Sunday Dinner: Perspective

Mt. St. Helen, as seen through the plane's window descending into Portland Oregon.

Mt. St. Helens, as seen through the plane’s window, descending into Portland Oregon.


“We often think that there is just one way

to look at things – the way we always have.

In fact, there are an infinite number of ways

to look at most everything.

An open mind allows for a multitude of perspectives

from which to choose in any given moment.

That suppleness of mind allows for true choice,

and opens us to a whole new realm of possibility.”


Jeffrey R. Anderson     


Mt. Adams and Mt. Baker

Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier


“There is wonder in everything,

the only thing you need to change to see it

is your perspective.”


Taylor Schake




“Remember, whatever you focus upon, increases. . . .

When you focus on the things you need,

you’ll find those needs increasing.

If you concentrate your thoughts on what you don’t have,

you will soon be concentrating on other things

that you had forgotten you don’t have-

-and feel worse! If you set your mind on loss,

you are more likely to lose.

But a grateful perspective brings happiness

and abundance into a person’s life.”


Andy Andrews


Haystack Rock, Pacific City, OR

Haystack Rock, Pacific City, OR


“When you have once seen the glow of happiness

on the face of a beloved person,

you know that a man can have no vocation

but to awaken that light

on the faces surrounding him.

In the depth of winter, I finally learned

that within me there lay an invincible summer.”


Albert Camus




Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016


Lincoln City, OR

Cascade Head, Lincoln City, OR


“It is well known that stone can think,

because the whole of electronics is based on that fact,

but in some universes men spend ages

looking for other intelligences in the sky

without once looking under their feet.

That is because they’ve got the time-span all wrong.

From stone’s point of view the universe is hardly created

and mountain ranges are bouncing up and down

like organ-stops while continents zip backward and forward

in general high spirits, crashing into each other

from the sheer joy of momentum and getting their rocks off.

It is going to be quite some time before stone notices

its disfiguring skin disease and starts to scratch,

which is just as well.”


Terry Pratchett



WPC: Shine



Light always attracts us.  We follow the mysterious glint and shine of something unknown, hoping to find a treasure.




After several stormy days along the coast of the Pacific Northwest, I was called down to the beach by the glint and shine of sunlight sparkling on the sand and sea foam.

It was the first real sunlight we’d  had for days, and I was determined to get in some beach time before packing my bags for the long flight home.




I was hoping for a small agate or shell, left by the waves, to take home as an added treasure from this trip.

The waves still crashing high and hard, my path hugged the high tide mark at the base of the cliff.   There were long strands of sea grasses, still wet and shining in the morning sun.  Huge hunks of wood, some already charred from beach bonfires, littered the beach.  Sea foam sparkled as it skittered across the sand.




Focused on my photoing, I almost didn’t see the sneaker wave rolling up the beach.  I ran for the rocks, but still found myself ankle deep in the cold Pacific surf.  Not so bad, except I had worn my favorite Sebagos on this jaunt…




Time to turn around and head back to the condo, to dry out and wait for low tide.  The treasures I’d found were locked deep in my Nikon’s memory card.




Woodland Gnome 2016


For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Shine




Nature Challenge Day 6: Light

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“Find the light. Reach for it. Live for it.

Pull yourself up by it.

Gratitude always makes for straighter, taller trees.”


Al R. Young


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“Gardens are made of darkness and light entwined.”


F.T. McKinstry,


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“From whichever direction or

from whoever the light comes to you,

always welcome it!”


Mehmet Murat ildan


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Woodland Gnome 2016


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Blogging friend, Y., invited me to join the Seven Day Nature Challenge last Saturday from her new site, In the Zone.  For this sixth day of the challenge, I’ll invite you again to join in.

This challenge has been out there for a while, and many nature photographers have already participated.  If you would like to take up the challenge, please accept in the comments and I’ll link back to you tomorrow.   I’ll look forward to seeing what surprises May has brought to your corner of the world, even as I share the beauty of ours. 

Sunday Dinner: Community

November 6, 2015 Parkway 101


“Everybody is a story.

When I was a child, people sat around kitchen tables

and told their stories. We don’t do that so much anymore.

Sitting around the table telling stories

is not just a way of passing time.

It is the way the wisdom gets passed along.

The stuff that helps us to live a life worth remembering.”


Rachel Naomi Remen


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“I alone cannot change the world,

but I can cast a stone across the waters

to create many ripples.”


Mother Teresa


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“One of the marvelous things about community

is that it enables us to welcome and help people

in a way we couldn’t as individuals.

When we pool our strength

and share the work and responsibility,

we can welcome many people,

even those in deep distress,

and perhaps help them find

self-confidence and inner healing.”


Jean Vanier


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“The world is so empty if one thinks only

of mountains, rivers & cities;

but to know someone who thinks & feels with us,

and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit,

this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


November 6, 2015 Parkway 100


Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015


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Wordless Wednesday


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“This inescapable duty to observe oneself:

if someone else is observing me,

naturally I have to observe myself too;

if none observe me,

I have to observe myself all the closer”


Franz Kafka


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“He alone is an acute observer,

who can observe minutely without being observed”


Johann Kaspar Lavater


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“Opportunities are often things you haven’t noticed the first time around.”

Catherine Deneuve


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Photo by Woodland Gnome 2015

Keeping Company

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Keeping company just makes it feel warmer, sometimes.  Sitting close, holding hands; flocking together. 


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We took off together this afternoon, with the world slowly melting around us back towards its normal self.  We wanted to see the familiar landscape of the Colonial Parkway under snow.

Silly us thought we’d have the place to ourselves.


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But no, lots of others had the same idea today; flocking together along the snow-narrowed roads between frozen “guard rails” of snow pushed up by the plows.


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Save for the sky, it was a “black and white” world of bare trees and pristine snow.  And birds.  Flocks of birds blown up the James from the coast filled the shallows of Sandy Bay, keeping one another company, and hoping for a bit of warmth from the sun.


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Snow still covers the sandy beach along the James River, but two sunny days in a row have melted much of the ice cover off of the waterways.  Sheets of ice still cling along shaded north facing banks and snow still covers the push ups in the marsh.


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Can you imagine snuggling up with your mate in a winter home of frozen mud?  I shiver just thinking of it, knowing that each of these snow-covered push-ups houses a sleeping family of muskrats waiting out the weather.


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Saturday’s sunshine brought us out of our hibernation for a few hours.

It was enough to feel a little warmth against the still frozen winds whipping off of the river. The urge to get out and move again is intense, and we were only a little surprised to share the road with bicyclists in thermal suits today.  Their happiness in the sunny day was contagious.


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Longer days send their own signals to the trees, and many show swelling and opening buds despite the snow.  We’re nearly at the spring equinox, coming very soon in the third week of March.  Daylight Savings Time starts again next weekend, believe it or not.


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Each passing day brings us a little more light; a little more solar warmth  in spite of the wintery weather map.

But wintery it is, still.  Snow melting off of our roof refreezes into hanging icicles.


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The waterways will be solid ice again by morning, and the roads will be icy, too.  Probably a good day to stay at home, and keep one another company.


Woodland Gnome 2015

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

Oregon Coast, September 2014

Oregon Coast, September 2014


This week’s photo challenge asks for an image which looks “dreamy.”  Take us on a flight of fancy,” Michelle challenges.


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And so we return to the dreamy, peaceful, coast of Oregon for a few more images from my recent visit.

Mist rose from the ocean each morning and evening, illuminated by the sun.


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Such a rare sight!  Normally overcast and rainy, the week I visited dawned unusually clear and warm.

We enjoyed the golden light of both sunrise and sunset, untouched by rain or fog, right up until my last full day on the coast.


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These were sun-kissed autumn days of warm, salty air, and long evenings perfumed with woodsmoke.


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One might dream of such a week lived on the beach in the company of gulls, searching the horizon for signs of whales.


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I was there, and now I dream of returning to this beautiful place.


Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Weekly  Photo Challenge:  Dreamy

One Word Photo Challenge: Navy

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We return to the Oregon coast to answer Jennifer’s photo challenge this week.


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The mussel shells, which littered wide swaths of beach at low tide, held the most amazing shades of blue.


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I took many photos of these lovely shells, often growing with barnacles attached, while wandering the beach at sunset.


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One woman actually came over and asked what I was photographing.

Perhaps she didn’t notice the beauty, or had grown so accustomed to them that she didn’t expect anyone would actually want to photograph old shells lying on the beach.


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But I found their forms and colors beautiful, especially in the waning light at sunset.


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I hope you enjoy them, too.


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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells

for her One Word Photo Challenge:  Navy



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WPC: Night Time

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Sunset comes slowly on this Oregon beach in September.

Cloudless sky, great glowing amber sun

Inching relentlessly towards the sea,

Dipping, bit by bit, below the horizon.



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The sky glows in brilliant  echo:

Gold, pink, bronze, carnelian, cobalt blue.

Horizon wrapped in bands of color

Like a sunsetting rainbow of brilliant light.


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Sunset lingers longingly,

Fading ever so slowly,

Shrinking along the horizon

As stars appear in the darkened sky above.



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Light reaching towards the shore,

Like a parting lovers’ embrace;

Illuminating  every windowglass, gull, sand, and pebble.




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Night comes slowly to this Oregon beach in September.

Light lingers as bonfires blaze into life along the beach.

Strains of music and  salty wood smoke perfume 

Waft up to my balcony

Long after I’ve come back inside,

Turned on the lights, begun cooking,

Said, “Goodnight.”


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Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014


The Weekly Photo Challenge:  Nighttime

Aquatic Garden

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The rocky, barnacle encrusted beaches along the central Oregon coast harbor rich webs of life.

Various “sea weeds,” algae, and plankton provide food for many sorts of animals.

Many more plants grow along these Northwestern beaches than we normally find along the Atlantic beaches I have known so well.


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Every sea washed rock and tidal pool holds these beautiful aquatic plants.

Others grow directly from the sand.  Suspended and buoyed by the waves below the high tide mark, one finds them strangely flat and “deflated” when the tide recedes, leaving them behind.

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These beautiful aquatic plants come not only in different shades of rich green, but also in an autumnal set of shades ranging from reds to browns, golds and purples.


This photo was taken in a tidal pool exhibit at the Aquarium in Newport.  They still have healthy starfish in their exhibits.

This photo was taken in a tidal pool exhibit at the Aquarium in Newport. They still have healthy starfish in their exhibits.


Many are edible.  Sushi lovers already know Nori.

But there is a range of edible “sea weeds” many of us in North America have never explored.

A tidal pool along the beach at Lincoln City, Oregon.

A starfish still survives in this tidal pool along the beach at Lincoln City, Oregon.


So many different types of plants grow together along the Oregon beaches.

Long strands, pulled loose by forces under the sea, wash up along the beach with each tide.


An exhibit at the Newport Aquarium shows how fish interact with the natural sea weeds off the coast.

An exhibit at the Newport Aquarium shows how fish interact with the natural sea weeds off the coast.

We saw these as they normally grow in the Newport Aquarium.  They attract their own food chains of animals large and small which congregate around them.

Many plants cling to coastal rocks, below the high tide line, in a rich tapestry of life with mussels, barnacles, Sea Anemones, and other small animals.


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Schools of fish feed among them when the tide is in.

Gulls and other shore birds move in as the tide recedes.

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Birds feed from the rich banquet on the rocks, pulling tender flesh from their shells, until the tide returns and covers the rocks yet again.


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Many types of crabs, Starfish, Sea Cucumbers and Sea Urchins crawl around these shallow pools at low tide, live among the pilings of docks, and inhabit shallow bays.


An tidal pool exhibit at the Newport Aquarium where visitors may touch the animals.

An tidal pool exhibit at the Newport Aquarium where visitors may touch the animals.  the red patches here are an aquatic algae.  The purple creature is a Sea urchin. 


These bright, technicolor animals glow green and orange, purple, pink, gold, and red.


This hermit crab needs a new shell to protect him.  But, no shells were to be found on the beach.

This hermit crab needs a new shell to protect him. But, no shells were to be found on the beach.

I last visited the Oregon coast four years ago.  Thick clusters of starfish could be found on nearly every rock formation.

They were large and healthy.  Sea urchins crawled freely around the pools at low tide.

Green Sea Anenomes live in this natural tidal pool on the beach.

Green Sea Anemones live in this natural tidal pool on the beach.

The change in four short years amazed me on this visit. 

I found only one starfish living in the wild during an entire week of walks on the beach.

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Many factors, including warmer water and greater levels of acidity and pollution have reduced the animal populations.

These beautiful tidal areas no longer hold large numbers of animals as they once did.


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Clusters of mussels and barnacles also litter the sand at low tide.


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But these were the only shells I found.  No other species washed up with the tides.

I don’t know enough about climate and ocean chemistry to know whether these conditions can be reversed.


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I hope they can.  I saw clear evidence of life dieing out along these beautiful beaches.


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But finding so much plant life encouraged me, if only a little.

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So long as the plants remain, they continue to do their part to cleanse and oxygenate the water.

They provide food for many species.

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And they are beautiful.  I was endlessly fascinated with their many strange colors and forms.

Planted only by nature, these strange aquatic gardens filled me with wonder.

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Photos from the Oregon coast and Newport Aquarium


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Seaweeds of the Pacific Northwest

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