Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ice bergs, tooth in a lake, and anger...

This week, I took my three children and escaped to the mountains for three days. I desperately needed to get away after several separate crises happened all in one week. I was hurting, and on top of that I was mad at my husband and didn't want to be near him, so the mountains sounded like a great hideout.

Although we live in nature and are surrounded by beauty, every now and then I want to be in true wilderness, without any people, or sounds of lawnmowers or goats needing to be milked. I am so glad I made the decision to get away – not a small feat with three young kids in tow. Because when I got back, both my husband and I had gained clarity and a deeper appreciation for each other, and because the garden had grown, and I think the goats missed me, too.

Here is some of the beauty I found. Who needs a psychotherapist if you have this? (Well... I still do, but nature therapy is nice if your therapist is booked...)

These mountains are on what we call "the East side", because we drive East over the Cascade Mountain range to reach them.  Washington Pass, the highest point (about 5,500 feet) is exactly one hour car ride away from our house.

As we were driving over the pass with all this elevation gain, I kept flashing back to last year, when my then-ten-year-old son Kai and I rode our bicycles over the pass. I wrote about it here - it's worth reading.  And I thought to myself, that someone who can ride her bicycle up thousands of feet can deal with a little crisis and conflict.  I thought of the resilience and mental attitude adjustment a feat like this takes, and I started softening my heart.

For the next few days, my kids and I hiked our butts off, ate lots of treats, enjoyed each others' company (most of the time), and let our souls relax.  I'm proud of these children, so readily accompanying me on these adventures.  The secret: pack enough treats.

Here is one of the lakes created by the damn at Ross Lake, on the drive over.

On our first day we headed to Harts Pass, on a sometimes treacherous dirt road considered the highest road in Washington state.  Guess what we spotted on the way to the trail head?  Yep, that would be a mountain goat.  See?  I can't get away from goats...

We spent our next day in the sweet little town of Twisp, famous for its bakery with the best cinnamon rolls in the state.  We explored the farmer's market, stuffed ourselves with cherries (and cinnamon rolls), and let our skin get pruny at the local swimming pool. 

On our last day we hiked to a gorgeous alpine Lake called Blue Lake.  Ice bergs floated in green water (why do they call this lake Blue Lake?).  While biting into his sandwich Kai lost a tooth and left it in the lake as an offering, and I left my anger there.  Ice bergs, a tooth, and anger.  I think Blue Lake can handle it.

And when we returned home?  My homestead and husband welcomed me with all the beautiful offerings I have come to cherish: open arms and a tender heart, sunlight streaming through the trees, garden salads to be picked from the earth, animals to nurture, and my trusted, trusted friends the flowers.

And a little breather and peace until the next crisis hits.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My Mom left, and hanging out in Seattle and at the Baker River

My Mom left to go back to Germany.  After not seeing her for six years, and then spending a month with her on her recent visit to the US, my heart is sad but very grateful for all the good times we had.  
We spent our last two days together in Seattle, where the airport is and where my dear friends live.  They invited us to crash at their place, and they wined and dined us the whole time.  They have lived in Seattle for decades and know it very well, so they were excellent tour guides.
We shopped for Copper River Salmon at the fish market at Pike Place where the fishermen literally throw fish through the air.  We walked along Lake Washington and along Puget Sound in gorgeous weather, with majestic Mount Rainier in the distance.  We took the ferry to Bainbridge Island, and we stuffed ourselves with lots of awesome food.

No trip to Seattle is complete without visiting Pike Place Market.

If you look really, really closely, you can see Mount Rainier in the background.

On the drive home after saying a tearful goodbye to my mother, I received news that one of my friends has cancer.  I usually listen to nice, soft music when driving, but on the two hours back home, I cranked a hard rock station.  Loud.  
Sometimes, if life throws too much pain one's way, head banging music is the only solution.

I won't write much more today, but let me show you pictures of my birthday when my Mom was still here.  We hiked along the beautiful Baker River and had a picnic on sandy beaches.  Steve had to carry my Mom over the river to get to the sand, a feat that she resisted, but we forced her anyway.  We knew she would love it once she was sitting on the warm sand.  She did.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

More eye candy

Tomorrow is my 43rd birthday, and since I'm rapidly heading towards 50 (and a potential midlife crisis), I have been reflecting deeply on my life.  Plus, my mother from Germany is visiting, and we've been talking about our past for hours every day.  There's a lot of painful stuff there, since we are processing our childhood traumas.  We are healing together.  It's so beautiful to have this new trust and love between us.  I treasure it immensely.

As I'm reflecting on my life, I feel so grateful for the growth I've experienced in my life.  I'm even grateful for the pain my Mom and I have been talking about because it has made me into the person I am.  I like that person now.  I am completely amazed at the life I have created for myself.  I feel like I am in the center of my calling!  I am doing what I love, I feel a tremendous purpose, and I am accompanied by some of the best people on the planet.

No, my life is not all roses and sunshine... Far from it.  Despite the paradise you see here on my blog, it's not always easy and gorgeous.  I do yell at my kids.  I get bone tired and bored with my chores.  My husband pisses me off sometimes.  I fall into a hole of depression for weeks when it rains every single day.

And yet.  After having lived on this planet for 43 years, the big picture of my life is filled with positivity, love, gratitude, blessings, support, friendship, and lots of bliss (just don't mention laundry right now).

One reason why I feel so grounded is where I live.  I am surrounded by mountains and wild rivers, and the ocean is only one and a half hours away. One of my blog readers calls my blog eye candy, so let me show you some more.  
I took these pictures on a trip with my Mom last week.  We drove up to Mount Baker's Artist Point and hiked around, surrounded by the grandeur and holiness of the mountains.

A few days before that trip, we showed off the mighty Skagit River to my Mom in our friend's boat.  Luke brought his fishing pole, but the fishies were shy that day.  Instead of catching fish, we caught some great pictures on camera.

We also went to Whidbey Island for two days, played at the beach, collected many crab shells that stunk up our car, and walked miles by the water while the Olympic Mountains kept watch over us in the distance.

Here are more reasons I am happy with my life: my garden and my animals, and the connection my kids have with them.  It does my soul good to spend time with four legged and winged creatures, and witness my children and their friends handle them gently and with compassion.

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