Category Archives: The Grand Landscape

The overview of the natural landscape.

More Autumn Color

“Glorious Fall Color”
Heatherwood Autumn

Temperatures have been dropping down into the low 30’s for a week or so. The trees and shrubs are rapidly displaying their glorious autumn brilliance.

Our Heatherwood landscape is quite a contrast to the dry rock-covered hills that surround us. To bridge the gap, we have placed many rocks in our landscape. They help tie the hillsides and our garden together. It is amazing how a little water during the summer months can turn our semi-desert surrounds into a lush landscape.

Every day brings more and more color. The garden should be at its peak color in about a week. Some days are changing so much that I feel like I need to take a little photographic walk both in the morning and late afternoon. Today is one of those days.

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Before the Tourists Wake Up

“The Grand Canal, Early Morning”
Venice, Italy

It is much more enjoyable to stroll the iconic places in Venice at 6:00 AM, before the tourists wake up. Compare this view of the Grand Canal with the image in my last post that was taken mid-afternoon. Large crowds dominate Venice from about 8:30A to 10:00P. During these time periods I tried to focus my walks to the back streets.

Compare

“The Grand Canal from Rialto Bridge”
Venice, Italy

Compare the heavy traffic on Venice’s Grand Canal with the quiet peacefulness of the small back canal in my previous post. I much prefer the intimacy of the “off the beaten track” places over the grandeur of the iconic scenes. To get this image, I had to wiggle my way through a crowd to a spot on the Rialto Bridge. On my previous post, I just had to wait a minute or two for a gondola to pass.

Squiggles

“Steptoe View”
The Palouse, Washington

One of my favorite places to be in Washington State is on Steptoe Butte in the Palouse. It is a place where I can gaze over the rolling hills of the farm land below and dream of the past, present, and future. Time goes by, clouds skim across the sky. Little ‘ant-like’ vehicles move about. Memories flash through my mind. When I was a little tyke, Uncle Ben and I would walk out to the sagebrush ridge past our orchard. We had our special rock where we would sit and look over the Naches valley below. Farmers would be working their fields, driving their tractors back and forth. He would tell me stories both fictional and of his past experiences. I would dream.

I close my eyes, then open them up again. The farm land fades away. In its place emerges a pattern of textures, tones, and curves. The scene below becomes a flowing blanket as the shadows from the clouds traverse across.

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For Mary

“Mary’s Bright and Shiny”
Heatherwood Summer

This post is for you, my Dear! Remember when I asked you what you wanted in our new Heatherwood garden. You said, “Something Bright and Shiny.” Here it is, just for you. Our Cherry Allee lines a field of bright and shiny perennials and shrubs. One blooms and fades, another follows right behind. Your special garden provides interest from spring through autumn. It even has its own winter interest with spent hydrangea and perennial blooms, grasses flowing in the wind, bright red berginias and yellow-twig dogwoods. Sitting rocks at the top are placed so we can enjoy gazing over the landscape together. The garden is designed and constructed for your daily enjoyment. Happy Anniversary!

Memories

“View of Cannon Beach”
Ecola State Park

I remember the first time I visited this view point. It was the end of the summer of 1972, fifty years ago. Dave Zimmerman, a great college friend, and I were driving down the Oregon coast on our way to visit another couple of friends (Kent Dimmitt and Doug/Candace Norquist) in Los Angeles. I had just received my first camera (a Nikon Nikormat) for my college graduation present from my parents. We were on the lookout for interesting things to photograph. We stopped here and I took a couple of photos that turned out to be one of my favorites from the trip. I still have a slide filed away somewhere.

The next time I stopped here was with Karen on our unofficial (we didn’t tell anyone) engagement adventure in late summer of 1975. Our next visit was on this day in 1976 on our honeymoon. It was so, so romantic!

Fast forward forty-six years. Mary and I were driving down to the Allison Spa and Inn in Newburg, OR to use a wedding gift that we received from my siblings 3 years prior. Covid kept us from using it earlier. On our way down, we took a little side trip to Astoria and then down the northern part of the Oregon coast. I saw the sign to Ecola State Park and decided to stop at the view point. The view was still spectacular! The view point had really changed from what I remembered 50 years ago to be just a small turnout. It is now a beautiful park for viewing Cannon Beach. We took our time and enjoyed the wonderful experience.

To Aspire For

“Grand Overview”
Portland Japanese Garden

Summertime in a Japanese garden is a texture of shades of green with an occasional hint of subdued color. It is a combined texture of rounded and vertical shapes. Here in the Portland Japanese Garden, every spot is filled in with various points of interest. Various shrubs and ground covers provide the understory. Different species of Japanese maples are the primary base of interest. Tall conifers are the backdrop for this overview scene of the garden.

As I sit and look over our Heaterwood Japanese garden, I let my imagination flow and dream what our garden may be for future generations to enjoy.

Sometimes a Different Perspective Is Needed

“Pink & Yellow Yarrow”
Heatherwood Summer

I have walked by this spot many, many times. What I normally see is a wide angle view of pretty flowers at my feet, green grass and a meadow expanding in front of me, our and our neighbors’ homes, and the distant ridge surrounding the view. By just moving down to ground level, my perspective completely changes to focus on the beautiful jewels right in front of my face.

Life is similar. So many times I look around and see all the confusion and discomforting things that distract me and cause anxiety. When I settle down and become grounded, I can see and feel the many things that are right with our world. Today, I celebrate Independence Day and reflect and cherish all what independence brings to me.

Happy 4th of July!

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Evening Sunlight

“Looking Through The Cherry Allee”
Heatherwood Summer

Enjoying the early evening sunlight grazing across our Heatherwood landscape and the surrounding neighborhood is a pleasure. With the long summer evenings, sometimes it is the nicest part of the day. Many times we miss this wonderful gift as we finish our dinner and watch the news. For my peace of soul, I think it would be much better if I spent my evenings enjoying what nature brings versus watching the TV.

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