Pebbles on the Edge

Pebbles on the Edge
Lake McDonald, 2014

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Aquamarine Waters of Memory

Iconic view

Lights in the Lake McDonald Lodge, taken from below with my camera set on a table

...a more traditional viewpoint

the aquamarine waters of McDonald Creek

Just some more shots of Glacier Park in the summer of 2009. These were all taken in late June/early July. This summer we'll be leaving on the 18th of June and stay in Coram until the 25th, when we'll be going to Hamilton for the celebration of my Great Aunt's 100th birthday.

I remember spending childhood time there, both in the long exotic days of summer, and the crisp week of Christmas break. The cousins had 10-speeds and we'd ride all over the quiet tree-lined streets of Hamilton. I always thought it a bit glamorous and strange to see at the end of every avenue these great blue mountains rising up over the town in the summer haze, these Bitterroots that shelter the valley and make it wondrous, after having spent most of my life out on the high plains. I felt somehow protected in Hamilton, less exposed.

Aunt Emmy always called the Bitterroot valley the Banana Belt of Montana, and indeed it was. I envied the flowers and the cherries and apples until I came to Oregon and discovered my own Banana Belt here in the Columbia Basin.

I remind myself of that when I think I want to live in Montana again--which I do, in my heart of hearts, but with the option of taking the winter off and heading for a warmer clime, or not having to go ANYWHERE for the duration of the cold months but my own studio and maybe the grocery store. That all means I'd have to be fabulously wealthy...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More... Dealbhan bho Alba

Dìtheanan aig Inbher-Lochy (River Lochy, Lochaber, Alba)

Daraich (craobhan) aig Liddesdale, Cruachan, Alba

Feur aig Cùil Lodair (Culloden Moor)

Just some more photos in black and white from Scotland. These were all very stirring places to be, especially because it was relatively uncrowded when we visited them. There are ghosts among the ruins, taibhsean, that whisper in the wind and rustle the grasses. Every square inch of this land has blood and history, stretching back before recorded time, and it is where we came from. I felt strangely at home.
Inverlochy was sweet and quiet, Liddesdale forbidding and grim, Culloden tragic and poignant.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Scottish Gaelic, Slighe nan Gaidheal: End of year Two

A contemplative picture of the boggy earth where so many Scots lost their lives in the last major battle on Scottish soil: Culloden Moor. The aftermath of that battle between routed Jacobites and triumphant Government forces, along with its consequences, are still reverberating in the psyche of the Scottish people, and in real suffering to this day among the Highlands and Islands. It was a moving experience to have walked this ground last summer, to have moved among the silence of the ghosts there, to hear the wind in the grasses, see the blue and red flags in mute testament to the tragedy of Charles Edward Stuart's youth and folly. One asks as one walks, "What if they had won?"

We're heading to Seattle this morning for my last class in Scottish Gaelic for the year, held tomorrow in Shoreline, Washington. I have not studied. I cannot remember anything I learned in the previous almost-two years. My head is full of stuff and there doesn't seem to be room for any more. In Gaelic: Tha mo cheann lan.

However, I'll not give up. I've pre-enrolled in the Atlantic Gaelic Academy's distance learning course for next year: three hours of spoken Gaelic per week, from September through May! I am excited, and a bit nervous at appearing retarded. It will mean a 3-hour committment to Wednesday evenings.

Someday, I will get this language. It might be after I die...

Tioraidh an drasda, mo charaidean.

Grasses at Culloden, against a glowering sky.

Mixed Clans monument stone at Culloden

FYI: Slighe nan Gaidheal...Way of the Gael, the volunteer organization in Seattle that seeks to educate and foster the Scottish Gaelic language and culture. Their motto is "Chì mi na Morbheanna." I See the Great Mountains.

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Fine Silver Jewelry

Some better photos of jewelry I've been working on...

Eudail in Ogham (dearest; Scottish Gaelic)

Airy pendants, one with 24K gold, very time-consuming to make but I love the result.

Leafy silver pendants. Thease were fun!

Stack of rings

Wired heart (I wear this a lot)

I love making stuff, expensive, classy, unique stuff out of metal. Wearable art. I've let go of making any money at it. It just isn't going to happen. Creativity, however, cannot be stopped just because one cannot make a living at it. It's why I work, I suppose--to support my (expensive) habit. Silver is nearly $50 per ounce these days. These are all fine (pure) silver--not sterling, which has copper in it.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Well. I planted around seventy-five plants today in the garden along the garage, the only flat place to plant anything here, nearly. It's been a sadly neglected strip for a couple of years now, with just a few things that finally gave up their ghosts, leaving a palimpsest over which to begin again. I chose some interesting plants, including ornamental grasses, Lavandulas, Campanula rotundifolia (Bluebells of Scotland), violas, purple cosmos, a rare and beautiful type of Digitalis, some hardy snapdragons, blue flax, a collection of Monardas (bee-balms), two hardy roses, some Lonicera to provide company for the bedraggled Clematises that keep coming back despite looking terrible by the middle of June from the hot sun, and a whole lot of other things that I can't remember now...all from High Country Gardens. Here are some not-so-good photos of the aftermath:

Baby plants, Clematis on left, Lonicera (honeysuckle) on right

More...with second Clematis

Shadow-cat supervising

Doing an evaluation of the day's work

The dead wisteria (waaaah)

Deck view

Over the finally greening valley

We had a very bad winter for us. I know it wasn't as bad as Montana's, but today was the first day it broke sixty degrees without the horrible wind that always blows here. The extended period of really cold weather during the long winter killed or damaged a lot of our established plants: two wisteria, a honeysuckle, a lace-leaf Japanese maple, several junipers, half the lawn, several shoe-button spireas, which we cut all the way off. There are a few leaves on each. I found two stems on the big wisteria that have green, but I fear the rest of it is dead. The one we planted last spring is probably done-for. We'll leave them in for now and wait...Even the lilacs were damaged. All of the trees are late, and we're still having frost. Usually by now it's in the 70s or even 80s. It is a desert, after all.

The area vintners have been hit hard as well. There's still a great deal of snow in the hills, and we've had a very wet and windy spring. The river flooded twice.

I haven't worked this hard in a long time. Whew. I'll be glad to call it a day.