SCATTER, part one

As summer quickly fades into fall, people scatter, looking for those precious last summer pleasures. Here in America’s northwest corner, cars from faraway states like Mississippi and New Jersey roam the highways, taking that final spin before the responsibilities of school and work assume primacy again.

Birds scatter too: fledglings that must survive on their own are exploring further from their nest sites. Shorebirds are already migrating south. Our local online birding forum reports rarities like the charmingly named Wandering tattler, a shorebird that nests in Alaska and winters on the coast, far from Seattle. Seeds are scattering to disperse their genetic material, aided by wind, animals, birds, insects – and once in a while, my shoes.

Scattered movement seems to be common in late summer/early fall in the Northern hemisphere. In keeping with the season, I have a scattering of photos from the last few months.

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I’ve gotten out whenever I could. It never feels often enough, but that sort of dissatisfaction is called being human, isn’t it?  I long for more, for places farther and farther away.

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Gold Creek Pond, Snoqualmie Pass, Cascade Mountains (Washington)

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Naches Peak Loop Trail, Mt. Rainier National Park

 

There have been many short jaunts nearer home this summer. These drives and walks that trace local pathways help construct a bedrock of felt knowledge about my local landscape.

Growing up in the northeast, I grew into an intimate relationship with the land, its flora and fauna. This knowledge is formed by the accretion of layer upon layer of sensing, in the outdoors. Experiencing the weather, inhaling the scent of local plants, encountering local creatures – it all adds up. It is years of watching the sky, listening closely to the faintest birdsong, feeling the tingle of a bug crawling across my arm, and inhaling the sharp air over a frozen snow field. It is decades of thinking about the progression of wildflower bloom along roadsides, the odd differences in Song sparrow songs, the beauty of a rounded canopy of deciduous trees laid across rolling hills.

Now I’m beginning the same journey thousands of miles away.

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Here, the characters are different (well, mostly) and the setting is different, but the forays outside to check out a new place or return again to the same spot will accrue a felt sense of this place, just as my wanderings on the east coast embedded an intimate knowledge of that landscape.

Along the way the photos play their part, too.

 

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The key is getting out, looking, listening, tasting, inhaling and feeling the outdoors til it fills every pore.

 

 


19 comments

  1. I love the concept of the scattered movement of late summer; kind of a panic that holidays are ending and it is time to get back to work. These photos you have of the great PNW are simply a perfect way to bring all the scattering together…while I imagine the NE is quite beautiful in the autumn, for me nothing can touch the end-of-the-summer in the PNW.

  2. Once again, I love all your photos capturing the scattering of summer. The last four are my absolute favorites, but I also love your photos of Gold Creek Pond. It’s so nice to be reminded of life in the Pacific Northwest.

  3. It’s always such a joy to visit here! I’ve been settled here in the PNW for 22 years and still continue the scattering. It’s always such fun to learn the feel and the sense of a new place. This next move will be my third in Oregon and it just keeps getting better. Seems like the sea just tugs at me to get closer. Somehow the blackberry shot thrilled me… perhaps because I’ve been picking at the new place. Eric makes a fantastic blackberry pie! 😀

  4. You’ve got me captured ere Lynn from the tiniest floating seed head to majestic mountains and their reflections … lovely to gather up these *scatterings from the months past .The familiarity of areas local are just as important as trips taken further afield I find . Nuances .. small changes and surprises by a new view in a different season , perhaps research to identify a flower or tree is an ongoing process of knowledge gathering . Oh … and memory testing in my case 🙂 Lovely post x

  5. Thank you all for the comments that keep me going – and I’m off! This time to Mt. Baker, one of Washington’s great scenic peaks, for few days. More “Scatter” photos when I return, and hopefully a few from the high places.

  6. What a beautiful beautiful scattering of photographs, Lynn, and a cohesive touching narrative. Maybe I especially appreciate how you made that orange fencing work for you. Great job throughout.

  7. Your photos are beautiful, and your musings pure delight. It does seem that we have a friend in common. The insect in your second photo appears to be the same beetle I found in the Texas hill country in late summer. I don’t have a certain identification yet, but when I get it, I’ll let you know — if you don’t, already.

  8. Love your scatterings – it’s supposed to be a sleepy time, but really there’s so much happening in autumn, there’s always a fizz to it I think..

  9. Beautiful shots! I am back from my bird and animal sighting trip to the Nilgiris, and was awestruck by what I saw there.. Posted some of my proud photographs recently on my blog 🙂


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