Rainy autumn days arrived in the Pacific Northwest with bluster. With them, they brought winds that tossed colorful leaves everywhere. Our maple tree left our driveway looking like a leaf mosaic. Bob took the photo above on one of his daily trips to our mailbox last week.
With the change in our weather, the last weekend in November upon us, and new COVID restrictions on Oregon activities, it must be Thanksgiving. Things have tightened up with regard to social gatherings as the number of new cases and deaths have increased here. It is hard to celebrate while so many others are grieving, are houseless and hungry, and struggling economically to keep businesses afloat.
Our mini-forest is one of the best features of our home place. Over the years, it has provided a sense of being outside the city with extra privacy. While we were still working, our location provided ease of access to the church, shopping, and medical care.
One of the drawbacks of living in a mini-forest is the inability to grow certain plants and trees. For example, we don’t get the bright colors of leaves changing on deciduous trees or shrubs. In the summer, sun-loving flowers and plants laugh at us as we place them in our nursery cart. They only last a short time before fading away.
Thanks to our next-door neighbors I can glance out my office window and see a glorious sight. A red weeping Japanese maple. On these chilly, gray days of Pacific Northwest winter weather, that tree is symbolic of a warm campfire, or a thick red blanket, or the depth of love found at home with family.
As I soak up the warmth and beauty of this tree, I am filled with gratitude for God’s creation all around me. The diversity of people I know and see in our community and our church home. The fall colors brightening our environment despite the rain and fog. The gift of friendships committed to staying in touch during this pandemic.
It is my hope that you are fortunate enough to find something for which you can feel grateful despite this year that has often felt dry and devoid of warmth, happiness, and love.
Yes, hope remains. Despite fires and smoke, extremely hazardous air quality, several days of evacuation orders: hope remains.
All the above add stress to the already stressful pandemic. Yet, hope remains.
One bit of good news, the Portland protests and riots took a break during the smoke and poor air quality. One less level of stress. Hope remains.
As we sat in our home, we talked a lot about preparedness when threatened by a natural disaster. What one thing would you take? It’s hard to say. You might not have time to remember what that thing is and then pick it up and go. But we did start a list of what we’d need to take with us. Continue reading “Hope Remains”→
Changing seasons are markers in our lives. With September, we begin to think of the end of summer and the advent of autumn. School starts up in many places. And routines at home change to keep with schedules required for school and work and more. In Oregon, harvesting apples and grapes begin. And the cider and winemaking processes start. Farm stands show off pumpkins along with fall-colored mums.
But the September to October transition has been different this year. In seasons past, October weather gave warm days with cooler nights. The rain began to drizzle and then strengthen as October progressed. But not this year. There are days when it feels like winter.
Weather patterns are changing all over our country. In Oregon, we have snow in the mountains. Today Timberline Lodge reports an 11″ base on Mt. Hood. Often the operators of the ski lift at Mt. Hood hold their collective breath into November. The wait for an opening date for the season is long sometimes. History also shows seasons when the snowfall was light enough to close the season early.
Record snowfalls hit across the midwest last week while a heatwave struck the east coast. Current conditions here and around our country and the world need us to question why.
What is going on in our world to cause these climate changes? I don’t know if anyone has the answer.
Yet, Greta Thunberg, a young climate activist, seems to have a message. Thunberg hopes government leaders of the world and we as individuals will listen. Her words may hold something close to the answer, if not the answer.
If you’d like to hear Thunberg’s message, you can listen to her speech at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 here:
I am not endorsing everything Greta says. But I do admire her courage, intelligence, and willingness to speak up. I do believe we have endangered our earth and its residents, both human and otherwise. We have not been good stewards of this earth. But I also believe our Mother Earth has gone through changes in previous times. Times when neither you nor I were alive to witness it. That doesn’t mean I wish to witness a cataclysmic change in our world.
If government and world leaders, including our own, choose to ignore what’s happening, then the words of a 16-year old young woman are important to hear. Personally, I hold my heart and hands up to a Higher Power for direction in my life. Yet, it is also important that I make myself aware of what I can do to preserve this world for generations to come.
Autumn in Oregon heralds our rainiest season of the year. Weather prognosticators promised rain for days. Areas nearby and surrounding us received showers. Sometimes only sprinkles. Our neighborhood received nothing.
Until…last Saturday night. We awoke on Sunday morning with evidence of overnight rain. And we’ve had several good…let’s say heavy showers since.
When it rains in Oregon, we experience fog of varying levels–light, moderate, heavy. Especially when driving through forested areas. The fog dances through the branches of thick and heavy evergreens. It may sound a bit spooky, but it’s a lovely site and cozy too. The white-gray of the fog softens everything around it.
Sitting here watching the rainfall, I’m entertained by everchanging colors. The sky goes from blue to gray to almost black and then bursts open with either rain or sun breaks and white clouds.
The leaves are changing from green to the bright colors of autumn. With the days shortening, darkness drops its curtain earlier. Then the sky turns a blue-black dotted with sparkling lights if the sky is clear.
As I watch the changing of the seasonal colors and weather, I sense the Presence of the One who made it all possible. He calls me to rethink changes in my life and the lives of those around me.
I take a few moments and reflect on family and friends. I realize our great-grandchildren are no longer toddlers but are four, seven, and ten. Oh, and a new one on the way in January!
I take a look too at those friends who have left us for a better place and give thanks for their presence in our lives. God now has new angels in His heaven looking down on us.
Always present God provides our every need. Even a good conversation on a somewhat dark and dreary day.