We had our annual Multnomah Falls clean-up with Kevin's K-9 Search and Rescue group over the weekend. Just like last year it brought about change and realizations - this time for all of us.
Side note here:C cracked me up at this booth set up by one of our local park agencies. The Park Ranger asked C what tree was next to her and she was much too shy to answer (as always) but then sat down and found the dogwood in her tree fandexand quietly showed it to the Ranger. I have to say that woman was quite blown away (as was I!). We are only just beginning to learn about the trees and wildlife in our area but my girls seem to be catching on rather quickly.
Our morning started out a bit rough with tension, bickering and crankiness (the crankiness mostly on my end). We had to be at Multnomah Falls by 8:30am (an hours drive away) and the little ones and I were still in bed at 8:15. We overslept. Scratch that - I overslept. It was a mad rush to get everything together to head out the door but one way or other things came together and we left. As soon as we were outside the Portland city limits, seeing nothing but towering trees and water, our tension started to disappear. Smiles grew on all of our faces and the pace of life seemed to slow down. Exhale. Then we got to the falls...
Sorry, this is the best shot I got of the falls. The sun was facing me so it was quite tricky.
It was like a slice of Heaven. My family and I were reminded of how much we flourish when we are outdoors in the fresh air and beautiful surroundings of nature (And it doesn't necessarily have to be such a spot as the falls, it can be anywhere around us - far away from cars and noise). Don't get me wrong - we go outside every day but not in this way. I am not sure how to articulate it (especially now many days later). We really saw that our lives are like that of a candle - in the wilderness we glow a bright and steady flame but life in the city smothers us. Actually we are not even in the city but the burbs, ha!
My little K 'Steve Irwin' took one step closer after this shot to try to catch him and he quickly slithered away.(We don't have any poisonous snakes here in Oregon)
Can you see K's friend?
How about now? (Oh, what I wouldn't give for a macro lens!)
Kevin was volunteering most of the day so the little ones and I went off exploring and hiking on our own. We had every intention of searching for specific trees and animal tracks but we became distracted.
K asked me to snap this photo (with great excitement I might add) - Wild Larkspur for Larkspur.
The flowers got us. There were so many different species of wildflowers out there. It seemed like every corner we turned there was something new. Our wildflower guidegot a good little workout.
By noon we made it over to the (much smaller) waterfalls down the road for a picnic. My children did some more flower exploring (and Baby L showed us he was very much in need of his afternoon nap) while I set up the salad I made for the volunteers.
Can I just share that this little salad made my day? Night after night I have been hearing "I don't like that" or "I don't want that" or "Can't we have something else?". Needless to say, I have been feeling rather inept in the cooking department as of late. I was a bit anxious to make anything that so many people would be eating but thankfully they all loved it. That helped me feel a tiny bit more adequate.
Ah yes, it was such a wonderful day. Just what we needed. At least once a week this summer, my children and I are planning to go exploring and hiking in places we haven't been. I look forward to it.