West

1)

I’m glad I moved west.  Open space

suits me.

I’m closer

to a land of many shapes,

closer

to a sky whose blue-domed clarity and

mysterious talent for manifesting

a grand mountain,

only to shut it away

for weeks,

enchants me.

*

2)

In this western land

I’m learning to think differently

about trees.

They are holy.

They are a resource.

And sometimes, they impede

“progress”

and become like

fallen

gods.

3)

Nails in fences,

knots of barbed wire.

Wood, metal,

water and sky –

sing songs of working

the land.

*

*

4)

Old soul-face

presides.

1)

Mount Rainier floats serenely in the distance at a sod farm in the Sammamish Valley, 15 miles east of Seattle and a stone’s throw from the Cascade foothills.  The rail line that ran up the east side of the valley is defunct. Rusted irrigation lines sit gracefully at the edge of the fields, unused. There is great beauty here.

2)

Douglas fir, the ubiquitous evergreen that draws its jagged silhouette across so many Pacific northwest horizons, is being cleared from a Botanic Garden outside Seattle to make room for “a new visitor center, expansion of the current parking lot, and landscape improvements.”  It’s hard to wrap my head around that load of logs, but I’m trying.

3)

Ambling down a path built on an old rail bed in the Snoqualmie Valley, I feel grounded and refreshed. The way cuts a straight path alongside wet fields dotted with sagging barns, tall trees, cattle, and swallows. Old fences hem quiet pastures where wild ducks hide in the puddles and mountain vistas command the horizon.  The marks we leave on the land out here seem lighter, more reasonable.  I cruise a narrow farm road that dead-ends in wide fields. It’s quiet on a weekday afternoon, touched with lambent light and sweet, earthy odors.

4)

A garden Buddha smiles at a local nursery, where most of the thousands of flowers, trees and vegetables are grown on site. It’s good to live in a place where all I have to do is take short drive to see some of the products on view in city markets growing in the ground.


44 comments

  1. I went back to Washington, and my city was gone…to paraphrase the Pretenders. Every time I go back to my home state I am amazed at how many gods have fallen. Some musician friends of mine from Enumclaw came up with the perfect band name…The Screaming Trees, from the sound of chainsaws.
    Later…

    • And yet, they grow back, too. But the scars on the mountain sides – those are hard to look at, aren’t they? I imagine screams from all quarters…
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Such beautiful flowing poetic words, wending like a trilling stream through your beautiful and startling images. So honest and touching and entrancing.

  3. As always I love your pictures, and I also love your little poems that go along with the photos. I particularly love the barbed wire, the nail, the wagon wheel and the “old soul” face. Beautiful, Lynn. 🙂

    • Thanks Cathy – I am hugely behind in reading blogs and I apologize – but you seem to keep up with it well, and I really appreciate your comment, particularly re the writing. The 3 you chose to mention would be nice together, wouldn’t they?

      • Don’t worry, I don’t keep up well with everyone! You should see the number of emails in my inbox of posts by bloggers I follow! I wish I was better at it, but there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. I think those 3 pics would be fabulous together. 🙂

      • That makes me feel better – many people I follow are only in my Reader, and I’m lucky if I get to that once a week. But it’s an embarrassment of riches, isn’t it?

  4. Gosh, I am quietened by your poetry, I was feeling quite frantic this morning, lots to do, the start of a week…but you have made me stop and think, deliberate and I feel much better for it. Its wonderful to hear your thoughts on the landscape, we too have many similar issues here in Scotland, no easy answer but tree management is very advanced here now and there are lots of good things happening and several bird species are doing really well (eg the Red Kites and Sea Eagles), some being brought back from near extinction.
    A beautiful post, thank you.

    • Thank you very much! It’s tremendously gratifying to hear that someone feels a bit better for having seen something one posted. A sense of place has always been important to me, and there are so many layers to it. Trees alone – one huge topic. I think logging has improved here too, but not enough. There is SO much more land here, and that goes to people’s heads. When you look out over vast stretches of forest, it’s easy to think that cutting a few acres won’t hurt. I’m glad Scotland is succeeding in bird conservation…in my own lifetime, I’ve seen a few species bounce back from being rare when I was a child to being almost common now. But we both know much work remains to be done, especially in poorer parts of the world.

  5. Beautiful! I love the West, too. Colorado is my version and I wake up every morning feeling so grateful to live here. It’s so expansive and speaks to me of many possibilities.

  6. Well, expansive it is. You’re in a part of the world I haven’t even seen. I’m sure I’d love it. Thank you for commenting – it pushed me back to your blog, which I have enjoyed this morning. Keep it up!

  7. A beautiful description with beautiful pictures too. I visited long ago, and still remember the great scenes of nature and the sound, the smell, and the views of the Pacific…

  8. Beautiful beautiful words creating strong ripples of resonance within, not only because they are calling back timeless memories of Seattle, Cascade mountains and Shaw Island (I call it ‘song island’) with always Mount Rainier majestic and bright in somewhere in the background, but also because I too went west and found open space and the feeling of having reached home, not only that I carry within. Thank you for this unique and wonderful post. (p.s. I wrote similar comment earlier today but something went wrong with internet connection, just in case you are receiving this twice and you may of course delete one of them 🙂

  9. open spaces they are the best …. I like the photo of the wood post with the barbed wire around it … its striking … thanks for stopping by ♥

  10. I enjoy your take on the west, Lynn…enjoy very much seeing it through your new eyes out here…and sweet words to accompany them…very nice.

  11. My first husband’s family was from that area. They moved to Seattle when my husband was in 5th grade. Your pictures bring back pleasant memories even though I haven’t been in those exact places. I love the West. I moved with my family when I was 15 to the West from Indiana, and have never looked back. 🙂

  12. That’s pretty amazing to hear Sheri, because I think of you as someone who’s very involved with the landscape here. I know you feel it deeply. hank you so much.


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