My brother and his wife came all the way from Sweden to celebrate Thanksgiving with us last year. I took them to the Redwoods. It is always such a special place … majestic, peaceful, awe-inspiring beauty.
After God created man (male and female) in his own image … “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.” (Gen. 1:28-29)
With this gift came also a heavy responsibility. “Subdueing and ruling” require constant care and wisdom. St. Francis of Assisi is likely the Patron saint of those who care for nature. Perhaps the first environmentalist and ecologist showing us how to live on this earth in a way that respects and honors nature as God’s creation.
So, the question … What do these photos have to do with our responsibility to care for what God has so generously given us? The answer will amaze you.
This is the last of my Oregon Garden collection. The Gaillardia above turned out to be one of my favorites. They are so bold and bright. It was definitely a blessing having the early morning rain.
This is the view of the main lawn from the Axis Fountain. They have quite a variety of gardens from Conifers and wetlands to a pet friendly and children’s garden.
The Day Lilies were abundant.
There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet.
My favorite was the Bosque Reflecting Ponds, a central plaza featuring four brick ponds and 40 planter boxes, each planted with a single tree.
The Signature Oak is an Oregon Heritage Tree that is more than 400 years old.
June was fortunately a perfect time to appreciate the bounty of color.
If you live in the Pacific Northwest and need to get away for a few days, I can easily recommend the Silverton area. The Oregon Garden Resort is a very nice place and they have frequent deals through Travel Zoo. They show movies in the Garden during the summer, in October scarecrows are displayed throughout.
And Silverton is a Happening Place with loads of activities planned throughout the year: A Bloom Quilt Show, Brewer’s Tasting Dinner at the Resort, Fireworks on the 4th of July, and a Car Show in August. Silver Falls State Park with the trail of ten falls is just a short drive. Here is a photo of Winter Falls (check out my earlier post: All Creation Sings His Praises).
So, just maybe I will see you there someday.
John Muir exclaimed, “As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”
I recently enjoyed hiking in the Silver Falls State Park in my home state of Oregon.
To be the first human on the trail in the early morning … approaching a waterfall … the sound of it crescendos as you draw nearer, causing an uncertain yet knowing anticipation … a reward difficult to express, … but certain praise to the Creator … for a beauty so serene that melts “self” and it’s concerns away. Time with my Creator is always well spent.
The “Winter Falls” is a 134 foot waterfall that relies on winter runoff and is its best in winter, spring, and early summer.
“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” (John Muir, 1938) ….. I wonder if John Muir was acquainted with Saint Francis. Happy Trails!
This is my first attempt at “painting with light.” It is accomplished by setting up your camera before dark using a tripod. I used my Canon 5D MK II, a 24-105mm f/4L lens, with the ISO at 100. I pushed my cable shutter at 10:30 pm with the exposure set at 30 seconds. While the camera is “shooting” you “paint” the tree with flash lights. I converted one image to black and white.
I was raised in Saudi Arabia where trees were few and far between. That is probably why I am attracted to trees now as a photographer … they seem to become more beautiful with age. Perhaps like us humans … but, when you look past the wrinkles and sagging curves … and finally see each others true inner beauty.
“STAY HERE AND KEEP WATCH WITH ME.”
Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane
“Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer.” (Matthew 26: 36-45)
This passage has always been a sobering one to me. I can so easily identify with the disciples. “The Spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” If ever there was an area in my spiritual life that needed improvement this is it. Becoming like Francis and shirking all possessions, wealth, and position would in some ways make this process easier …. but what a price! Certainly there must be a ‘middle road’ of sorts for a “post modern Christian” like myself.
As I embark on this ‘pilgrimage’ I am hoping that I will be able to balance the role of “photographer” and that of “pilgrim”. I hope to find (perhaps I will need to “make”) time to spend in prayer and meditation. I have set a goal of attempting spend all such time NOT thinking of ‘self’ but rather waiting in silence for what God puts on my heart. This will likely be very difficult.
We ‘pilgrims’ that are “Chasing Francis” all desire to become more and more like Jesus as we follow him. “Stay here and keep watch for us.”
Stand at the crossroads and look;
Ask for the ancient paths,
Ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
And you will find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16)
Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
So that we may walk in his paths. (Isaiah 2:3)
Teach me your way O Lord;
Lead me in a straight path. (Psalm 27:11)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge him,
And he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5&6)
I run in the path of your commands,
For you have set my heart free. (Psalm 119:32)
In the way of righteousness there is life;
Along that path is immortality. (Proverbs 12:28)
You have made known to me the path of life;
You fill me with joy in your presence,
With eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)