I’m still working on all of the pictures I took at Paradise earlier this month. This is a rosy spirea. This year they were just a bit past their prime. Here is one from last year. Its not quite as close-up, but the details are pretty good.
This year while at Mount Rainier we saw a great deal of the mountain aster in some of the meadows. Like the white flowers I mentioned in Scintillating Meadows, the pale purple can also catch and reflect light, causing the meadows to look like they are full of sparks of light.
Some of the flowers are bright white and others are adept at capturing tiny beads of moisture from the air that catch and reflect the ambient light. Millions of tiny scintilla.
It seems like every year that we go to Paradise a different type of flower steals the show. In the past I’ve seen very few gentians, but this year they seemed to be almost everywhere. Apparently this is because of the early warm spring that we had.
I find blue alpine lupines to be a bit of magic. The true blue color makes me feel like the sky and earth come together in them…and the smell of a meadow full of them is truly divine.
This year we saw a fairy ring of them!
It is good to take a few days away, where you can’t be reached with casual day-to-day communications. A few days when your job is to breathe in the mountain air and smell of wildflowers, and see the beauty in distant mountains and up close in the intricate pattern of dew drops on wildflowers.
We just returned from Paradise.
Every year we go to Paradise on Mount Rainier for several days. Every year it is the same, but every year it feels different as well.
Some of that is the way the season plays out, was there a large snow pack? was spring early or late? Is the weather hot or cool, clear or cloudy? Is there smoke from wildfires?
But some of it is what we bring to the mountain inside us.
This past year has seen several changes in our lives, including the death of two people dear to us and a great deal of upheaval from other sources. I am not gifted at dissimulation, and when asked how I was, I said “okay”. It was an honest answer, but it seemed to surprise the asker. I realized that the expected answer was probably “great!” After all I was in a magical place with good friends.
As I walked things out I realized that if I was truly”great!” after the events of the past year I might be considered a bit of a sociopath. In days of yore we had rituals for the loss of loved ones, including periods of time set aside for grieving, you wore black to let folks know that you were in mourning, so they realized that you weren’t “great!”
The meadows worked their magic on me. I can’t say that I went up “okay” and came back “great!”, but I did come back okay with being “okay” for now.
Alpine lupines at Paradise, in Mount Rainier National Park.