I spent a few days with Lydia, my dear friend and long-ago mission trainee.
My Wisconsin-centric brain was so giddy to spend Christmas Eve playing outside in 60 degree weather. I went barefoot as often as I could.
Lydia’s great family and I shared colorful stories, ate mind-numbingly-delicious food, hiked abundant countryside, discussed heart-expanding topics, evangelized the wonders of kefir (which may or may not actually be manna), sweat liters at the Bikram yoga studio, and slept in as long as we wanted. Looking back through my camera, it turns out I mainly just took photos of plants.
Fall is here in full force (nod to the full moon on the same day as the fall equinox)! While I anxiously await jumping into my first leaf-pile of the year, I thought I’d just give a little recap of some summer highlights.
- Summer began as any well-respecting Wisconsinite might wish: with snow!
- It did a number on my tomato plants, but my harvest is still plentiful. Here’s a look into my bag after a recent harvest from my community garden, and a photo I treasure of my cantaloupe babies. They are definitely adolescents now, but are still in need of the vine.
- Early this summer I was privileged to be present when my sister was called and set-apart as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She will spend the next year-and-a-half living on a small northern island in the Philippians, serving the people and teaching them about how the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring added happiness and peace to their lives. Here’s a picture from the last time I saw her, as well as one she just sent home:
- While the summer was still green and lush, I spend as many evening after work as possible roaming through the mountains:
- Here’s a shot from one hike with my friend Kelsey- just days before she took off on a mission to Florida:
- In June, my work flew me out to San Francisco to do some training at the nation’s oldest science museum, the Exploratorium. The PIE (Playful Inventive Exploration) training was hands-down some of the most inspiring education I’ve ever received. More to come shortly on how we’ve been using that training to inspire more innovation and creativity from the middle-schoolers I work with. Here is a picture of me outside the museum, inside the workshop space, and beside some lovely sea lions down on pier 39:
- I flew on an overnight flight from CA to WI to spend a week in the great outdoors with my dear family. Here we all are under uncle Bob’s tarp. The thunderstorms helped us to get extra cozy!
- I spent Independence Day with my brothers, sister-in-law, and nieces at the Bees Stadium. Nothing like thousands of people cuddled on blankets, watching small explosions in the sky:
- I also spent some time exploring natural hotsprings:
- Discovered a new species of maple:
- (kidding about the maple….well maybe. Have you ever heard of a variegated maple?)
- Joined a group of daring souls on a search for the infamous kokanee:
- Saw some sunsets that literally brought me to my knees:
- Traveled through Utah wilderness with dear WI friends and family:
Light is fascinating. In honor of the Perseid Meteor Shower‘s peak tonight, I wanted to share some of my playing and learning and loving of light. This summer I came across something I wrote back in the early 90’s:
So I’ve liked bright things for a long time. Quite possibly my favorite bright thing is the moon. (Some day I’ll probably name a daughter Luna). Recently I was lying on my crusty grass, shooting hopelessly inadequate photos of a full moon, and I made a discovery. A long shutter speed makes is possible to paint with the moon! Here’s a little collage of a sampling from my first round of paintings (I’m particularly proud of the letter “A” that I drew):
The only reason I can say that the moon ranks higher on my list than the sun is that they really are the same light source. One of my assignments at work is to help design an exhibit about photosynthesis. Richard Feynman has been a great source of inspiration for this project. I recommend you take 4 and a half minutes and listen to this Nobel Prize-winning physicist talk about light. He is a brilliant teacher. The sun, moon, plants, fire…it’s all pretty similar when we look through the lens of energy. And, some notable text would add that the same light of the sun, moon, and stars are fueled by a more transcendent light. “And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space— The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things” (D&C 88:11-13).
A week ago, camped along Bullfrog Basin at Lake Powell, I captured some images that rival my moon paintings. Four small children, siblings, were giggling as they ran in the dark parking lot. Each one had a small headlamp.
That same night I captured my first lightning bolt in film. I love light.
Photo collage from my Vernal Equinox hike overlooking Salt Lake valley.
Happy Spring everyone!
A few weeks ago I visited Arches National Park for the first time. I stared in amazement as I watched as the evening sun set fire to the red rocks. Of all the diverse landscapes found in this state, the red rock country seems the most un-earthly to me. I imagine I could pitch a tent on a redrock cliff and live there until I was withered and gray, and still I would feel like a foreigner on its terrain.
One evening I hiked up to see Delicate Arch, the rock formation showcased on Utah license plates. As I watched the sun dance across this famous arch, I smiled at the whispered land-praises coming from the hikers surrounding me. The various accents and languages revealed how far we’d all traveled to meet on that same peak. Although I’d never seen Delicate Arch in person before, it felt over-poweringly familiar. I reasoned this connection I felt with the arch was just a result of seeing it so often on the masses of cars. Then I made a discovery. The Delicate Arch and I hold a kinship that runs deeper than cartoon sketches on license plates. Do you see it?
Check out the negative space in the heart of the arch. I’ll zoom in a little closer so you can get a better view: