Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell from the summit

The street sign says it all. This is my last post on Bend, Oregon, Daily Photo until my return on April 17th, 2010. Tapirgal of Astoria Daily Photo encouraged me to smile and to invite all of you to follow me on my new blog, Lee's Amizade Adventure. My flight from Portland, Oregon, on Sunday morning, January 3rd has a long layover in Miami, during which I intend to post my first impressions of the trip before departing for Brazil. Until then, have a blissful, photo-filled Happy New Year and thanks as always for your kind words and support.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Getting Ready

On a cool, sunny afternoon several weeks ago in Bend, Oregon, I hiked along this quiet trail near Shevlin Park, and reflected on my upcoming volunteer Amizade adventure. Although I have no recollection of any of the particular thoughts I had as I ascended this slight grade, I have no problem sharing that little else has dominated my thoughts over the past months than the details and personal ramifications of this journey.

In less than one week from today, I will start the first leg of a four-month trip which will take me to five different continents, where I will necessarily and directly be immersed in the complexities of vastly different cultures. I have already mentioned that, on the surface, my role is to work as a volunteer on widely diverse humanitarian projects, photograph and write about them and provide useful information for future volunteers. To express this goal in words is easy, but to actually lay the groundwork to pull it off is a stress-filled challenge. The travel preparations, including transportation and lodging, have been daunting. Likewise, it has been no easy task to settle affairs at home to accommodate a protracted absence. There have been challenges predicated by my choice to travel light with only a backpack and a carry-on as to choice of clothing and equipment. Notwithstanding, I have had to consider health issues and have undergone lots of tests, some of which have increased my level of anxiety rather than mollifying me. Last of all, I have had to struggle with an internal battle concerning my separation from loved ones and the effect it will have on my relationship with them. I rationalize that in the scheme of things this trip is only for a short time, and that I'll be back soon, but the reality is that the perils I am about to encounter are numerous and that, as it is often wryly thought at these moments, you never know the last time you say good-bye.

In any case, on Sunday, January 3rd, I leave first for Brazil, with a layover in Rio de Janeiro before heading to the Amazon river town of Santarem. I am excited to share my adventure with you. Yet this blog is so much more than a daily post of pretty pictures and words. It is a lifeline to the world to which I belong. It is a conduit to the people I love. Without it, I am simply alone, the proverbial rolling stone tossed by fickle current down to the sea.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

along the trail

Although there is no snow on the ground today in Bend, Oregon, it takes only a short drive West toward the mountains to find a Winter paradise. On this forest trail, closed to cars for the season, the public can spend carefree hours walking, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing. There are those of you who follow this blog who see nothing glamorous in having cold toes, ears and nose, and who also define good exercise as rolling from back to stomach on a chaise lounge under a gentle tropical sun. To you, outdoor cold weather activities probably has little appeal. Such ventures are not for everybody. Notwithstanding, in the above picture, the hardy gang decked out in fleece and gortex, march forward joyously and rhythmically, December's snowsong drummed by their boots. As they pass, they acknowledge intuitively that the camera-toting stranger in similar uniform is an ally, and like themselves, a lover of movement in the iced-white world of Winter. I hear their footsteps recede in the distance and by their dissipating presence, I feel strangely warmed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

bottoms up?

This week my goal has been to take my blogger friends down the beginner run, Leeway, at Mt Bachelor Resort near Bend, Oregon. The last picture of this series, which shows my skis in a rack in front of the lodge at the bottom of the run, is a tribute to all of you for your good nature, humor, and mild curiosity about downhill skiing and snowboarding. Also my congratulations go out to MB of Small City Scenes to be the only participant left standing out of the entire motley crew. Now it is time to retreat into the lounge for refreshments by the fireplace. The round is on me!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Goin' my way?

For the last two days I have been posting photos of a beginner run named Leeway at Mt Bachelor Resort near Bend, Oregon. On this glorious crisp clear day the staff has groomed the snow beautifully, making the ride down to the bottom smooth and fast. This somewhat level spot is at the bottom of a hill, the top of which can be seen in the background of yesterday's post. The hill resembles a wide and 100 foot (35 meters) long playground slide. For those of you who are still with me and who have not been airlifted, or are still sprawled out on the snow or tangled in a pine tree, remember there is hot coffee and Baileys waiting for you at the lodge. By the way, the end is not just around the next bend but near the valley floor about a mile away. Keep in mind the old adage, "No guts, no glory."I know you'll make it!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Going my Way?

In yesterday's post I promised to take you down a beginner's run at Mt Bachelor resort near Bend, Oregon, named Leeway. At the top, the run is slightly sloping and has been groomed to make for a smooth ride. For those who seek more challenge, a skier or snowboarder can cruise through the large piles of snow on the edge or shoot off into the trees into ungroomed terrain. For our purposes, we will stick to the center and make slow looping graceful turns. I know that we don't want to go too fast and lose control or something annoying may happen. It is best to face downhill and let the skis do the turns, although this is easier said than done, but with practice I think we'll make it. I am sure you have noticed that the trail seems to drop off in the distance. Humpf, I wonder what that means? Yikes! Where's the St Bernard?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Going my Way?

This directional sign at mid-mountain, adjacent the Pine Martin lodge at Mt Bachelor Resort near Bend, Oregon, is just to the left of the location of yesterday's post. It directs skiers and snowboarders to various runs and rates them according to difficulty. A green circle connotes "easy", a blue square suggests "moderate" difficulty, and a "black" diamond (not listed) is a slope for advanced or "expert" enthusiasts.
One of the green runs, "Leeway", tickles me because of its name. I remember the first time I skied down it, I found it quite difficult and, on any given day, it still can provide quite a thrill. It is long, and has a few short, but steep drops. Follow me for the next two days while I take you along for the ride. Don't worry, you'll be safe. I won't let you fall!

Friday, December 18, 2009

view of the top

Standing at the edge of the tree line adjacent the mid-mountain lodge at Mount Bachelor Resort near Bend, Oregon, the site of yesterday's post, it is apparent there is still much mountain left to explore. The lift to the summit is East and not in view. The lift to the right of the picture is the top of the Outback Chair, which provides access to the west side of the mountain. The summit is at about ten thousand feet and provides amazing vistas of the Cascade Range. I'd love to show you some shots from above, but the lift was closed. In fact, this picture was taken last year at this time. Today it was so foggy, that from this spot, I couldn't have even seen the map in the foreground. Sometimes the weather trumps the fun. After five runs, I decided to go home rather than taking the chance of running into something solid with little "give", such as a pine tree!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Into Thin Air

This scene from mid-mountain Pine Martin Lodge at Mt Bachelor Resort near Bend, Oregon, seems like an apt picture for Skywatch Friday. Join me for a moment on this balcony, feel the cool fresh air in your lungs and let your eyes take you to the horizon. Great! Now I suppose you wonder how you're going to get down the mountain. Well, you can always slide on your butt!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lions, tigers and ......

Today, I took a new trail into the park near my house in Bend, Oregon, and came across the above sign. I hoped I would be lucky to spot some spectacular wildlife. By the way, in the small print in the lower half of the sign, it says, "If you have questions , please contact...... ." What possible questions would you have? "Should I call kitty, kitty?" "Can I take mama bear's cub home?"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter thoughts

Today's photo is the third in a series of photos featuring the arrival of Winter in Bend, Oregon. The usually rich, smooth, dark green boughs of a ponderosa pine are now frost-coated and brittle. A small cone, bundled between two clusters of needles, peeks out like a toothy rodent at the mouth of a burrow. So it is in these days, the temptation to venture out and see. Like a mad baker, Winter has coated nature's treats with icy white sprinkles, tantalizing and sugarlike to the eyes, but cold and foreboding to unmittened fingers. I stand frozen in the crisp air by this array of majesty and open my shutter and touch.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

White light

The frigid weather last week in Bend, Oregon, dressed the tan and gray brown Autumn landscape into the white garments of Winter. Last season's new growth adorns the crisp air proudly like tail feathers of an ice-sculpted peacock. Wherever I look, I spy evidence of cold white filigree bringing prominence to unsuspecting objects. It is the handiwork of the new season, which disguised first as an icy night wind, has revealed itself in texture as a bearer of nature's love song.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

(s)no man should be so lucky!

Central Oregon and Bend, Oregon, has had, like the rest of the country, its share of cold weather this week. In fact on Wednesday evening the ambient temperature dropped to 12 below zero, which is highly unusual for this area. The daytime temperature has warmed up considerably since then and much of the snow in town has melted, but last night there were fresh snow showers in the mountains and I had my first glorious day of downhill skiing. I feel fortunate to experience a variety of weather and seasons here. I know there those of you who look at the above Bend citizen and are reminded of all the snow they have shoveled in their life and are glad to be done with that. There are benefits too. I saw a father and son create this stalwart denizen. It was an act of love and joy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The write touch?

When I arose at dawn today in Bend, Oregon, I spied a design made from jets crossing above. The sky looked like a giant chalkboard. As a child I remember often seeing sky writers. Is it done anymore? If you could write something what would it be? I thought about it and decided that I 'd be glad to simply scribe in my name, nothing profound, witty nor base. I'll leave those categories for you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Going Downtown?

I have rarely posted any pictures of downtown Bend, Oregon. I have focused instead on the natural beauty of the area. This photo continues to leave followers somewhat in the dark about the town's appearance. Briefly the core business district, consisting of one way streets, contains quite a number of small boutique clothing and gift shops which I seem to be intentionally expensive. Also there are a number of better than average restaurants with elaborate wine lists for guests with a discriminating palette. It is my understanding that once Burger King was denied a permit to locate in an empty store front. My favorite stop is the barbershop. A haircut costs $17.00 which includes a beer or micro-brew for every patron. Overall the town projects a genteel atmosphere and offers visitors a clean, safe, pleasant place to stroll. Strangely enough I have not gone into most of the establishments. I am more of an alley cat than pedigree.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

War to End All Wars Revisited, Part 2

Yesterday I posted some thoughts on my Bend Daily Photo blog precipitated by the 68th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. I mirrored some ideas about war expressed eloquently by famed historian, Howard Zinn in "A Just War". I have received many comments from followers of my blog, most who see war has a necessary response to a tyrannical enemy. This position is understandable and troubling, because the choice to use force usually means that the victim must assume the behavior of the foe in order to prevail and thus exacerbates the loss of life, the destruction of resources and property and intensifies the disruption of lives of many for a dubious outcome.
As I leave for my Amizade adventure, I know that I will be asked by people along the way my position on America's role in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Iran, my feelings about the Taliban, and generally how I see America's role in the developing world. My responses are important to me personally and as a representative of America. In my post I suggested looking more critically at the value and purpose of military response. I struggle mightily with the subject of war and understand the positions of those that profess the need to show a tough military posture to dissuade rogue leaders and nations from trampling on the rights of others. Likewise, I am also sympathetic with those who see war and amassing materiels as a completely insane and counterproductive immoral waste of resource and suggest a paradigm shift in which the common man rejects lending himself physically, politically and spiritually as a willing sacrifice to further the aggrandizement of an elite few. At some point I need to choose what is ultimately a more compelling argument.
As I have grown older, my wish is to rediscover and cultivate the albeit naive idealism of my youth. I desire to embrace the idea of redirecting our war machine into a peace machine as an example of proper action. I want to act "as if" being socially sensitive through random acts of kindness may indirectly weaken the grip of power hungry leaders. Call it senility. I know the mean world and the enemy well. It is us. I have such little time left to believe there is anything I can do about it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A War to End All Wars Revisited

I ventured out at sunset today December 7th in Bend, Oregon, to take a picture in memory of Pearl Harbor which took place 68 years ago. Several times today I heard the statistics about the number of ships that were sunk that "infamous" Sunday morning and the number of American lives that were killed and how the next day we entered World War II. Unlike other conflicts of the recent past, it is said our entry into WWII was clearly necessary and justifiable in order to put an end to Hitler's tyranny and the Japanese lust for power.
The idea whether a war can ever be viewed as" just" has been written about eloquently by Howard Zinn in " A Just War". On this day, with the Iraq action still unresolved, and the prospect of more troops on their way to Afghanistan, it is important to consider carefully whether war is the best use of our human talents and resources to create a better world. To be sure, it is difficult to stop tyrants, or tyrannical groups but their power comes ultimately from the people who believe in them. Somehow if our government through its military can organize massive amounts of firepower, destruction which directly and indirectly brings suffering, we should equally be able to imagine amassing huge amounts of water power, construction, and goodwill. Is it worth thinking on this date again even stronger about an alternative to war?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

sknowing snow

I have shown many pictures of South Sister near Bend, Oregon, in my posts but I could not resist sharing this snowy picture. Standing at just over 11,000 feet, South Sister is the third highest peak in Oregon. This early season dumping may portend a good snow year. Snow pack is valuable for so many of our natural resources, but in recent years, warmer temperatures have caused a smaller snow pack and the melting of glaciers. There are those who wish to discredit the idea of global warming, but here on the Cascade volcanoes, especially on Mt Hood near Portland, Oregon, a marked decline in snow is easily visible by comparing recent photos with the past. There is hardly a scientist who disputes the deleterious effects of carbon on the ozone layer. Still let's hope there is the chance to preserve our beautiful environment and to enjoy vistas like this one for many years to come.

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's all downhill from here

This is my third view of Mt Bachelor ski resort near Bend, Oregon. It is late afternoon on an overcast day, so this photo doesn't really bring out the energy and color which is typical when the place is hopping. In the background is the Pine Martin lift, which takes skiers and snowboarders up to a lodge which is hidden from view and over the bluff and at mid-mountain. From this angle the slopes don't look like they have much pitch and are, in fact, categorized as intermediate "blue'' runs. The difficulty of ski slopes really depends on weather conditions as well as its slope. I have come down by this lift countless times in deep powder or in fog or a snowstorm and have been mightily challenged. I thank my children for having encouraged me to overcome my fear and to take up downhill skiing which I did at age 46. I love this Winter activity so much and look forward to snapping some pictures for you from above.

Friday, November 27, 2009

pray for.....

Late in the afternoon, the ticket windows are closed at Mt Bachelor Ski Resort near Bend, Oregon. Earlier in the day this spot was filled with excited skiers and snowboarders, planning day-filled adventure with much bravado. Now the crowds have gone, and a strange peace descends on the mountain and its surroundings, reminiscent of an empty playground without children. In the above photo with its sparse, and random collection of snowboards, skis and poles, we see the leftovers of the morning celebration. Under the equipment racks the snow is packed down hard from the trampling of colorful boots . The morning prayer includes thoughts that tomorrow there will be new snow. A new caravan of novitiates will then caravan to this white world to be infused by its glory. Please note my newest post on Lee's Amizade Adventure.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

On High

One month ago, I posted a Fall picture of Mt Bachelor almost completely barren of snow. Some of you wanted me to post some Winter shots, when the time came. Last week Bend, Oregon, experienced a surprisingly early snowstorm, which produced over 30 inches of snow in the mountains. This gave skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts a pleasant surprise, an early opening to the resort. I drove up the road day before yesterday and took a series of pictures which I will show over the next several days. The summit of this long dormant volcano is around 9600 feet and is about 3 miles from top to base with a vertical drop of about 3000 feet. On this day my focus was to display its stately beauty. Like a sweet vanilla ice cream sundae without the cherry, this majestic beauty stands like an appealing treat for the cooled Northwest sky.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Day for Darwin

This morning I read in the Bend, Oregon, Bulletin that today commemorated the 150th anniversary of the the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. in which Darwin concluded that natural selection was the key factor in an evolutionary process which has been going on for millions of years, a position which has been vastly strengthened through the study of genetics and the discovery of DNA which show how traits are passed on.
Today, according to a Gallup poll, 44% of Americans believe God created man in his present form within the last 10,000 years and 42% of Americans believe all life on earth has existed in its present form since the beginning of time. This attitude not only reflects the well-documented fact that average American adult lacks even basic scientific literacy, but like primitive peoples, he chooses religious answers for questions he fails to understand. This dependence on supernatural explanations retards human growth and has been unproductive in advancing civilization with respect to gathering knowledge and understanding nature.
Darwin's contribution was to take the explanation of life down a different path and to look at it not from the perspective developed by severely limited, ancient desert people, but through honest, measurable inquiry.
I know that much scientific theory today will be modified or debunked tomorrow. I still feel the mystery of nature and am amazed by it. I don't know what to think about the prima causa or about magical coincidences. Yet, there is one thing of which I am certain: namely, I am frightened by those who may come to power who wish to de-legitimize science in order to preserve ignorance and superstition. Darwin may have set in motion serious investigation into the origin of life, but it is up to us to protect and foster the process he eloquently endorsed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

open to it all

Late this afternoon, on a walk across a high meadow on the outskirts of Bend, Oregon, I spied a series of lenticular clouds hanging over the mountains. These unusually-shaped formations are among my favorites, sometimes appearing as silky caps on mountain peaks or as UFO impostors hovering overhead. The air today is cool, fresh and highly scented by pine trees. There is a new thick layer of snow on the trail which appears before me like the sheet music of some modern piece, a staccato of notes formed by rabbit prints and other assorted small scurrying things. I breathe deeply and feel my legs taking me further into the interior. I tug at the hood of my sweatshirt and draw the strings tighter to stave the chill. Like a monk on a mission, I am off into God's country, so to speak, to enjoy its splendor.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

going full circle

Although I took this photo last summer after I completed an arduous hike on a dusty trail near Bend, Oregon, I decided I would use it as my first entry on my new blog, Lee's Amizade Adventure. I hope you will be able to bookmark this new blog as well. I intend to keep posting on Bend Daily Photo until I leave on January 3rd, but thought I would begin to share my thoughts tonight about my upcoming adventure in a new location. For a cursory description of my itinerary please see yesterday's post.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

going down the line

Late this afternoon, before it began to snow, I snapped a picture of the old train station in Bend, Oregon. It is now the home to an art collective called Art Station, which offers community sponsored art classes to children and adults. I looked carefully along the roadway to see the vestige of old railroad tracks, but could find none and know, if I go by the historical museum, I'll probably find old photos and learn its history. In an earlier post I related how I became infatuated with trains as a child and this thrill has never left me. I went to a railroad museum in San Diego recently and bought caps of the now defunct Southern Line and the Southern Pacific. I don't think I'll ever wear these odd-looking engineer's caps nor hang them on hooks. I am still puzzled by my impulse. The emblems on them were beautifully embroidered and reminded me how exciting it was to see these lines' colorful freight cars whizzing by.

Yesterday I mentioned that I will be taking a hiatus from Bend Daily Photo starting in January and will be starting a new blog. Briefly, through strange circumstances, I decided to volunteer for what was to be a short while with an international service organization called Amizade. Upon learning of my blogging experience and liking my writing skills, the director asked me almost jokingly if I would be interested in doing a blog and a cohesive narrative of a number of their sites. Anyway, I am leaving first for northern Brazil to take pictures, write and help out at a medical facility and school in a small city on the Amazon. After that I fly to Cochabamba, Bolivia and do the same at an orphanage. After several weeks I leave for Tanzania via England where I will be in the "bush" near the Uganda and Rwanda border where volunteers are putting in water systems for villagers. I then cross Tanzania on my own and will be able to go on a safari through the Serenghetti. I then fly East through Hong Kong and New York to Jamaica and spend two weeks at a school up in the mountains. Finally I return to America and go to Arizona to the Navajo Nation for two weeks and help at an Indian school. At the end of April, I'll be back in Oregon and wonder whether it was all a dream or whether it was real. That's it. How does it feel? without a home a complete a rolling stone! Thanks Bob D.

Rise and Shine

I have been remiss in posting this week and hope to be able to show scenes of Bend, Oregon for the next several days until Thanksgiving plans take me elsewhere. Then my posting may be spotty again, until I return home after the first week in December. I have been waking early and seeing remarkable sunrises on the high desert and felt compelled to share this view taken from my front porch. My head is bursting with new ideas and thoughts predicated by a great upcoming adventure which will take me to many amazing places. I will be leaving Bend, Oregon for 4 months and will be creating a new blog which I hope you will be interested in following. I will include details in upcoming posts. A new morning to all of you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

resting place

I am not sure what caused this ponderosa pine node to fall. I saw it and similar new growth lying on the duff along the Benham Falls trail last week near Bend, Oregon. I so often have questions about natural phenomena I see on my hikes especially in the fields of geology or botany and never learn the answers. I shift my focus onto the aesthetic aspect of the object at hand and let it take my thoughts.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Yesterday I spied three mule deer not far from my house in Bend, Oregon. This isn't unusual here the since urban growth boundary has been pushed increasingly into wildlife habitat which contain scent trails that have been used for centuries. I am not here to debate whether the deer population has increased or decreased over the past years. The subject becomes unpleasant especially when talking to hunting enthusiasts or local farmers who allege their crops are almost purposefully munched. In any case, having originally been raised in the heart of the city of Chicago and then transplanted to the suburbs of Southern California in my youth, meant that seeing deer was an awe-inspiring event. Only after moving to Oregon in my early twenties and living in rural areas did this experience become almost commonplace. Nonetheless, there is still something so special about these innocent ungulates. I observed their behavior for hours when I worked on fire lookouts many years ago and learned much of their gentle personality. Seeing these few still brings me joy and reminds me of a world that once existed before there were so many of us.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Good Morning

I have been away from Bend, Oregon, for over a week and returned late last night from visiting San Diego, Chicago and Pittsburgh. I took many photographs of these locales and may enjoy posting them at a later date in another venue but for now I want to stick to my resolve of showing pictures specific to my community.
As I arose this morning, I watched the sun rise over the high desert sky and was gladdened to be back home in Oregon, a place to live that offers its residents such a myriad of diverse climactic zones and open spaces.
This state has, of course, its share of the blight of tasteless suburban sprawl which is so sadly common throughout America, but it is relatively sparse, geographically limited, and easily es- capable. Today in a matter of moments, I can step outside and see the jagged, now snow-white mountains, the thick pine forests or the open plains and be awestruck by the glitter of pulsating luminescent sparks bouncing off these vistas of grandeur. Lingering are the memories of airports, hotels, towns and distant people, but these are fading. In the light of this brilliant morning of this new day, I am recreated and home again.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In the Badlands

It is early in the morning at the airport in Portland, Oregon, and have some time between flights to post for Bend, Oregon, Daily Photo. As promised, I wanted to show some of the landscape of the recently established Badlands Wilderness Area which is 17 miles east of Bend, Oregon. One of several hiking trails lead to Flatiron Rock, a peculiar geologic formation of cooled molten lava piled high off the desert floor. Here I found many natural treasures. Along the path there are numerous caves and fissures to explore. I sought to find drawings from early natives but came up empty-handed. Instead I was treated to seeing unusual crystal formations created from dripping water, colorful green and orange lichen, and, of course, in the process disturbed lots of small scurrying things, primarily lizards and voles. In the above photo, I shot a picture of the many windows and arches that adorn this remarkable place. It is an easy flat walk of about an hour to this spot but, oddly enough, is sparsely visited. I have a new place to bring guests who love the outdoors. It is a place that will be remembered, I assure you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Home on the range?

On several previous posts I have mentioned that Bend, Oregon, is located in Central Oregon on the high desert. The above photo, taken this weekend on a hike to the Badlands Wilderness area 17 miles East of Bend, gives a fairly good representation of the countryside lying in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountain range. The trees that flourish in this semi-arid environment are junipers. They are generally short, with tough gnarly bark, rough light green needle-like or scale-like leaves and aromatic inedible blue berries. The soil is composed of pumice, lava and igneous rock and is the remnants of the huge explosion and fiery flow from the remains of Mt. Mazama 90 miles away, which is the site of present day Crater Lake.
There are many fascinating rock formations and caves in this location, which I hope to show in a subsequent post. I may be able to share one tomorrow, but if not, I will not be back in town until a week from Wednesday.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fallen Leaves

Like so many coins at the bottom of a sacred fountain, these aspen leaves wink back alluringly to the viewer. They are woven together by brittle strands of pondorosa pine needles, creating a colorful mosaic carpet of geometric shapes, placed on an earthen background. On Wednesday, I posted a cool gray, solitary picture of a grove of the spindly, white and black- checkered parents of these leaves. These once verdant beauties, now barren, protruding from the ground like naked spears, have dropped their jewels to the floor and wait for the snow to fall and to hide their bounty within the cloak of Winter's grandeur.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day is done, gone the....

This evening, as a friend and I left the college art building in Bend, Oregon, we were treated to this extraordinary view. We remarked how difficult it is to accurately photograph sunset colors especially the orange hue. Then our words fell away. It was time to simply take in the moment and feel its grandeur and not let thoughts get in the way.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quiet moments in the forest

Every day this week I have managed to visit a favorite trail and experience it anew as it reflects seasonal change. Today I walked from Benham Falls to the Slough about 7 miles West of Bend, Oregon. This section is part of a longer trail which meanders along the Deschutes River, crosses a massive lava flow, and winds in and out of pine and aspen groves. The single-track path is popular with hikers, mountain bikers and folks on horseback, yet I saw no one on this cold, gray afternoon. I stopped at this stand of bare quaking aspens and felt its solitude. It was perfectly quiet, not even a breath of wind. I loved its peaceful feeling.
On Tuesday I travel to San Diego, then visit relatives over the weekend in Chicago, and next fly off for business in Pittsburgh. I guess I will be migrating from the lanai to the rumpus room, where I will experience a vastly different ambiance emanating from this amazing house.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pilot Butte to Lava Butte

Bucking a stiff wind this afternoon I plodded my way up Pilot Butte, an odd looking cinder cone, protruding from the the east side of Bend, Oregon. In the distance, looking southwest, is Lava Butte which is a higher formation, but similar in shape. I took the trail alone and listened carefully to my breathing for a while until I became lost to my inner voice which is imprecisely called thought. I was quite surprised when I reached the summit, having barely noticed the landscape or distance I had walked. Then, a torrent of icy northern air swirling over this dramatic 360 degree vista caught my sails, so to speak, and brought me about. I was at the top with a world out there to see and pictures to take.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Standing proud

Yesterday I posted about the upcoming Winter season in Bend, Oregon and showed a picture of a somewhat naked Mt Bachelor. Early this morning a huge storm from the Gulf ofAlaska blasted our area and brought buckets of snow to the mountains, allegedly as much as 18 inches of white stuff. When the skies clear later in the week, I may get a peek at the mountain and create an updated post. In the meantime, the town has been pummeled by rain and freshets, clogging drains and covering lawns, streets and walks with prodigious quantities of leaves. On my way home this afternoon, I spied this proud fire hydrant wearing an epaulet on its bright red uniform. Doesn't it deserve respect?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The wait begins

This week the ski shops in Bend, Oregon will be doing a brisk business as folks plan for the upcoming Winter season. It is a time to buy new skis or and get old ones waxed and tuned. Snowboarding enthusiasts as well need bindings and boards serviced.. Colorful weather-resilient clothing clog the aisles adjacent cluttered shelves of helmets, goggles and masks. The economy thrives on a good snow season. Coffee stands, hotels, restaurants and bars, clothing stores and the resort itself need the white stuff to fall long and often. Sometimes Mt Bachelor, pictured above, in some years, opens as early as Thanksgiving. At the moment there is only a light dusting on the summit. Soon this lovely ancient volcano, as tantalizing as a delicious vanilla ice cream cone, will host to an array of colorfully-clad guests from all over. I'll snap some pictures to share of this wonderland when the party begins.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

out in the open

Today I hiked again in Dry River Canyon near Bend, Oregon. About a month ago I reported I walked only part of the way and turned back, because I felt the presence of a mountain lion. This morning I completed the trail and came up out of the canyon and found myself in the high desert. There are some exceptional hikes to Indian mounds and caves with petroglyphs near here which I will be able to do when it becomes too cold and snowy in the mountains to explore.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another look at Sparks Lake

Yesterday I posted several pictures of Sparks Lake near Bend, Oregon. Today I spoke with a friend who tells me that this is his favorite lake for kayaking. He shared with me that the lake is especially low right now and that, near the spot featured in this picture, there is an underwater drain where the water flows downward into a lava tube and runs under the ground for miles. Soon it will begin to snow and the lake will freeze over and be only accessible to cross-country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts. The road to this lake sometimes does not open until late May and, by that time, after the thaw, it should be brimming to the top with fresh icy water from the high mountain run-off. I hope to return then and see this lovely place garlanded in wildflowers and picture perfect again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beyond Words

Today I decided to walk at Sparks Lake west of Bend, Oregon. The 2 1/2 mile trail is named after Ray Atkeson, Oregon's laureate photographer. In the background is South Sister, an ancient volcano that I climbed and posted about in early September. It was late afternoon and I never saw any other people and it was perfectly quiet. It became abundantly clear why this spot has been memorialized. It seemed so perfect in its grandeur.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Moving on down the line

Late this cloudy, cool afternoon in Bend, Oregon, I decided to visit a favorite thinking spot and stroll down the Burlington Northern rails. I felt that I needed to sort out some troubling feelings and get some exercise at the same time. I spied this tumbleweed sitting against the track and a string of empty lumber cars parked on a siding, and considered, that the two elements together might produce a composition which reflected my present mood.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

returning home

Having been away from Bend, Oregon, this weekend, I didn't have the opportunity to shoot new refreshing pictures. On my return trip to this region though, I succumbed to taking yet one more sunflower picture, this time of a wilting cluster in front of a harvested cornfield. I enjoyed this shot because I felt that the color of the leaves complimented the sky and also the tan stalks of the background. Tomorrow I hope to embark on a new direction of pictures here, but at this point, I don't have a clue where my eyes will take me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

weekend repose

To all the wonderful City Daily Bloggers who have become friends and supporters of Bend Daily Photo, I am taking a break this weekend and hope to post again on Monday October 19th.
The best to you and your town. fondly, Lee

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Roadside Attraction

On a recent drive on U.S. 20 about 35 miles east of Bend , Oregon, I had to stop and take a photo of this highway sign. The Brothers' post office, established in 1913 is long gone, and so are the residents of the Three Brothers Sheep Camp. The Oregon Department of Transportation decided to credit Brothers with the elevation rather than report "Population Zero" or write in capital letters, "Nobody". I suppose they could have said, "A couple of Jackrabbits." to provide travelers some comic relief on this desolate road.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Leaving it behind?

Scattered leaves on a sidewalk in Bend, Oregon, is a simple Autumn scene designed to evoke a relaxed feeling. There are few demands here for the viewer other than to walk an uncomplicated path, tread gently and to "leave" responsibility behind.

Monday, October 12, 2009

There was a time

For the past week I have been showing Autumn scenes in Bend, Oregon. Somehow the above photo of a withered, fallen, giant sunflower is emblematic of the end of the season and the beginning of the next. Fall is a time to gather dried flowers and arrange them in a vase. Also, goals involving school or home projects are again taken in earnest. Even the crock pot is hauled out and last year's successful stew or soup recipe is retrieved from a folder or box for next week's menu.
On weekends in the cool grey air, where once verdant summer grass had been the domain of butterflies and is now the stage for Autumn soccer, a potpourri of parents watch progeny occasionally live up to someone's expectations. Fall is also a time when, inexplicably, the fortune of a town, city or state's football team can become the determinant of self-worth. The mutable October freshet strews loss and disappointment over the land like mouldering leaves and portends a long Winter or brings the warmth of joyous victory and a sense of well-being to those that care.
In this season, camera in hand, I wander the town like a detached weather vane, pointing at what I see and record; merely to enjoy my time, this time.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Beaming with Pride

As I traveled around Bend, Oregon this weekend, I saw Autumn colors everywhere. In this picture of some red leaves on trees along Wall Street, it reminded me of my childhood in Chicago, and living in the Midwest, with its well defined seasons. I recalled the huge variety of deciduous trees on my block, each wearing uniquely shaped colorful leaves, which then blew off and skittered and screeched along the pavement before being collected into piles for burning. Instinctively, I felt there was something good about such decorative leaves. I believed, I was fortunate to see them, although they were commonplace. Those delightful earth tones evoked a sense of joy in me that the natural world could be so pleasing. Today, I still carry within that child's pleasure. I look at this photo, watch the trees sway their crimson bounty and grin like a youngster in the Fall of my years.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

For Crater Lake's Sake

On Thursday, a friend and I rode our bicycles the 34 mile rim road in Crater Lake National Park, about 90 miles southwest of Bend, Oregon. We were fortunate to have tapirgal of Astoria Daily Photo along to chronicle our trip and drive a "support vehicle." It is her pictures that are on today's post.
The first photo, taken early in the morning in 30 degree weather, expresses the pristine quality of this amazing place. Crater Lake, the remains of an ancient imploded volcano, Mt Mazama, is over 1950 feet deep crystal clear blue water and is off-limits to boating of any kind. There is also no development in the park or along the lake. Due to the severity of the long Winter season, the park is usually open only from June through late October and, on this lovely day, amidst incredible Autumn colors, was practically free of tourists.

The second photo pays homage to tapirgal's skill with the camera and to memorialize the kindness she showed us riders. If you look carefully at the sunglasses worn by the exhausted bicyclist, namely me, you see that this is a group photo. In the left lens is friend Steve and, in the right, is the photographer with a beautiful shot of the lake in the background.
The last photo is a classic shot of "phantom ship" and the west rim. There are so many breathtaking vistas that I urge any of you to visit at least once in your life. However you might think twice before seeing it on a bicycle. This ride is no picnic. Many a guidebook or bike shop advisor describes the road in terms likened to jack-o-lantern's mouth. The grades are long and quite steep, and, on the downhills, the rider can reach truly death-defying speeds. Aside from the satisfaction of completing the course through this unique landscape, at the end there is the pure pleasure of easy chairs before a fireplace and delicious food and drink at the historic Crater Lake Lodge. I know that, unlike so many mundane days in life that disappear from memory, this day will stand out as one of the finest.