Beauty along the way…

As Copper and I enjoyed our morning walk this morning,

Copper smelling the flowers by Steph

I couldn’t help notice the vibrant blooms along the way. Whether they blossom in our garden or in the neighborhood, they have served as an exceptional balm during this time of sheltering in place. Copper even knows when it’s time to slow down
and smell the flowers…

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“Miss Bougainvillea, luxuriant and sturdy,
unaware of her magical attributes.”
Yours truly

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“The earth laughs in flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“Love is a flower you’ve got to let grow.”
John Lennon

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“The flowers of tomorrow are the seeds of today.”
Anonymous

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“After women, flowers are the most divine creation.”
🙂 Christian Dior 

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“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”
Lady Bird Johnson

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“Bloom where you are planted.” Anonymous

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“But he who dares not grasp the thorn should never 
crave the rose.” Anne Bronte

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“Their colors bring infinite joy
as they are cared for with pride.
The thorns do not lessen their beauty –
not one delicate petal is denied.”
Yours truly – an excerpt from one of my poems

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“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.”
Theodore Roethke

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“Spring has returned. The earth is like a child
who knows poems.”

Rainer Marina Wilke

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A Cup of Spring

Miss Spring sips her tea
as we anticipate
her arrival.

She says, “Be patient,
I will soon bring you
colors so pleasing

and new life, delightful.
But first, Mr. Winter
must finish acting
out his scene.”

Yours truly

I believe Miss Spring kept her promise and I hope these gorgeous blooms were as soothing to you as they were to me. 

Lauren

 

 

 

Grieving with a Backpack On

The inevitable is happening – turning sixty is only a few years away, so what better time to experience a new adventure? When my children were young, my husband, Matt, often took them backpacking, teaching them about his lifelong passion. I, on the other hand, had no interest whatsoever to carry a pack on my back. But since birthdays seemingly arrive faster and getting older is a sure thing, I was inspired to try something new. When the summer of 2017 came around, I told him I was ready to wear that pack and leave my footprints on the trail. I had enjoyed listening to my family’s tales of their past trips, but now I longed to be the narrator of my own stories.

Their trips were weekend get-a-ways, and although Matt had gone on two 50-milers in the past, these short outings were a subtle way of introducing backpacking to his family and much more manageable for his family. And so, my first trip was on a weekend in July, backpacking in Point Reyes not far from home. After pulling into the parking lot on a Friday afternoon, we “suited up” and I almost toppled over, feeling a bit like Lucille Ball in one of her slapstick scenes – although I managed to find balance eventually. 

When we found the trailhead, I had to document this new beginning with some photos, then we were on our way. The trail was fairly easy with a few minor inclines and dips. I tried to enjoy the scenery, but I was fixated on each step in my what-felt-like “moon” boots. The bulkiness took some getting used to, but it was humbling to carry everything I needed on my back. After just over an hour, we arrived at Coast Camp, sweaty and slightly dirty. Our site was nothing fancy, but it came with a picnic table which proved to be convenient. We set up the tent and made our wilderness bedroom as comfortable as possible. The trip was off to a great start…

We hiked around local trails, reveling in the beauty of the wildflowers – shades of yellows, reds, pinks, and purples – while the bees serenaded. We trekked down to the beach a few times where the temperature had dropped and the wind lost its temper. The ocean inhaled then exhaled, greeting us with a palpable roughness as if to say, “Don’t you dare come in.” We wouldn’t dare, but the sight was beautiful just the same. After trekking back to our campsite, we had a reaffirmed respect for the ocean.

Our dinners were convenient consisting of freeze-dried backpacking food such as beef stroganoff and chicken and dumplings. Occasionally, we indulged in our favorite desserts – raspberry crumble or apple crisp. All we had to do for hot meal preparation was heat water, pour, stir, wait a few minutes, and dinner was ready. In the morning when the sun rose, we had oatmeal and that cup of coffee, which hit the spot. Fruit, cheese, nuts, and sometimes, a little salami and crackers served as lunch. We definitely did not lack in nutrition or hunger.

We appreciated moments of sitting together in silence, reading, enjoying nature’s entertainment, or watching other hikers pass by. Everyone offered a familiar wave as though we were all members of the same backpacking club out for a weekend. Other than an unexpected allergy attack, the trip was a success. When Sunday morning arrived, knowing it was time to pack up and leave, I was sad that this amazing experience was coming to an end, yet I was eager for a hot shower. The drive home was picturesque on the quiet country roads with only the cows lifting their heads to see us as we drove by. We drifted into silence, absorbing the wonderful adventure we had together. A few days later, we jumped into the planning stages for our next adventure to Shealor Lakes in the Sierra for the following month.

Sometimes though, plans do not always work out. Soon after our July trip, my dad’s health suddenly weakened. He began having heart trouble, which initiated a much-needed hospital visit. Dad was ninety-seven years old, but surprisingly, he had never suffered through any major health issues. My family had no reason to believe he would not get the chance to blow out ninety-eight candles in two months. The only pain we knew he felt was missing Mom – his wife of sixty-seven years who had passed away five years prior. Dad was poked, prodded, and x-rayed, and after only three days in the hospital, he peacefully passed away.

It was all so strange – losing my dad, and at the same time having planned the trip. After talking to my sisters, they encouraged us to stick with our original plans. “It’s what Dad would want,” they said. I was unsure, but after much thought, we took my sisters’ advice. Yet, the slight guilt of going while it was all so fresh could not be ignored. If Dad was still in the hospital, I would have stayed, but he was at peace now, no longer suffering. In some otherworldly way, I felt his approval.

We began our four-hour drive a few days after Dad’s passing. After arriving, we unloaded our stuff and “suited up” just like on our first trip. While we prepared and packed, as well as on the drive, Matt repeated to me, “It’s only a mile and a half to the lake!” What he failed to mention was that the hike entailed an ascent over a huge granite dome. I stared at the dome that I was about to embark on and became anxious because I did not feel physically prepared. But Matt’s confidence in my ability was apparent, so we began the uphill hike. What was I going to do, back out now?

After hiking for forty-five minutes, we reached the top, and when I looked down that sleek granite dome, I was amazed at what I had achieved. Never underestimate our abilities. On the other side, Shealor Lake was in full view. We gave our legs a short rest, quenched our thirst and souls with water that tasted better than ever, then headed downhill with the enticing pull of the lake’s beauty. As we neared the bottom, my emotions ran wild. I felt relieved that we finally made it, but a sudden wave of grief washed over me. We removed our packs and rested on a nearby log. I was so overwhelmed that I did not fight the tears. I let them roll down my cheeks with purpose. I cried for the loss of Dad and I cried for having completed this hike that I did not think I was capable of. I would have wiggled out graciously had I known the details much earlier.

Once the last tear had fallen, I composed myself and looked to the lake. The water was a jeweled phenomenon. It sparkled, inviting us for a swim. While we set up our back-country camp, the orange-hot sun blazed down on us as if we had drastically turned up the thermostat, so the cool lake water soothed our sun-kissed skin. The fact that we were all alone in this canyon full of forest and smooth granite was beyond welcoming. The tranquility offered me the chance to reminisce about Dad and my parents together. The solitude afforded a perfect destination to grieve, think, remember, and cry. Mourning the loss of one parent was difficult enough, but losing both felt surreal – a new stage of life had begun.

This Sierra adventure provided a chance for hiking and granite-rock hopping. The sun was our alarm clock, bidding us good morning and night as it rose and faded behind the hills. In the evenings, we sat mesmerized by the campfire’s dancing flames and were enchanted by the dark, star-sprinkled sky. No matter where we explored, magic wrapped us in its warm embrace. This trip challenged my mind, body, and soul. I gained insight into my deepest being, learning not to limit myself. This amazing destination and experience proved to be the best medicine.

I approached that summer with enthusiasm for a new adventure to backpack and I am proud of my ascent over the granite dome. I often wonder if my grieving process would have been more difficult had I not agreed to go on the second trip. I will never know, but I believe I made the right choice at a time when my life unfortunately shifted in a hard-to-process direction. I thanked my sisters for encouraging us to go; their intuition knew it would be the right thing to do. Now, I can honestly say that my footprints are embedded in Point Reyes and the Sierra, and I am grateful to finally be my own narrator. I know Dad would be proud and I can not wait for a new story to emerge on the horizon.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

 

 

 

Aglow

 

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On the little country road
to the country town we go
where hands on the clock
tick slow, slow, slow
leading to reflection
of memories that flow
where thoughts transport
to a time that stays aglow

Lauren Scott (c) 2018
Photo: Google Images

Rolling Waves

north of bodega bay by Matthew 2018

Looking into the future
it is a vast horizon –
one of hesitation
and reservation
yet, also
one of beauty
and excitement
It is an ocean
of varied emotions
like the rolling waves
with their uncertainty
as they commingle
with the mystery
among them –
and others 
causing me
to catch my breath
while watching
the presentation 
of a spectacular sunset
Whether joyful
or distressed,
the future requires
careful navigation
so that this moment,
this very moment
doesn’t escape
without being noticed

Lauren Scott © 2018
Photo: Taken by my husband,
north of Bodega Bay

on a motorcycle ride

Forever Steady

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Staring up high and beyond their treetops
Where birds create their family dwellings
Dreams begin to bloom and worries lessen
Manifesting a most profound message
Some have feared the footstep of humanity
The sound of distant sawing instilling fear
Instead, in this sacred place they are protected
Never will their integrity feel threatened
The welcomed footsteps upon their soil
Arrive gently as awe-struck souls
Their majestic beauty is never-ending
Their glorious existence is transcending
Living in blissful peace with other flora
They communicate through deep-winding roots
Linked with the embrace of Mother Earth
How lovely to live in this space of Grandeur!

Lauren Scott © 2018
Photo: LScott, Hendy Woods State Park
 

Into the Country

on the way back roads

It was
a perfect day
for cruising
on open roads,
for watching
the cows
watch us
as we paused
for a moment
to warm our faces
from the sun’s
late entrance,
and to relish
in life’s
simple joys

Lauren Scott © 2018
(re-write)
Photo: Taken in West Marin

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! ❤

Family of Giants

We’re home after camping among the Redwoods in northern California. While walking among these amazing trees it is absolutely a magical and spiritual experience…

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Generations

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Living together

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Baby

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From death comes life

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Perspective

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Inside Big Hendy Grove

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Fallen

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Over 1000 years old

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Sun’s peeking through

“This is their temple, vaulted high,
And here we pause with reverent eye,
With silent tongue and awe-struck soul,
For here we sense life’s proper goal.
To be like these, straight, true, and fine,
To make our world, like theirs, a shrine,
Sink down, O Traveler, on your knees,
God stands before you in these trees.

~Joseph B. Strauss from “The Redwoods” 1932
Chief Engineer of The Golden Gate Bridge