Saturday, August 31, 2013

The traveled road, page one

There are so many places I would like to see and visit, to capture memories into a single moment in time with my camera. This is not a time in my life when I can access the places that many others can. If I can't get there by car, and a short walk, I don't get there at all. In time this will change, but not now.

'The traveled road' is dedicated to my heart and soul dog, Jet, who at 14, is unable to walk long distances, or traverse uneven ground any longer. We travel as far as we, as a family, are able, and if one can only walk a few hundred yards safely, then that's what we do...together.

My first entry into 'the traveled road' is from last week, and our visit to Tumalo Falls in the Deschutes National Forest. It was so quiet there, with the peace only interrupted by the hypnotic sound of the falling water. We had the area nearly to ourselves, with just one other couple on the trail leading up to the upper overlook. We chose to stay close to the car for Jet's sake, and shoot from the lower was anything but disappointing. It was just a short walk from the parking lot.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The world around us...

In the last few months our lives, and our recreation, have taken a bit of a turn. Once dog show enthusiasts (me, never Cliff) and fledgling breeders, we spent our free time at dog shows, or preparing to attend them. We have made some changes that, for us, are more fulfilling, and far more enjoyable. Not just enjoyable for us, but for our dogs, too.  Instead of spending their weekends in crates, inside dog show buildings, our dogs are exploring the world with us, taking in the sights with their eyes, *and* their noses.  They seem to really love it!

A couple years ago I discovered photography, and with that discovery, an enjoyment in life I had not previously known. Photography gets me out into nature, taking in sights I'd only thought about, but never experienced first hand. Life all of a sudden seems deeper, and more meaningful.

It was just a few weeks ago we made a drive to Johnston Ridge, which overlooks the Mt. St. Helens' debris field.  It's where geologist David Johnston was perched when Mt. St. Helens erupted.  His last message over the two way radio, as the mountain began to erupt, was "Vancouver, this is it!  This is it!"  He lost his life that day.

Traveling to Johnston Ridge was something we had always wanted to do, but never made the time for.  For once, we made the time, and it was truly a magnificent experience.

In these travels, I find myself almost fearful of the grand scale of nature's power. I was never part of an outdoorsy family, and I never really spent a lot of time pursuing outdoor adventures as I grew into adulthood. As such, I would say I'm not entirely comfortable with my relative size in the grander scheme of our world, and all it encompasses.  That just sounds so weird, even to my own ears, but it's true. Our trip to the Mt. St. Helens' debris field really brought that home.

This past weekend we traveled through the Ochoco National Forest, climbing over 4900' at pass level, down into the fossil beds area, through the Sheep Rock Unit, and Picture Gorge, into Dayville.  On our way, we spied an old barn off the highway.

Old barns always start me wondering about times gone by - the people who built them, and when they were built. This one was no different. I often wish old buildings could talk. Imagine the stories they could tell.

We spent the night at a very small campground in Dayville, run by an inebriated but jolly proprietor. The grounds were beautiful, even if the overall experience was a little different. It was safe and quiet...that's all we were really looking for - mission accomplished. A good night's sleep was had by all, especially Jet, who didn't move from his spot on the bed, all night long.

The next morning we made our way to the Painted Hills Unit.  So beautiful, so quiet, so peaceful.  We only saw a few people as we made our way around the hills.  A truly magical place.

The hills rise from the landscape like the land time forgot.  I was so captivated.  It was so special, so mystical in many ways. I often look at the results of nature's paint brush and think to myself, "there is no greater artist."  Truly magnificent.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

True love

It's been an up and down few weeks, filled with things I welcome, and things I dread.

My beloved Jet, my first Sheltie, and the four legged love of my life, has been experiencing a few health issues.  Without going into a great deal of detail, I can say that his age has slowly been catching up with him.  Always a very young looking older dog, he is now looking like an older old dog.  At 14, I'm realistic and understand that he won't be here with me forever, but the thought of losing him is extremely difficult to bear.  I'm not sure I know how to breathe without this dog, and while that may sound like a dramatic proclamation, in many ways, it's how I feel.

For now, he's here.  He's comfortable, and he isn't experiencing any pain.  He's a little wobbly, and can't hop up on the deck like he could not long ago.  It's hard to watch him age before my eyes.  It's hard to look into those brown eyes that are wise and full of understanding, knowing I can't change the course he and I will travel.  There are times I think he seeks my gaze to connect with me, and tell me it's okay, that somehow he knows more about what's coming than I do. And, knowing him as I do, I'm sure that's true.

People say dogs come into our lives to teach us things.  I believe that.  Ty did.  I know Jet has, as well.  My heart knows what Jet came to teach me.  For now, I will keep that knowledge to myself.  Unlike Ty, who came to change me in ways that affected others, Jet came for something more personal...

There will never be a good time to say good-bye to my furry true love.  I keep saying "not now", and even if he lived to 20, it would never be enough.  I just hope we have more time together, to ease into the changes I know are coming.  To somehow prepare for something there is really no way to prepare for.