trees. You might wonder why I would even try to imagine a world without trees. Well, because a book I recently read, The Man Who Planted Trees by Jim Robbins, asked me to do just that. Continue reading

A hard time of year to stay inside

Fall here is beautiful in its own way, not in a familiar North Carolina way, but in a way that catches my breath nonetheless.

The salmon are beginning their run, and happy fisher people (mostly fishermen) are daily swarming the river, giddy with the prospect of catching a big fish. A happy man popped up from the riverbank just this morning, a large, pink fish swinging from his side.

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Why do you think they fish all together instead of spreading out?

Rain came back in a big way, too, over the weekend. More than two inches over four days. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Continue reading

A green escape from the cares of the world

There are days I want to turn off the television, the radio, social media. Days I want to escape from the horrors of our world. Days I want to let nature enfold me and bring a sense of peace back to my soul.

If you’re visiting this blog today, maybe you’re feeling that way, too? Want to come on a virtual journey with me?

When my husband and I were in Oregon for the Olympic trials, we spent one of the competition’s off days visiting the McKenzie River in the Cascades. The drive was beautiful, and at one point, I couldn’t see anything but a sliver of road surrounded all around by tall evergreens. It was a sight for sore eyes missing the green of home.

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Trees, trees everywhere (a view from where we parked the car and got out to venture around)

Our surroundings turned magical once we got out of the car. Continue reading

The owls and the interloper

Our owls came back to nest this year, and my husband and I have enjoyed seeing the increased activity around the owl box in the past few weeks. The parent owls showed themselves more during the daytime this year and even did a few too many fly-bys of my head when I was outside in the evenings.

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Mamma or daddy owl (a western screech-owl) on high alert. Its markings are beautiful.

Others nearby haven’t been as thrilled with the owls nesting in our bird box. Somewhere close to the box is a hummingbird nest, along with the nest of another sort of bird—perhaps a black phoebe (I’m not sure about the identification of that one). There are other tiny birds in the area, too, and I wonder if they have a nest somewhere in those trees, too.

As the mother owl left the nest more frequently, the other birds flitted around the trees by the box, pitching a frenzied “Go away!” fit. Continue reading