Summer in a Jar ~

“I would love to go and live in the mountains… and make jam” * Eve Best

We hurried home in the late afternoon on Friday, hoping to get our raspberries picked before the dark clouds above us opened up. On either side of the row, we plucked the red jewels and dropped them in our ice cream pails. “Does this remind you of berry picking when you were a kid?” I asked my hubby. “Yes…” he answered as he lifted a heavy branch to reveal a trove of hidden gems. We continue picking in silence, and I remember those simple summer days. I grew up out in the country, so when school got out, it was just my siblings to play with, maybe a cousin or two now and then, that is until berry season. My brother and I would wait at the end of our long driveway for the berry bus to pick us up and out to the fields we went. The bus driver was usually a school teacher, one summer it was our school principal (who we greatly admired), I guess they didn’t get enough of us during the school year. In the berry fields we met up with school friends who caught the bus in town, it was quite a social event. I still picture the farmer showing me the proper way to pick and inspect the berry, “Pick the berry and roll it in your hand to make sure it’s perfect, then put it in your box.” Okay… I’d pick my flat full, turn it for a punch on my berry card and keep picking, but mostly I talked. And laughed. And enjoyed the company of my friends. I made a little money for school clothes, though looking back I certainly could have made a lot more, (20/20 hindsight) but we sure had fun!

Keeping a watchful eye ~

Between the two of us we picked enough for a batch of jam. I washed, crushed and measured our bounty into my big Revere Ware pan, stirred in the pectin (MCP because that’s what grandma used) and brought the crimson liquid to a ‘rolling boil that can’t be stirred down’. As I pour in the sugar, it melts into the hot berries, and the color deepens to a rich, ruby red. I make swirling figure eights with my long spoon, keeping it moving as it boils for four full minutes. I love the combination of ingredients and the science of jam. I love the smell as the jam cooks. Alex Rowat wrote, “Happiness is like jam. You can’t spread even a little without getting some on yourself.” I most certainly agree! I might take it a little farther and state, “Jam is Happiness!”

We be jammin’

I am never alone in my kitchen. I am shoulder to shoulder with my teachers and their lesson are mine to pass along. My grandmas, my sister; the hum and the bustle of the process is calming to me. Zen. I ladle the boiling liquid into hot jars, wipe the rims and adjust the lids. Just think, jam, spread on toasted homemade bread on a snowy December morning…

~ Summer in a Jar ~

Peace. Love. Amen.

Pretty in Pink~

“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time ~ like to have a friend takes time.” *Georgia O’Keefe

An afternoon, a blue, cloudless sky, and time… time to see! The first days of summer have tip~toed in, offering a break from the rain and an opportunity to ponder ‘pink’. In my flower beds and boxes, pink blossoms tumble out and turn their faces to the sun. I imagine they are feeling cozy in the warmth, as I am as I stroll around, snipping spent blooms and checking soil moisture. I love to visit with them as I tend, not expecting a response, of course, but to encourage them to carry on, it’s only June, you know!

Great~Grandma Pederslie’s Old Fashioned Rose

Thirty years ago, my grandma’s last brother passed away, leaving the family home on Meadow Lake to his surviving nieces and nephews, of which my dad was one of 15. The place was sold and items dispersed accordingly. This rose rambled beside the old garage. I brought a start home and it grows kind of wild in the corner of my picket fence. It looks like the flowers we made from crepe paper when we were kids. Petal upon petal releasing the absolute, most beautiful fragrance. One rose in a vase scents an entire room, so think of how lovely this corner smells! I gave one to our PUD meter reader yesterday, she took a whiff and said, “Oh Grandma!” Yep.

Jill ~

My sister gave me a start of this pink flower. She called it ‘Lamb’s Tongue’. Bright pink flowers and silver foliage that is soft as velvet might be classified as a weed, but I prefer wild flower. Jill was a flower child and a creative soul and I love having a piece of her to speak to on an early summer day.


Dianthus! So now that I am taking time to ‘see’ the flower, I notice the edges of the petals are jagged. I am picturing garden fairies with tiny pinking shears trimming them up on moonlit nights. How sweet these fairies are, don’t you agree?


See the foxglove… the outer bell is luscious pink, the inner, pale with a speckled throat. I see tiny hairs along the rim, I have never noticed these before! I love to watch the bees in these tall spires, it must seem a smorgasbord to them. This time of year the road sides are a feast for the eye dotted with this majestic wilding.

Ground Cover ~

This little cutie was purchased as a ground cover to grow around the stepping stones. It’s touted as a ‘step~able’. Could you step on these little sweeties? I can’t!


This is my favorite shade loving annual. I love her spunky nickname, ‘Dizzy Lizzy’ and her blooms that never need dead heading. I buy full seed flats in the spring, and plant the little starts just a few inches apart, so by midsummer she’s a mound of pink beauty.

Million Bells ~

As much as I love impatiens in the shade, I adore Calibrachoa for the full sun. How can these dainty flowers not only survive but thrive in the heat? I myself might wilt a bit, but these troopers carry on. They look like mini petunias, but unlike those sticky sisters, they don’t get leggy and they also don’t require dead heading. They come in so many colors, some single, some double, it’s fun to mix them up in containers and watch them mingle. Their bright color attracts the hummingbirds, which is a much loved added bonus!

Geranium ~

Another old favorite is the geranium. From a distance it appears to be a softball sized flower, but when we really look, we see a flower head consisting of mini flowers opening in unison on sturdy stems. Yes, they do need to be dead headed to enjoy them all summer. A quick snap of the stem when the petals are spent, will encourage continued bloom. The geranium is also a good prospect for ‘wintering over’. It might be hard to think about as we just head into summer, but as we know, the seasons roll along, summer will blend into fall. I remember my grandma keeping geraniums on her back porch through the winter. They’d stay mostly dormant until she coaxed them back to life in the spring.

Gram’s Rose ~

This gem came from hubby’s childhood home in Gold Bar. His mom grew it by her garden gate, and now it climbs next to mine. Dark pink clusters of small fragrant roses, it is loved and enjoyed in our backyard.

An evening ritual is to wander my yard, bucket and snippers in hand. As I tend the flowers through the season, they reward me with continued blooms and natural beauty. The old saying ‘stop and smell the roses’ is great advice, take time, my friend.

Peace. Love. Amen.

Summer Solstice~

~Look to this Day~

“Look to this Day, For it is Life, the very Life of Life. In it’s brief course lie all the varieties and realities of your existence. The bliss of Growth, The glory of Action, The splendor of Beauty; For yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; But today, well~lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, And every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this Day. Such is the salutation of the Dawn.” *Sanskrit

It is my usual morning prayer; Please bless this day and those I love, with a serving of Serenity on the side. But this is not a usual day. This is the Summer Solstice, the day the sun hangs longest in the sky. A day that marks the beginning of long, lazy afternoons at the lake and naps in the dappled shade of the corkscrew willow.

As we open our doors a crack, and restrictions asking us to ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ are gradually relaxed, let’s ‘Look to this Day’ and know that ‘every tomorrow is a vision of Hope.’

Take Care ~

Peace. Love. Amen.

Old Friends ~

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person ~ having neither to weigh thought nor measure words, but pouring them all right out just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and with the breath of comfort blow the rest away.” *Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

~ Golden Arm & Fishhook ~

Here’s a story about friendship. Two old guys who have been friends since sixth grade. Who still go by nicknames earned on the high school basketball court and CB radio handles they conjured up in days out jeeping long before wives and kids came along. Who worked together and played together all through these many years. It’s a good story…

It’s a story they shared with me, and their children and now their grandchildren. It’s about checking in and hanging in. It’s about ups and downs and a few sideways… but always it is about friendship.

Thursday found us on a country drive that wound us to the cottage Ron calls home at his daughter’s place. Spur of the moment, unplanned and spontaneous are so often the best kind of times. The stars are aligned and synchronicity slips us all into the places we are meant to be. We sat in the sunshine and talked about happenings in our lives now, and remembered good times passed. When our tummies growled a bit, we loaded up and hit the road for a bite of lunch in one of our favorite towns, LaConner. The three ‘old amigos’, daughter and grand ones, we shared a meal at a picnic table on the channel, enjoying more conversation with each other and a passerby or two. The comfort of an old friend combined with the newness of children was the perfect antidote to the news we are bombarded with these days. The salty air wafted up from the channel as boats, tiny skiffs and giant yachts glided through the water. Stacks of crab pots on the dock below and across the way reminded us of catching our limit in the waters off Guemes Island, when we thought days of cracking fresh cooked crab legs would never end.

Crab Pots on the dock…
The tourists love it, but LaConner is a working town…

Reminiscing the past is great, making plans for the future is wonderful, but being in the moment is best. As we get older and add more life experience to the encyclopedia of our souls, we truly know how precious these days are. Right now we might be masked up and six feet apart, but we are close in heart and thankful for that!

~ LaConner Channel ~

Peace. Love. Amen.

Happy Birthday, Dad~

My Dad ~

Today my dad turns 88. Raymond Lawson. Son. Dad. Grandpa. Great~Grandpa and husband to my mom. A lot of tags and each one is filled with such love and devotion it’s like a well that never runs dry.

Dad, Grandpa Russ & Me ~

I am the first of four kids, who came in stairsteps every year and a half. There are so many stories of growing up on twenty acres at the bottom of Bunk Foss Road. Our house was up a long gravel driveway , nestled in tall cedars. I remember the four of us, lined up on the davenport, in front of our big picture window, dad helping us into our socks and shoes. First he would roll up the stocking and slip it over our foot, running his hand along to make sure there weren’t any wrinkles. Then he opened the laces wide and slid our stockinged foot into the shoe, and starting at the bottom, pulled the laces tight until at the top, he took the little bunny around the tree and tied the perfect bow. “Is that too tight?” “No, Daddy, just right.”

There is a picture in my mind’s eye of the four of us, again, lined up on the davenport, this time on our knees looking out the big glass window. We were waiting for snow, dad was puttering around the yard. I see him putting out his gloved hand to catch the first flake, a grin on his face, knowing how excited we would all be. How many snowmen did he help us build? Like so many of our great times, too many to count.

Dad, baby Mike & Me ~

My dad and I loved to explore the back roads. He knew where there might be a treasure to be found at an abandoned homestead. We’d park along the road, hike through salmon berry bushes that fought to keep us out and then come to a clearing. Sometimes remnants of a house still stood, sometimes just a pile of mossy boards and a flowering quince marked the spot. We never found a pot of gold, but we did find an old coffee pot, which my mom spray painted gold, so I think that counts.

Dad taught me to drive on those same backroads. The clutch was an interesting aspect of the ordeal! It’s a wonder we didn’t end up with permanent whiplash from the jerking, starting, stopping, killing the motor on that cherry red ’63 Impala, but we survived. He was patient, “Let out on the clutch, as you press on the gas…slowly…good…” Thanks to my dad, I am a pretty good driver, I know all the backroads and a road trip is still my favorite vacation.

I grew up, got married, and had kids of my own. So many of the lessons learned from my dad have helped me in my parenting. Loving patience, kindness and understanding are the building blocks he shared with me. His grandchildren have given me grandchildren and I was so proud when they invited him to be their guest at their elementary school’s Veteran’s Day assembly. He spoke of his days as a sergeant in the motor pool while serving in the army. He has told me about being so homesick when he did his basic training in San Luis Obispo and about building a box while stationed in Korea to send a fishing pole home for his dad. Once he missed a plane for R & R in Japan. The plane went down en route. He says, “Boy were my buddies shocked when I came back to camp. They thought I was a ghost!” How thankful am I that he missed that plane!

~Veteran’s Day Assembly~

It’s not too surprising that one of our favorite things to do together at this stage of our lives is to take a drive. Monday morning often finds my dad, mom and me in my car, heading for the scenic route. All the way, I enjoy the stories they tell and the times they remember. So much has changed as we wind the country roads. Development has swallowed a lot of our rural lands, but there is a reverence for good times passed and remembering them together keeps them close at heart.

On our drive up the Mountain Loop, dad told of riding to the Big Four Inn with his mom and dad. He was only 6 or 7, sitting in the back seat playing an instrument he borrowed from school. He laughed when he told how his very patient dad finally said, “If you don’t stop playing that thing, I’m throwing it out the window!” That was the only time my dad went to the inn and it burned to the ground over seventy years ago, but that day, in my car, he was right there. That is how memory works, isn’t it?

~Dad & Mom at Big Four~

Across the pastures from the farm where my dad grew up, there was a bridge across the slough. A drawbridge, he tells of the old farmers cranking the big cement block up to open the way for the snagboat to go through, keeping the channels and river clear of debris. When a new bridge was in order, the old Jackknife Bridge was taken down and floated a few miles downstream. Now it crosses a different slough, and offers hikers a way to explore preserved wetlands. One of our Monday drives found us there. How many times have we crossed this bridge, I wondered. “Oh thousands!” my dad answered. “I kissed your mom for the first time on this bridge.” he added with a smile.

~My Dad on Jackknife Bridge~

Today our family will come together to celebrate this man, our patriarch, our hero. Happy Birthday, Dad! Thanks for the memories… We love you~

…and the greatest of these is love~

Peace. Love. Amen.

Bread as Sunday Morning Meditation

It’s a little bit soggy here this morning. The rains that keep our Great Pacific Northwest dressed in our signature evergreen have drenched us these past few days. In the pasture, the Belted Galloway cows are grazing, the weather doesn’t seem to faze them much. There is something so peaceful about watching them, the calves playfully butting heads while the mama’s low moo keeps them in line.

It’s an inside day, at least for now, and I am cozy in my kitchen. It’s quiet. Surrounded by wooden spoons and old yellow bowls, I am reminded of the sacredness of the place. I pull ingredients whose sole purpose is sustaining life and family. I think it should be Soul Purpose. When I plan a meal, put it together and serve it to my family, it really is the ultimate gift. It shows I took the time, put in the love and called us all to gather around the table. There is concern that the ‘family meal’ is a thing of the past. Lifestyles have changed, families are busy and schedules are hectic. All of this is true, but it does bring to mind an old saying, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” There is still a basic human need to connect and share and the family table is the beginning. Especially now~ the world wide plea to ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ has brought a measure of calm to the panic. Right now we are confined with the folks we hold most dear, our family.

I always say, the meal isn’t even the most important part of this gathering. It could be hot dogs and cold beans, or prime rib. If there are children at home, they can be called to set the table, or mix the muffins. Hubby can carve the meat or scoop the veggies into the serving bowl. Around the table, the art of conversation is learned and refined as topics of the day are introduced. And who helps with the clean~up? Another gathering, this time in reverse, as the table is cleared, dishes are washed, and left~overs are prepared for tomorrow’s lunch.

It is up to us to keep our connections, to share our stories, to build our memories. Growing up a favorite at Grandma Goodie’s house was cinnamon toast. Home~made bread, toasted, buttered and sprinkled, she cut it in little squares and stacked it up on small round plates. My grand~ones didn’t have the privilege of meeting grandma, but when they come over, what do they want? Grandma Goodie toast, and she lives on in my kitchen.

Faith, Hope, Love ~ and the greatest of these is Love

If they happen to pop in today, I will offer them this old favorite, knowing that as I mixed and kneaded on this Sunday morning, my prayers of hope and peace and love for them were worked into each roll of the dough.

Peace. Love. Amen.

Spring Flowers ~

“The Earth laughs in Flowers” *Ralph Waldo Emerson

I took a walk around my yard this morning. The sky is heavy with the promise of rain by noon. My peonies are already sagging with the weight of yesterday’s downpour. I wish I had caged them in before they got too big, but I do love that on breezy days they are free to dance. Peonies are such an old and beautiful flower. Two of mine came from my Grandma Goodie’s farm, and they were almost lost. Grandma had given up flower gardening and I took over the lawn mowing. One spring I noticed some spikey red growth poking their way through the lawn. “Oh, yes, those are my peonies.” she said with a chuckle as she pronounced ‘peeOHNY’. It’s a good thing they were so tenacious, I dug them up and brought them home, saving them from the lawn mower and here they bloom beautifully every year.

~ Pretty in Pink ~

Speaking of grandmas, many years ago I took my maternal Grandma Helen on a road trip ‘home’. Though her family moved often when she was young, she always felt home was a ranch on the banks of the Grand River outside of Lemmon, South Dakota, where her grandparents and extended family had homesteaded in the late 1800’s. We knew the farmhouse was long gone, having been moved into town years before when construction of a dam created Shadehill Reservoir and claimed the land, but we hoped to find the family cemetery to pay our respects. We stopped at a general store outside of town to ask for directions. Two fellows were playing checkers on a board a~top an old barrel (true!). They questioned our motives at first, but then decided we looked honest and pointed us in the right direction with the stipulation, that if you open a gate, close it again behind you! I still can hardly believe we found it, but from gravel road to dirt, we wound our way across rolling lands of waving grass, opening and closing gates as I drove, and there it was. High above the old homesite, surrounded by a rusting wire fence was the cemetery. We walked around the graves, reading names we recognized from family history; Smebaaken and Scholaas. Grandma read the names of her cousin Vivian’s baby brothers and spoke of what a treasure she was to her parents when she not only survived infancy, but grew up. In one corner was a sprawling lilac bush. I tugged a start from the sun baked earth, (toppling over backward if I remember right) and on the way back to the highway, filled a baggy with water from the Grand River and tucked the slip safely in the back seat. It took root at my house and every spring, my South Dakota lilac gives me more than beautiful, fragrant bouquets, it takes me back in time to that special trip with my grandma.

My South Dakota Lilac in Grandma Helen’s vase

Mock Orange is another treasured heirloom. I brought a twig home from grandma’s farm, stuck it in the corner by my front porch and she decided that would be a good place to grow. At grandma’s house, the bush grew big and lush beside her back porch. Grandma had the best clothesline, a pulley system attached to the wall reeling all the way out to an ancient maple tree in the field. With her sheets pegged firmly to the line, flapping in the wind whipping up from the river, Grandma would sit a spell on a stool she made out of wood from the collection in her woodshed. I know how much she loved that view of cityscape and river, pasture lands and Mount Baker. I imagine in spring she lingered to enjoy the sweet scent of mock orange. For me, the scent not only reminds me of our wonderful days on the farm, but it takes me across the Cascades to Leavenworth. My great~grandpa built a log cabin where my uncle lived and aunt Fran lived across the lawn in a tiny house. I can’t recall seeing a mock orange around there, and she was not a gardener, but breathing in that fragrance on my front porch is like climbing into a time machine. I am ten years old playing hide and seek with my siblings and cousins. My sister and I visit Leavenworth often and have met the fellow who calls the log cabin home. He is the perfect person for it. When he had to take down one of the pine trees in the yard, he had it milled and used the lumber in his kitchen remodel. His love for the place makes my heart so happy!

Grandma Goodie’s Mock Orange… can you smell it??

Another favorite in spring~time is Love in a Mist. I’m pretty sure the fairies sowed the peppery seeds. Just look at the feathery foliage and how the purple flowers open their faces to the sky. Look closely, I think I see a fairy now!

~ Love in a Mist ~

I cannot do a morning walk~about without speaking to my Foxglove… oh my goodness! I brought the seeds for the wildings home from a walk years ago and sprinkled them all over. I’ve never taken the time to count the number of flowers on these tall stalks, but the bees hum and bumble in and out all day. We don’t have foxes around here, but I do love to imagine a forest glade and small red pups slipping their gloves on to dance in the moonlight.


Thank you so much for sharing my morning walk, I wish you a wonderful day!

Peace. Love. Amen.

Hug a Tree~

“I think that I shall never see, A poem as lovely as a tree; A tree whose hungry mouth is prest, Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in Summer wear, A nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain ~ Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.” *Joyce Kilmer

I have loved this poem ever since Beaver recited it for Miss Landers so many years ago. It just sums it up for me~ TREES! They offer shade on a hot summer day and home and sustenance to so many creatures, and when their time is done, the very fiber of their being gives us lumber for our homes and logs for our fires.

Out my window stands a tall evergreen. He was our very first Christmas tree in our new home almost forty years ago. Now towering above our roofline, in my mind’s eye I see my daughter, this tree and a box of lights all in a wheel barrow, riding to the house. We placed the potted tree on a table in the bay window, decorated him for the season. Today the decorations secured to sturdy branches are three different swings adorned with grandchildren, just hanging out. Almost teenagers, they push with their feet, gently swaying as they converse with each other on matters I know, are of great importance. The flicker and the woodpecker have left a pattern of holes along his trunk and pitch trickles down, sticky and sweet. Dark~eyed juncoes flit from the feeder to the high branches and hummingbirds zip and zoom and briefly rest. Lately I have noticed his needles thinning and a some branches seem to droop. I’m hoping for a few more years for him and I pray I can let him go peacefully when his time is up.

…and they were swingin’

My siblings and I grew up on twenty acres of mostly woods. Lots of tree climbing and fort building happened at our old home place. My dad cleared and fenced a couple of acres for pasture and in the middle of the grassy field stood a giant Douglas Fir who my brother and I named “Big Mike”. We would take our picnic lunch up there and spend a lazy afternoon. Big Mike was a real friend to us. I think we could feel him talking to us as we rested our backs against his solid trunk. I can totally relate to the tree hugger movement. I don’t mean the activists who chain themselves to a tree to save the spotted owl (that is a different story), but the folks who wrap their arms around a tree out of pure love and to receive the natural flow of energy a tree emits. Hug a tree for at least five minutes and you will feel and absorb the vibration. In Japan they practice “shinrin~yoku” or forest bathing. In Iceland forest ranger, Por Porfinnsson, says, “When you hug a tree, you feel it first in your toes and then up your legs and into your chest and then up in your head.” Sounds like love to me!

During our current days of ‘stay home, stay safe’ and six foot social distancing, doesn’t a hug sound wonderful to you? I think I will go hug my tree right now!!

California Redwood… I couldn’t quite reach around him!

Peace. Love. Amen.

Memories in Pine~

“When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, ‘See! This our father did for us.'” *John Ruskin

I spent an afternoon with my sister on Saturday. We wandered the woods of our childhood, picking up pinecones and reminiscing our ‘good old days’. This campground was a favorite spot for our family to gather when we were kids. Shasta trailers and canvas tents lined the river bank. Grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles and a million cousins making this forest home for what seemed like weeks to us, but a weekend it probably was. We swam in the icy water of the Wenatchee River and broke rocks in Chiwaukum Creek. We whittled sticks, snapped at the river’s edge, into the perfect tool for roasting marshmallows around the evening fire. Up a trail there was an ant hill, always one of our first stops of favorite places, while our folks set up camp. Across the river lived a teeny tiny woman in a teeny tiny house, Penny Pemberton. She lived there all alone, a good ten miles to town and I don’t think she had a car. She piped her water from a spring and had a nice garden space, fenced off to deter the deer. The crew of us kids would traipse across the bridge and slide down the trail to her house for a visit. She had a plate glass window that offered her a view of the river and above it a narrow shelf held treasures she collected in her yard. A hummingbird nest, a few old bottles, a pretty piece of wood. She offered us peppermint candy from a jar with a lid, which we popped quickly into our mouths. How I wish I could hear our conversation! What did we have to say to Penny? And her to us? There is a mountain rising above her old home site, my grandma called it ‘Pemby’s Mountain’. I hiked it with my gram and Penny when I was just a tyke, could there a semblance of a trail there yet?

Looking across the river to where Penny’s house once stood. Pemby’s Mountain rising up behind.

This cookshed is where we gathered to share our suppertime. Tablecloths covered the rough wood, wild flower bouquets bunched into empty pop cans for decoration. There were stories and laughter as we kids wound down from our day running, swimming and exploring. This cookshed, from the looks of it, probably constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s, was built to last. Stone upon stone, though not laid by my father, we can appreciate the labor and the substance of it. My sis and I ran our hands along the log frame and sat on the picnic bench. A breeze came up from the river and across the grassy meadow. I swear it carried the laughter and songs of our childhood, and the cottonwood and pine trees whispered a ‘welcome back’ to us as well.

We wandered the roads of the park, feeling the warmth of the afternoon sun on our shoulders. We stopped at the creek and watched the water rush over smooth rocks and fallen trees. The park has been closed for going on seven years. Mother Nature is reclaiming her domain. But in our hearts it remains a sacred place, of youthful innocence and joy. A wonderful place to return to.

Chiwaukum Creek

Peace. Love. Amen.


Tradition. Such a simple word, but packed so full. Full of hope, expectation and promise. Memories and fellowship.

There are familiar traditions that go with calendar dates that folks as a whole carry on. Fresh picked flowers on headstones on Decoration Day, a picnic on the 4th of July, a trip to the tree farm on the first Saturday in December. We follow our traditions in an effort to stay connected to family and friends. When we get together to share our time and our stories, these remembered times can become tradition, having had so much fun, we part with the words, “Let’s do this again next year!” A new tradition is born. There can be traditions, singular to a particular soul, not followed by the rest. A walk along the river in springtime. A hand brushed across the weathered, sagging fence of a forgotten cemetery. Tradition truly is a matter of and for the heart. It can be ‘set in stone’ or fluid as a stream. Adding new ideas to old ways can invigorate a tradition before it wears out or becomes stagnate. And yes, sadly, sometimes we lose the things we once held dear. Perhaps we were too busy one year and then the next and then… the loss of tradition can be so gradual, you hardly know you missed it until one foggy morning, a memory pops up and, “Hey! How come we don’t… anymore?” Kids, who loved a tradition grow up, old folks who cultivated the tradition die. And what are we left with? The ghost of Christmas past? The echo of numbers chanted out loud as a forehead is pressed against the tree trunk, eyes squeezed shut; “…7,8,9,10- ready or not, here I come!” Who will carry on, I wonder? And then, the answer is there in the grin and giggle of the four year old. She will carry the traditions, some of mine mixed in with hers that she will create and hone as she grows up.

Traditions. I know mine so well and tend them as a bed of roses. I will share them to my last days and whisper them on the wind when I am gone. Perhaps someday, when she’s a sixty-four year old grammie, enjoying her coffee on a quiet Sunday morning, a memory will pop up and she will smile. “Oh yes! I remember~”

Tradition. Such a simple word.

Peace. Love. Amen.