Silver Falls #1

It was quiet last night for a fleeting few moments and my body eased fully into itself and slid deeper into my spot on the couch. I have spent endless nights this past year fidgeting and trying to find a rhythm. Under dim lights, with Yoda by my side, I have been slowly trying to re-ignite the fire in me that usually comes effortlessly in spring. This year has been full of landmines at every turn and one might think I’d be getting better at spotting them. But I’m not.

I also read a friend’s writing prompt last night and something told me it would be the perfect exercise for me to try, so I dug in. Here’s the prompt: (shared by my friend Mary Bucklew, from her writing mentor, Laura Davis)

PROMPT: Write an ode, a love song to your imperfections. No self-criticism or judgment allowed. Revel in your imperfections, your messy piles, your unfinished lists, that self-improvement program that never quite got off the ground.

And here’s what I think:

I’m not young anymore. My next birthday will be #62 and there is little fanfare that comes with that celebration. (Wait, there is one big thing: I’ll get my lifetime Senior National Parks pass!) The truth is, I am carrying an extra 10 pounds that makes everything fit a little funny. I don’t sleep well and mornings can be a bitch.

My frame has grown softer and rounder, but so has my heart. I try to look past the prickly parts of others with the same care I’ve taken in looking past the prickly parts of my self. My eyes are less sharp but I’m learning that seeing life a little blurry has it’s advantages.

And who cares if my pants are too snug or if the tee-shirt that “makes me feel good about me” is frayed? Wrinkles, silver-white hair, crooked fingers … and all the stories that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I love the things I love with a passion. I suppose that even if it doesn’t always look like it, it’s at the root of everything I do. Love, that is. 

No apologies. 

Sometimes I wake Yoda out of a deep sleep because I need to snuggle all that cuteness up. I let chores go undone because I hear a wren in the neighborhood and I need to see it. I eat no lunch and stuff myself at dinner because Kelly loves to cook and I love that about her so much.  My worries and agonies and tantrums and mistakes, all for love somehow. 

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

And speaking of love …

In spring, that first hike is always a challenge and in the woods I’m gripped with fear at every sound. Luckily this one is a waterfall hike so I hear the crash and rush of early spring run-off most of the short way in. On my drive in I passed several elk on the road and saw a blur of a small wild thing pass in front of me. A fox? I couldn’t tell. I think of bears here, knowing they are coming out of hibernation. I’m armed with bear spray and the safety is off. 

A friend recently told me of a bear attack at Enchantment Park in Chelan county. The mama bear charged without warning and the woman who was attacked punched it right in the face and it scampered off. For every incident like this there are ten thousand stories of safe passage. I remind myself I am one of the ten thousand. 

It takes awhile, but with every step I am reminded that fear is not my natural state and I easily slip into the place that I am familiar with … the state of wonder and curiosity. 

I start my day in an empty parking lot at the Stevens Canyon entrance to Mount Rainier. In a few weeks this lot will be full and cars will be parked a mile up and down the street, but today is mine. The trail to Silver Falls is snow free and with just a few trees down it’s the perfect leg stretch. The spring run-off has the falls raging. The water is like green froth and ice and the air is divine. 

You really had to be there *

Next stop, the Grove of the Patriarchs. The bridge was damaged back in 2021 and this will be the third summer season without that walk among giants. It’s a suspension bridge and it looks like the supports for the cables were unearthed on both ends. The bridge buckled and twisted and the slats followed. I haven’t heard of a date for repair and reopening. I would guess it’s become an expensive engineered fix that needs a good chunk of budget. 

Western red cedar and giant Douglas fir trees, with their droopy cones hanging from the branches, line the path. Then Western Hemlock with their small cones covering the path. I hear both Pacific-slope and Hammonds flycatchers but see neither. I always wonder why there aren’t more birds here. 

Both Hwy 410 and Cayuse Pass both reopened this past week so I drove through fog and clouds to Tipsoo Lake. I forgot my spikes, but the deep tracks made me think it was for the best. I navigated what I could of the trail but settled for a few pictures as the sky turned blue in pockets above. Above freezing but below forty felt so good!

And my very first pika! Love these guys!

On the way home I drove to the White River campground for a peek at the mountain. Sunrise Road remains closed until early July but some trail is accessible at the far end of the campground. Still snowy, so a no-go for me. 

Last stop was the Owyhigh Lakes trailhead. Bear scat at the trailhead gave me pause so I didn’t venture far. Again, snow begins early along the trail and I think a few more warm weeks will help. 

16 Comments on “Silver Falls #1

  1. Beautiful post on the nature around you and how the landscape of your own body has changed over time. Yes, it’s fine to be comfortable with changes and accept them.

    • Thanks so much. Yes, lots of changes afoot. You’re absolutely right about learning to be comfortable with what comes your way. I suspect we would make ourselves crazy any other way!

  2. What a lovely thing to say. We could all use a pat on the back sometimes just for showing up and navigating the often chaotic times in our lives. I suppose that’s part of why I choose to share, to know I’m not alone and to recognize that sometimes there is more than one path through the woods. We are all such miracles, aren’t we? Thanks for being here.

  3. “I easily slip into the place that I am familiar with … the state of wonder and curiosity. ” I am glad to read this because I can relate to it. When I hit those times of deep depression, and I’ve got nothing else, this is the one Crystal gift that gets me through. No matter how much everything sucks (to my perspective), I always see beauty and I always find something to be fascinated with. This is our connection to childhood, and the childlike approach to life that keeps us young even though the number 62 gets assigned to us for a year. I am proud of how honest you are being and how hard you are working to cut through it all and be your authentic self. <3

  4. Gorgeous water shots. I love the outdoors – even bear scat and cubs meandering across the deck or scampering up the trees to peer into the cabin. And the dog? Well let’s just say I sit longer than I need to because, yes, there is all that warmth and cuteness to soak up.
    Enjoy your day, Bonnie Rae!

    • Thank you so much, Kelly. Ahh, yes … da bears. It’s that time of year when we might see them and I look forward to my first sighting. Intil then I’ll snuggle with my little dog and be enprmously grateful for spring. Enjoy your day, too!

  5. I’m so glad you got this day. You will get your mojo and enthusiasm back, I have full confidence. It’s been a hard year, it’s not surprising to need extra time to pull out. Patience, my friend. And the lifetime pass is the most fabulous thing ever! Not the 10 bucks mine was, but still an outstanding deal. Especially if you finally dip your toe into camping. I surely would like to know how you get pikas to sit still for the photo op. And Tipsoo! Gorgeous! You had a lovely ramble, and sometimes that is just the right thing.

    • Oh, I am so glad too. Thanks for the confidence about getting my mojo back. I think you’re right about recognizing that my tank might be a little emptier than usual. Patience is good advice. The pika surprised the heck outta me. My secret is stillness. And there is a deeper lesson in that when I apply it to the width of my life. Thanks for being here 🩷

  6. So happy you got up and out the door to thrill us yet again with all your photos. Remember, It’s not the number or speed of the hikes, it’s what you see and, wow, with that camera in your hand you see a lot! Blessings, Ann

    • Thanks for the reminder, Ann. I feel a shift happening when it comes to goals for my outings. Maybe seeing things on a deeper level is more rewarding than pushing myself too hard for the sake of, well … pushing hard. Time to relax and open my eyes as wide as my heart and give my feet a rest.

  7. You have so many holy places that offer healing, from the mountains and streams to a good homecooked meal. I think there is no balance, only a meandering back and forth from that place of center, ecstacy when we land, searching when we’re off kilter, until we land again. Life. And you hit that landing place over and over with every hike, every owl, every dog cuddle. Thanks for taking me along. The exquisite color of that river is just breathtaking.

    • I pretty much love that you see it this way, holy places. They really are for me. And I totally get what you mean about there not being true balance. I’m content to meander in and out of joy and occasionally “stick the landing”. Thanks, my friend 🩷

  8. True that above. You took us all along. I love it how you dismiss fear because it’s not your natural state. 😀 And you’re getting that perfect pass for your birthday! I also love how you write about yourself and wake up Yoda for love.

    • So glad to see you here. Thanks for all that. The way I worry at night instead of sleep makes me question that whole “natural state” of mine, but learning “not to think” happens one breath at a time.

  9. Amazing adventure Bon! And thanks to your beautiful photos and insightful narrative… ‘i feel like i WAS there…* 😘

You know I'd love to hear from you !

%d bloggers like this: