We took the long way home from The Mountain last week, in order to get some apricots in Eastern Washington. The climate on the far side of the mountain is quite dry and the landscape is stark compared to the lush near rain forests on the western side, but it is beautiful none-the-less.
I think the landscapes have a classic, timeless look in black and white.
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.
Our visit to Gu Zhuang Zhai Village was a rainy day, necessary to fill the terraces with water but not so great for photography. However, there were a few times when the clouds thinned enough to give us a misty peek-a-boo into the distance. I really want to go back when it isn’t the rainy season.
The assignment was Landscape specifically “an establishing shot”. I wasn’t sure what that meant exactly, but I tried to find some pictures that gave a sense of the character of the place where they were taken.
See if you can you figure out where they were before looking at the captions.
Aukland, New Zealand
Mitre Peak, Fjordlands, New Zealand
Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas, Australia
Masai Mara, Kenya
Mount San Jacinto, Coachella Valley, California
View from Newgrange, Ireland
Daffodil field near Mount Vernon, Skagit Valley, Washington State