Photo Challenge…Elemental…Water

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we live nearly surrounded by water.  In Western Washington, anyway, you are rarely more than a mile from some body of water or other. Lake Washington, Puget Sound, the Green River, the Snoqualmie River, and Silver Lake are minutes away.  No two bodies of water or rivers are exactly the same from minute to minute, or season to season.  All those bodies of water moderate our weather here, and we rarely get extremes of heat or cold (recently we have been in a very unusual pattern of high temperatures and no rain at all for nearly two months).  Water gives the Earth and all its creatures life, and sustains us all.  Herewith, some examples of the beautiful water that surrounds me.

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This is the Yakima River, just east of the Cascades in Kittitas County. It is wide and shallow, and a great place for fly-fishing.

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The wake of a Washington State Ferry, leaving from Edmonds across Puget Sound to the Kitsap Peninsula town of Kingston.

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Sky over Puget Sound in Seattle.

Note how the color of the water is a reflection of the gray clouds overhead.

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The Deschutes River at Tumwater Falls.

This is video I took of one of my favorite places, the Wenatchee River near Leavenworth.

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Fall Colors on the Wenatchee River, west of Leavenworth, WA

Hard to believe that this flat, reflective surface becomes a raging torrent not too far away from this spot.

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Glacial-fed Diablo Lake on the Skagit River.  I am always amazed by the blue-green color of the water.

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Calm waters of North Puget Sound, off the Port Townsend peninsula.  We saw many kayakers that day, sticking close to shore.

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Last, but not least, a rarity.  Frozen water in the bird-bath in our back yard.  Both ice and snow are present, and beautiful.

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Photo Challenge..Is it a Table…Or a Bridge?

This particular dinner table is….wait for it…Both!  The people at this table journeyed from miles away to meet with the Honored Guest, a remarkable young man from Romania.  This Gentleman (capitalized because he is the epitome of Gentleman) is known to all of us online, and the friends at this table, along with dozens of other American friends, paid for his airfare to come to America, and see the country which we love so much.  All last summer, he flew, and bused, and was driven, from the East to the West Coast, staying with friends, and seeing America.

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The guest of honor is at the end of the table, with the goatee and red cravat.  He regaled us with stories of his voyage across America, and bridged the gap for us all.  At the end of the evening, when no one really wanted to leave, we had all gained knowledge, and the immense pleasure of his company.  This table is a bridge, across oceans, mountains, prairies, lakes, rivers, and people.

Oh, and I just couldn’t resist this, for Cherie Lucas Rowlands:

Bridges in Cambridge, England, the opposite number of Oxford.

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A peaceful River Cam bridge, behind Trinity Hall.
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Two bridges over the River Cam, Cambridge (seen from a punt)

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Independence Day! Celebrate the Miracle that is America!

Independence Day!  Celebrate the Miracle that is America!

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Cherish your Liberty, today most importantly, but do so all year round.  The country that you live in is the greatest miracle that has ever taken place in the history of Humanity.  A group of intrepid, well-educated men and women journeyed across a forbidding, mostly unknown Ocean to a new land, where they could live in Freedom and make their own way without an all-powerful King to dictate to them what they could and  could not do, make, and own.  And they went to this new Land so they would be able to worship in their own way, and not be bound to the State Religion.

And what a country they made!  Today, even in spite of all the internal and external forces aligned to try to take down America, you live in the most-hospitable, most prosperous, most welcoming country that has ever existed on Earth.  Why do you think that the earth’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” try so hard to get here?  Millions of people have braved rough seas, searing deserts, and other hardships to come to America, because they know that America is the best place to live in the world, and they know that, through their own hard work, they can support their families and become whatever they want to be.

Celebrate America, From Sea to Shining Sea!

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Atlantic Ocean, at Cape May, New Jersey

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Pacific Ocean, Newport Beach, CA

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Liberty Bell Mountain, North Cascades National Park

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GREATEST NATION ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH!

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Photo Challenge: Delta…Transitions and the Passage of Time

In the Inside Passage, the strait separating Vancouver Island from the mainland of Canada and Alaska, there is an intersection, where the protected waters of the Passage are met by the rougher waters of the North Pacific Ocean, between islands.  You can actually see where the waters meet, because they form a whirlpool with rushing and clashing of calm and excited.  The sound you hear is weird, because you almost can’t place it, or tell where or why it is happening.  Here, the invading Ocean waters meet the calm Passage waters.

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Accordions…As Far as the Eye Can See

Accordions…As Far as the Eye Can See

Last week was the Leavenworth (WA) International Accordion Celebration.  Leavenworth is known as “Washington’s Bavarian Village”, and most of its buildings are dressed up in Bavarian Village style.  LIAC consists of four days of accordion competition, performances by local and international groups and individuals, an accordion parade through town, and all sorts of impromptu and organized jam sessions for accordion players and other musicians. In the vestibule of the main concert venue, the “Festhalle:”, accordion dealers set up their tables full of various accordions for sale.  The entire weekend is full of accordions, as far as the eye can see.  Check it out.

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This is a new fountain, in front of the Festhalle.  The shepherd has been given an accordion, so he won’t feel out of place during the Celebration.

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Here are some of the instruments (can you spot the “ringer”?) on offer in the Festhalle lobby.

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Friday night’s entertainment was the Northwest Accordionaires.  Hubby is the farthest player on the right, with his beautiful wood-faced Victoria accordion. (sorry about the bad lighting-they had a bunch of bright LED lights on either side of the stage)

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Here are the accordionists lining up for the parade through town.

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And, THE PARADE!  Yes, they are marching and playing at the same time.

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Destination for the parade is the Gazebo in the middle of downtown.  They all march there, and play a few songs for the cheering crowds of spectators.  You can see that they range in age from little kids to mature adults.

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Saturday night’s entertainment was the husband/wife team of Kim and Dan Christian.  They were very good, and Dan was a fine comedian.

A wonderful time was had by all.

Photo Challenge……Transient

If a huge thundercloud isn’t transient, nothing is.  We outran this one in Iowa in the summer of 2010, on our way to Hillsdale College in Michigan.  It nearly caught us when we stopped for lunch, but we  got to our destination before the storm broke.

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Outrunning thunderstorm in Iowa

I took this picture through the front windshield of the car while it was driving down the highway.  Honestly, it felt like we were being pursued by the Devil.  Maybe we were.

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Photo Challenge – Order – All Lined Up

See the differently-colored punts, all lined up on the banks of the River Cam, in Cambridge, England.  They are just waiting for some people to come along and rent them for a lazy trip down the slow-flowing river.  Perfect for a summer afternoon.

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Punts on the Cam, rentals from Trinity College

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