Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Day in the Life

Fair weather cumulus clouds grace this picture for Skywatch Friday. It marks the end of July and the warm weather the Northwest and Bend, Oregon, has been experiencing. The following days will bring increasing moisture and the chance of such clouds building into thunderheads. With that comes lightning and extreme fire danger and the inevitable blaze. Yet nature shows such resiliency. At first there are small grasses, followed by madrone, and then up pop the small pine trees as seen above. This picture shows both serenity and vitality in balance.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Green Scene

People often say of Oregon, "It's so green". In fact, much of the Eastern and Southeastern part of the state is arid or semi-arid. In contrast, some areas of the coast are so wet that they are classified by geographers as temperate rain forests. The above picture, taken this past weekend in the Cascades just west of Bend, Oregon for Think Green Thursday, offers you a bouquet of young fir boughs, some columbine ( I think), spread above a carpet of primarily wood sorrel. It show a luscious world, cool, fragrant, abundant with life and pleasing to the eye and heart on a summer's day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cool Away the Day

As the temperature approached 95 degrees today in Bend, Oregon, many families brought their children to the community pool. For Watery Wednesday, I decided to splash bright color and a variety of lines and shapes into a picture of the water park. In the foreground was, unfamiliar to me, a contrivance consisting of the red buckets which fill and then tilt, dousing gleeful little heads below. Behind it, a serpentine yellow water slide beckoned the adventurous. I saw myself as one of the daring, sliding on my belly like an insane eel through slime-slick curves and disappearing into the pool cool bubbles. Under the soothing summer sun, there was joy and laughter, and I heard life's lovesong.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sundown in July

So many evenings people are indoors at sunset, busy with dinner or involved in some mundane activity. Also an urban environment with tall building often obstructs the view of the sun's final light show. Yet the sun fans out its color practically every evening for us to witness something magical and magnificent and with amazing variety.

A few weeks ago, my son and I were driving home in Bend, Oregon, when we observed the sun's breath visible in the western sky. We stopped at the edge of an old quarry and captured a few photos. What is left to say?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Showered with Joy

For those of you caught in the searing summer heat, this ice cold waterfall on Spring Creek near Bend, Oregon, may bring you a moment of relief. It is small, secluded, and, to my knowledge, has no name. The falls spills crystal clear water onto smooth sparkling rocks and into a lovely pool at its base before flowing on, almost hidden, under the canopy of fragrant fir trees. Photos project light, but sound must be added by the viewer's imagination. In this case, the tumbling torrent of silvery droplets drenches rhythmically the space of the adjacent moss, needles, branches and trunks with a pleasant shushing tone. Its undertone whispers to cool yourself in its freshness any way you want.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Truth and Beauty

Yesterday, I wrote of the forest at Tumalo Falls near Bend Oregon. Today I decided to hike through it. After being under the canopy for most of the day, I broke out into the open and found a picture suitable for Scenic Sunday. The Cascade's snow-spotted volcanoes are a muted background for layers of majestic pines. Sometimes it is best to look at a vista, breathe the air, take in the shapes, feel the breeze and listen to the quiet. It put my mind at ease and concurrently elated and calmed my heart. Such a view of life, which began without words.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Standing Tall

The blanched trunk of an old growth ponderosa pine stands stoically as a poignant reminder of the 1979 Bridge Creek fire started by careless campers. The reproduction, planted sometime later and, probably chosen by the State of Oregon for quick growing "sustainable yield", bathes in the late afternoon sun on the eastern slopes of the Cascades near Bend, Oregon.
I imagined the bygone forest with its lovely giants and the sparse undergrowth competing for light filtering through the canopy. For a moment I sensed the odors of pine sap, fresh needles and duff, pictured scurrying animals small and large, and the fallen trunks mouldering amidst the volcanic rock and snow melt run off .
It is not productive to dwell too long in nostalgia nor to admire only the dark side of the moon. The fledgling trees of the background are early teenagers and soon to burst with testosterone. They are embarking on their life's journey upward. Sometimes this view is hard to see from the height of an old tree like me. Nonetheless, this picture shows the energy and fortitude of the next generation striving to achieve what has come before it. Who knows, some day those little trees may stand even taller.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Either Oar?

The hot summer weather in Bend, Oregon has brought many people to the Deschutes River to enjoy its cool waters. In the above picture these folks have left the lazyboy, television and bingo behind and wedged into kayaks. Along with the young couples and children on the river, mom and pop have glided downstream at their own tempo, spinning, swaying and paddling like seasoned dance partners. It is a romantic setting and a time when they have discovered the essence, that to feel young again lies in the stroke and the tapping of the water's lovesong.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Now and Then

I had decided to finally post pictures again of Bend, Oregon but it seemed that my eye and heart were elsewhere. For Watery Wednesday I wanted to shoot pictures of people frolicking in the Deschutes River cooling off in our high desert's 90+ weather. Rafts and kayakers cruised in the current and soaked and splashed and laughed. Perhaps if I had brought my air mattress, I would have jumped in too and lost myself in the amusement. Instead I found myself disturbed by the noise and felt out of sorts by the number of people on the water. I didn't exactly yearn for solitude but remembered the serenity and rapture I felt in the mountains of British Columbia these past several weeks. I am no Henry David Thoreau, and would miss civilization after a while. Also life has greater quality and meaning when special moments are shared with people you love. The following photo taken last Wednesday describes more the story I wish to tell today and the lovesong I hear.

Hi Huim Lake, July 15th 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sight Fishing

Jacob from Ocala, Fla. Daily Blog has asked to see some fish pictures from my recent trip to British Columbia. I have camped and fished in this region of Canada for twenty-seven years and have had many moments of wonderment while casting a fly for the beautiful trout which cruise the lake's depths and weed beds After careful consideration, I selected a sunset photo at HiHuim Lake near Kamloops in which a large grey cloud fish arcs its back and glides gracefully through the endless rose and mauve air current pond. This fish is beautiful and delicate, smooth and elusive and serves a symbol to remind us of those swimming below. It is a remarkable gift from a profound native spirit which abides in this realm and offered in a quiet breathless moment for the eye (I) to behold.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Looking Skyward

Starting tomorrow, I will resume taking pictures of Bend, Oregon, since I have now returned from almost two weeks of fishing and camping in British Columbia. Some of you asked that I post some photos from that trip, but, to do such, deviates from my purpose of a Bend daily blog. I include only this one picture, which describes symbolically my experience of the past weeks. It is the simple composition of quiet firs leaning into an exciting, intense jigsaw-puzzle sky, highlighted by a fissure running like a pale, blue river full of bays, fjords and inlets among the golden-bordered earthen clouds. It floats us through a majestic and impenetrable, fluid world so remote from the hubbub of transient civilization. I see its parts and feel its whole and am amazed.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fishing for an Identity?

There has been so much written about why people fish, a theme probably best explored in the 1983 novel, The River Why, by David James Duncan. In the above picture of me in waders with wading staff tucked in a holder at my side, I record for you an integral part of my identity. For the past week I have been camping out and walking the shores of the Thompson River in Southern British Columbia in pursuit of giant sassy rainbows. Next week I will be living in an isolated log cabin adjacent a high mountain lake and will challenge myself to catch some silvery Kamloops trout. I practice during the year along the rivers near Bend, Oregon, as preparation for this expedition, which I have been doing with friends and family since 1982. Over the years I have watched the country become more populated and the resources degraded. Over the years I have watched friends become too infirm for the trip and others who have died. Over the years I have watched my son and nephew, who have often accompanied me, grow and mature. Over the years I have watched myself develop into a better fisherman, a more confident individual and physically healthier to endure the rigors of the trip. I can't say that I really understand more about anything, except for the certainty of aging and being in touch with a feeling about life's bittersweet nature. Today is my last post for at least a week. Tomorrow I will check in one more time and hope to write those of you who have been kind enough to have supported my blog. I wish you all the best in your love of photography and writing. fondly, Lee

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Finding it Ribbiting?

At a recent street fair in Bend, Oregon, children were, for the most part, amused by this amphibian. Some find such creatures real and are entertained, others find them scary. I think already at an early age, I would have approached the entire affair with skepticism. Perhaps we never lose our childhood orientation as we mature and deal with more complex information. Without becoming totally whacked in the head on such a beautiful summer day, suffice, that for Think Green Thursday, it is wonderful to see children happy and excited. There is much to be said about feeling carefree and seeing youngsters with lives ahead of them. Like a frog on a lilly pad, summer is a time to bask in the sun, dip in the water, and chortle occasionally our particular lovesong.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tasting the Sweetness of Life

What would summertime be without a watermelon! The presence of this lovely fruit at any table, barbecue or campsite elicits such a wonderful feeling of well-being and congeniality. An open red, juicy watermelon probably does a better job than the olive branch as peace offering for it brings a smile, as well as good feelings. So for Watery Wednesday lets carve these big boys open and each one of you enjoy a cool wet, sweet lovely delicious slice from me.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Eat Your Heart Out

I was happy to discover that Bend, Oregon, offers a wide variety of restaurants and markets. Unfortunately my attitude toward eating has changed as I have grown older. I choose to eat smaller portions and avoid high salt and sugar as well as foods loaded with chemicals. The days of gorging on great pizza or Chinese foods are over. That being said, the above picture depicts a scene fraught with temptation. On fair days this oven is wheeled outside to send plumes of savory odors about to lure the weak of heart to commit sin. In this case, for those of you enjoying Mellow Yellow Monday, but have decidedly eschewed such treats including meat, this pie is topped for the vegetarian and is baked to perfection.

On the Line

Fly fishing is a passion for me and many others who live in Bend, Oregon. There are wonderful rivers and lakes where a person can get out in nature and drift a fly through rushing riffles and silent eddies. Wading in water and listening to its song and watching its kaleidoscope design on the surface is a rich experience. Fishing is not necessarily about catching but about seeing, listening and feeling. In this, unfortunately, out of focus picture of my son standing in thigh deep water Deschutes River, at least I have captured a special memory of a father and son outing on a Friday evening in early July. It is moments like these which add value to my ever shortening remaining life and something to share on Scenic Sunday.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Simplicity at Nightfall

My son and I headed out for early evening fly fishing on the upper Deschutes River near Bend, Oregon. Instead of casting for sassy trout, I angled for a few good pictures for Skywatch Friday. At our favorite fishing spot, the river squeezes its way along the edge of an enormous lava flow from a not too long extinct volcano. The thick jagged texture and size of this phenomenon is a sight to behold. In the above picture one brave pine has managed to find a foothold in this barren world. This tree stands tall and tenacious, poking up defiantly before the multi-colored sky behind it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Head in the Clouds?

Since my last post was about Noah's ark, this picture portends a mighty rainstorm. Taken from a bridge that crosses the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon, I was intrigued by this distant anvil-shaped thunderhead. In not such ancient times people attributed such menacing clouds to the existence and caprice of deities. We've come a long way since then, knowing that the firmament is not firm and that "heaven above" is spiritual not physical. As science continues to clarify our place in the surroundings, the more challenging it becomes to make the old stories fit in the empirical world. In the past, the gods' place was clearly visible. Today, to see what people did before, requires mental acrobatics and a greater reliance on faith. What do you see in the clouds?