April Dawn

Early morning is a wonderful time of day. The air is fresh and brisk. Dew is on the grass. The colors in the sky can be dazzling. I seldom experience any of this beauty. I sleep through that magical time of day. Most of the time. If I happen to be up at that hour, it’s usually involuntary, having to get up for some reason, no noisy neighbors this time. Maybe it was a dream which I’ve forgotten that woke me. Usually, I sleep through dawn. If I happen to be up, and circumstances permit, I go back to bed.

This morning I happened to be up just as the sun was rising. I may have been half asleep, but I was awake enough to grab my camera when I saw the sun peeking over the top of the Cascade Mountains. I always keep the blinds to my slider open for that very reason. Sometimes the moon peeks in; sometimes the sun peeks in. I keep my camera handy for just such moments.

The last time I photographed a magnificent sunrise, the day turned drab. Today lived up to the promise of dawn.

This is the scene that caught my eye as I shuffled into the living area.
A few seconds later.
These photos were taken within the space of a minute or so.

I hadn’t put a robe on when I crawled out of bed. I hardly noticed the chill morning air as I concentrated on taking photos, but I had to open the slider to get some decent exposures. It was around 40F (4.4 C) so I didn’t linger very long.

Sometimes you get so busy taking pictures that you don’t even notice what your camera is seeing. I didn’t see the halo effect around the tree until I uploaded my photos.

After I photographed the rising sun, I turned southeast and made a couple of exposures of Rainier.

Our magnificent, eternally snow-covered monarch.

Some people feel closed in by mountains. I feel protected, even though I know this is a volcano that could erupt. Life if full of perils wherever you happen to live. There’s no point in worrying about what may happen in the hundred years. Just enjoy the splendor.

Flaming Sky

Views from Tacoma, Washington, US

Some of these photos were taken in the fall. One was taken in the summer. Except for the leaves in the second photo, it’s hard to tell the difference. The autumn ones were taken around half past six in the morning. The summer one was taken around four.

The tall fir on the right points at Mt. Rainier. On this day, the Monarch of Washington was hiding in the clouds.
Even without the mountains to enhance the photo the view is better to the east. Too many trees in the way when I look west. Sometimes the entire sky flames. I see these views more often because my living room faces east. This photo was taken the morning of the summer Solstice, two minutes after four.
Fog in the valley. Cascade Mountains in the background. I love fog. The spots of light are where building are. It’s nice to have them hidden sometimes.
Sometimes the Cascades are visible even when Rainier is not.
There’s that tree, pointing at Rainier.

Rainier was named by Captain George Vancouver of the Royal Navy, who in the late 18th Century explored the Pacific Northwest Coast. The person who was honored by having a magnificent mountain named after him was Peter Rainier, another captain in the British navy.

The native Salishan speakers called the mountain Talol, Tacoma, or Tahoma. The meaning of the name is unclear. Some linguists think it means snow-covered mountain. That seems the most logical meaning to me since Rainier is covered in snow, and glaciers, year-round.

The city of Tacoma is named after the mountain and would like to see that name restored. Seattlites seem to think the mountain belongs to them, even though it’s closer to Tacoma, so they prefer the name, Rainier.

Nature Therapy

“The next time you feel sad, put away your devices and go and sit by a river. Let it heal you. Go and walk in the forest, the trees will listen. Let the elements hold you. This life is fleeting. Let us tread lightly, we do not own any of it.” ~~Author unknown

My friend, S.a. Tudhope allowed me to use her photo of a creek that flows into Lake Washington in Washington state, USA.

This would be a great place to sit and contemplate. Perhaps to write poetry. Or just to be. We don’t spend enough time just being with no pressure, nor rush, no expectations.

For me, any body of water will do, even though running water is better.

Snake Lake in autumn.

I love reflections in water. And leaves floating on water.

Any tree will do, whether it has leaves or not.

I love the grace and elegance of bare trees, stripped to the essence of their treeness. Come spring, I almost hate to see them leaf out.

What do you do when you’re cut of from woods and water, like I am now. Like so many of us are now. And how some of us are always. You find nature wherever you can.

I’m fortunate enough to have this view from my balcony. This is how I get my nature fix.

To those of us who live in its lap, Mt. Rainier (14,411 ft., 4,392m) is known at The Mountain, as if there were no other. We have many mountains in Washington state, but this is the biggest one. The Monarch. The symbol of our state. The one that’s most visible from urban areas for miles around. This view is from Tacoma, but people thirty miles (approx. 50km) to the north in Seattle can see it, as can people thirty miles to the south in our capital, Olympia can see it.

But sometimes, too often, The Mountain hides in the clouds.

Yes, there is a mountain back there. Not all the white stuff is clouds, some of it is snow.

Mountains, whether you are on their flanks or looking at them from a distance, are also great nature therapy.

For when The Mountain is completely hidden by clouds or just to have something green close by, I have plants on my tiny balcony.

Autumn fern. Its frond are not dying; they’re golden because that’s the nature of autumn ferns.

Sometimes you have to bring nature indoors.

Peperomia. House plants help keep indoor air clean. And help the housebound to enjoy nature.

The Sun Will Rise

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountaintops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy.

~ William Shakespeare, Sonnet 33
Not a comet, the sun.

When you see mornings like this, it’s hard to believe that the sun will ever come out again. Sometimes it doesn’t. The clouds close in again and the day stays gray.

There’s a mountain back there, to the tree’s right. It points toward Mount Rainier, as if to assure us that it’s still there, even though we can’t see it.

See? There it is. The Mountain.

Even the heaviest clouds will eventually lift and look beautiful while doing so.

The Mountain wearing a shawl of clouds.

In winter the sun rises from behind Rainier’s right (south) shoulder. Rainier is so massive that it creates its own weather system. It snags clouds coming in from the Pacific Ocean, which results in great amounts of rain and snow. It often hides behind clouds or fog. Visitors frequently leave disappointed. The season makes no difference. The Mountain appears when it appears. Being on its flank makes no difference. It still conceals itself in the clouds.

January sunrise.

As the Northern Hemisphere starts to tilt toward the sun, it comes around from behind Rainier and rises behind the Cascade Range.

Even if you cover the whole world with darkness, you can never stop the sun from rising.     

~ Debasish Mridha