Tundra Swan in black & white: Monochrome Monday

This lone tundra swan lived in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon for several months this year. Its graceful silhouette, and the waves surrounding it, are highlighted in these black and white images.

Tundra swan on Deschutes River
swan on Deschutes River

Monochrome Monday

Rooted in the past: Thursday Tree Love

Rooted in the past

These western juniper trees near the shore of Prineville Reservoir were rooted in the past. After many years of fluctuating water levels, their roots became exposed. The red volcanic soil here stands out in strong contrast with the deep blue sky and green foliage.

Thursday Tree Love

Artichoke blooming up close: Macro Monday

We planted a couple artichoke plants in our garden this year and assumed they died after a week of extreme heat. Several leaves on both plants turned brown from the sun, but the plants survived. Here are their purple blossoms up close. Artichokes are pretty and tasty!

Artichoke blossom close up
vegetables in bloom

Macro Monday

High Desert Clouds-Clogyrnach Poem: LAPC

High desert clouds fill the dawn sky
Graceful brushstrokes conceived to fly
Drifters over earth
Interspersed cloudbursts
Dusk desert, glowing high

High Desert clouds
North of Steens Mountain
Near Malheur NWR
High Desert clouds

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Inspiration

Weekend Sky #36

Kingfisher art – sketches & paintings: First Friday Art

Today I’m sharing kingfisher art. I drew the following images several years ago. In studies such as these you attempt to capture the essence of the subject. You’re not going for detail in this type of drawing.

Sketches of birds

John James Audubon

I’m also sharing images of belted kingfishers from a couple wildlife artists. The first painting is by John James Audubon. It’s featured in The Birds of America, published in 1827. I was fortunate to see a volume of this book in a library at a university.

At present, there are only 120 complete sets of The Birds of America known to exist. The 435 engraved plates used to create the original books measure 39″ x 26.” These enormous illustrations helped educate the public about the importance of birds. Interest in The Birds of America persists to this day. In 2018, a full set sold for $9.65 million dollars.

Kingfisher art by Audubon

Louis Agassiz Fuertes

This second illustration, by Louis Agassiz Fuertes, features a Black-billed Cuckoo, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and a pair of Belted Kingfishers. This plate was in Birds of Massachusetts and other New England States, published in 1925. This three-volume set was written by ornithologist Edward Howe Forbush and illustrated by Fuertes.

You may not recognize Fuertes’ name, but he was a gifted artist and ornithologist. In fact in 1891, at the age of 17, he became the youngest member of the American Ornithologists’ Union. He admired the work of Audubon but had his own style of painting.

Paintings of Kingfishers & Cuckoos

Both of these artists worked from specimens they collected in the field to create their kingfisher art. Audubon is known for positioning freshly-killed subjects with wire armature, a revolutionary technique at the time. However, Fuertes put more time into studying birds in their natural habitats. Some think this knowledge gives his paintings an added “sense of vitality“.

Do you have artwork you would like to share? If so, include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

On a corner in Howe – John Day history: MM

I saw this abandoned building on a corner in Howe, Idaho. Though I could not learn the history of this specific building, I learned a well-known historical figure spent part of his life nearby.

in Howe, Idaho

The Little Lost River, located north and east of this site, was once known as “John Day’s River” or “Day’s River.” In 1810, the John Jacob Astor Pacific Fur Company set out to establish a base of operations at the mouth of the Columbia River. They made many discoveries along the way while searching for the easiest routes of travel. John Day, an experienced hunter and trapper, was a member of the party.

John Day’s travels

The group, led by Wilson Price Hunt, divided into four parties when food became scarce. John Day became ill and was left behind with Ramsay Crooks on the shores of the Snake River. The two men eventually made their way to the mouth of the Mah-Mah River, where it joins the Columbia. At that site, the two were robbed of all their belongings and stripped naked by Natives. Because of this incident, the river was renamed the John Day River. Crooks and Day were rescued days later by Robert Stuart, of the Pacific Fur Company, and taken to Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River.

In June 1812, Day accompanied Stuart on a trip back east, but he was left on the Lower Columbia when he appeared to experience an emotional breakdown. He returned to Fort Astoria and hunted and trapped in the Willamette Valley.

John Day in Idaho

When the Pacific Fur Company was sold to the North West Company in 1813, Day became a free trapper working under contract with them. Though exact information on his travels is limited, Day made plans to work in parts of southern Idaho and northern Utah.

In 1820, he was at the Company’s winter camp near Little Lost River, Idaho, with Donald McKenzie. John Day passed away there on February 16, 1820. The winter camp is thought to be near Fallert Springs, Idaho. That’s about 19 miles north of this abandoned building on a corner in Howe.

John Day’s name is associated with:

  • John Day River, Oregon
  • The cities of John Day and Dayville in Grant County, Oregon
  • John Day River and unincorporated community in Clatsop County, Oregon
  • John Day Dam on the Columbia River
  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon
  • John Day Formation strata
  • Day’s Defile, Butte County, Idaho (Historical place name near where he is supposedly buried)

For more on John Day, see this article on Oregon Encyclopedia or this one, on the city of John Day’s website.

Monochrome Monday (MM)

Pretty as a picture in the West: LAPC

Sometimes you visit places where the landscapes are pretty as a picture. Here are a few places I’ve visited in the western states that feature picture postcard views. I tell a tiny tale about each of them.

Kiger Gorge on Steens Mountain, Oregon is full of drama. A giant serpent tunneled through here leaving scales of deep green. Wise ones believe the sweetest water can be found in shallow wells beneath these strands of greenery.

Kiger Gorge, Oregon 28August2019

Morning Glory in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming is a glorious sight. The artist who created this landscape experimented with various colors. She could not settle on using a single color and discarded her pallet here for us to find.

Pretty as a picture at Morning Glory

This grandfather tree in Arches National Park, Utah often told tales of wild places to his many grandchildren. When he passed, they honored him by preserving the bones of his existence and planting golden flowers near his roots.

Weathered tree at Arches National Park in Utah. 3May2017

Herds of clouds collect over northern Nevada in the spring, deciding whether they will release showers in the upcoming seasons. If you listen closely, you can hear their whispers drift by you carried by the desert wind.

Magic in the wind, Nevada 29August2019

Do you see the largest sea stack in this photo of Ruby Beach in Washington State? I think it was a giant beaver who was busy eating and ignored the incoming tide. The beaver became stuck in the sand, unable to escape. She has been there for so long that a row of trees took root along her spine and grew to towering heights.

Pretty as a picture at Ruby Beach, Washington

Do any of the pretty as a picture places you have visited have hidden tales?

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Postcards

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery Sale: FF

Once a year, in the middle of June, Clearwater Native Plant Nursery opens its gates to the public. This contract grow nursery provides native plants for restoration and landscaping projects. Plants sold here grow well in upland, riparian, and wetland habitats. The nursery is located in Redmond, Oregon.

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery provided plants to the Deschutes Land Trust for the restoration of Whychus Creek, 15 miles to the northwest. The plantings provided wildlife habitat and helped stabilize the soil near the creek.

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery Annual Sale

I had never been to their annual sale before. This nursery is not open to the public the rest of the year.

We arrived soon after opening and there were already a lot of people there. Plants ranged in price from $3 for a 4-inch pot, to $27 for a 5-gallon pot.

Clearwater Native Plant Nursery

Plants for sale are laid out in neat rows.

Nursery in Redmond, Oregon

Walking through them is like being a kid in a candy store.

Nursery in Redmond, Oregon

You can find the plant labels at the end of the rows.

I purchased eight plants including the rosy pussytoes and showy penstemon pictured below. They are great wildflowers to include in my low water usage landscaping.

Some of the plants for sale had already bloomed. Gardeners need to use their imagination to think of what these plants will look like in the future.

I remember seeing prairie smoke plants at Slough Creek in Yellowstone National Park and wanted one ever since. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the plant I purchased at the sale will fill out and look like the ones in Yellowstone.

Prairie Smoke Wyoming 1June2018

A few tips if you plan on attending this sale…

  • A list of plants this nursery sells is on their website to view ahead of time.
  • Parking is limited but people don’t stay long so be patient.
  • Helpful volunteers are available to answer your questions.
  • Bring your own boxes and/or wheeled carriers. They are not provided.
  • Take a picture of the plant label at the end of the row. Individual plants don’t always have labels.
  • Bring cash! They do not accept credit or other forms of payment.

Friday Flowers (FF)

The Mountain from above: Cellpic Sunday

In Washington State, locals call Mt Rainier The Mountain. When clouds fill the skies and you catch a glimpse of her, people say, “The Mountain is out!” I took a quick trip up to Seattle this weekend and had a picture perfect view of Mt Rainier from above. What a gorgeous sight!

The Mountain - Mt Rainier

Cellpic Sunday

Movin’ down the road in Harney County, Oregon: LAPC

When you travel the backroads in this part of the country, it’s not uncommon to see cattle herds movin’ down the road guided by cowboys. We saw a couple cowboys on horseback moving this herd near Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Cattle in Harney County

You’ll see dust clouds long before you see the animals.

Movin' down the road

The cattle often stop in the road until they are pressured into moving. Watch for signals from the horseback riders to their dogs herding the cattle. Do your best to stay out of their way.

movin' down the road

Slowly push your way through. They will move, but they’ll complain about it the whole time.

Cattle in Harney County

While waiting to get through a herd, I often look at the unique markings of each animal and guess what their personalities are like. The cow and calf pictured above are big talkers, always willing to give their opinions. The one closest to us in the shot below is bold and sure-footed. She leads the others in the right direction.

Cattle in Harney County

A part of the Old West lives on in the present when you see cattle movin’ down the road, guided by riders of the range and their remarkable dogs.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Along Back Country Roads

Big Tree – Biggest Ponderosa Pine: TTL

This gigantic pine is Big Tree, AKA Big Red, the biggest Ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa, ever recorded. It’s located in LaPine State Park, north of La Pine, Oregon. Though it lost 30 feet of its crown during severe storms, it is still the largest Ponderosa pine in circumference.

Big Tree in Oregon

Here are some facts about this tree:

  • Circumference: 28 feet 11 inches
  • Height: 167 feet
  • Crown spread: 68 feet
  • Approximate age: 500+ years
  • Board feet: 25,000

LaPine State Park Manager, Joe Wanamaker, gave insights about Big Red in an article in the local Source Weekly. He thought it was spared from being logged due to evidence of fire damage. This may have affected the quality of the wood harvested. Wanamaker also pointed out this tree is growing in an ideal location where water tends to collect in the soil from the nearby Deschutes River.

A paved, ADA accessible, 1/4 mile trail leads to this unique sight. Foot traffic around this much-loved attraction caused soil compaction that threatened its growth. A protective fence was constructed around it in the year 2000.

In this map of the park, from Oregon State Parks, Big Tree is located in the lower right corner.

Thursday Tree Love – 111

Smiles of summer sun haiku: WHPPC

smiles of summer sun photo

souls from the past send
wispy notes in azure skies
smiles of summer sun

Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge (WHPPC)- Note and Send

Yellowstone Hot Springs-A great escape!: LAPC

On our recent visit to Yellowstone National Park, we took a side trip to Yellowstone Hot Springs. This attraction is located in Gardiner, Montana, about ten minutes north of the park.

Yellowstone Hot Springs

An interesting history

In the last 100+ years, this site has passed through many hands. In 1899, French-Canadian immigrant, Julius LaDuke, staked a mining claim here and discovered it contained hot springs. He created LaDuke Hot Springs Resort to serve miners and visitors to the area. The resort included a large plunge bath and several smaller private baths. A two-story hotel was built nearby. LaDuke entered into a short-lived purchase agreement with William F. Cogswell. This was one of many setbacks in his life.

Visitors traveled by coach to Electric, later known as Aldridge, and then had to cross the 150-foot wide river to the springs. LaDuke employed barges, then a cable ferry, then a ferryboat, and finally a swinging footbridge for his guests.

Guests rumored to have visited LaDuke Hot Springs Resort include President Theodore Roosevelt and famous frontierswoman, Calamity Jane.

Meanwhile, Electric Hot Springs Company made plans to build a hospital and sanitorium one mile to the north. They employed Frank Corwin as their resident doctor. Since they needed to pipe hotter water to their site, they attempted to purchase LaDuke’s property but he refused. He sold it to John H. Holliday for $6,000 who sold it to Corwin 20 days later for $1. Corwin Springs Hospital operated from 1909 to 1916. An unexplained fire destroyed the buildings in 1916.

From 1922 to 1940, Eagle’s Nest Dude Ranch was located here. The current owners, Church Universal and Triumphant, acquired the property in the 1980s.

Read the fascinating history of this site at “Taking in the Water” at LaDuke Hot Springs Resort.

This historic site re-opened in March of 2019 after extensive renovations.

View of grounds

Yellowstone Hot Springs

When we visited in the first days of June, there were only about ten visitors. This site is well-maintained and inviting.

The unique characteristics of these pools, and their suggested health benefits, are highlighted on their website.

Yellowstone Hot Springs

Two smaller round plunge pools are located within a larger pool. One of the plunge pools has water temperature warmer than the main pool, while the other has colder water temperatures.

Every day, staff posts the current water temperatures on a board near the changing rooms. The large pool averages 98-100 degrees Fahrenheit. The “hot” plunge pool averages 103-105 degrees, and the “cold” pool averages 60-65 degrees.

After lounging in the warm pools for a while, the cold pool feels much colder! 😉

Yellowstone Hot Springs

The grounds are landscaped and clean with lots of places to sit and take in the views.

Even the changing/shower area is nice and tidy.

Changing rooms

The entrance sits at the foot of scenic mountain landscapes. Yellowstone Destinations offers tent and RV sites right next door.

Yellowstone Hot Springs

I have been to many hot springs in my travels and this was one of the better ones. We plan to visit again on our next trip to Yellowstone.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Getting Away

Flowers flowers everywhere!: Friday Flowers & FOTD

I saw flowers, flowers everywhere while walking the riverside trail in the Old Mill District of Bend this morning. This is my favorite time of year to walk by the plantings near the amphitheater. Can you see why?

Flowers, flowers everywhere

Friday Flowers & Flower of the Day (FOTD)

Yellow & white iris up close: Macro Monday

I saw this yellow & white iris in bloom in mid June. When you see them blooming, summer is on the way. The golden colors in this blossom mirror the warmth of summer days to come.

Yellow & white iris

Macro Monday

Creatures of the mist – haiku: LAPC

creatures of the mist
graze in meadowlands of steam
whisperers of warmth

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Black & white

One more chance-Backyard bird adventure: BWPC

So, the other day I heard a loud “chirp, chirp” call outside my house. I peered out the back door and spotted a baby American Robin in the middle of the yard. Maybe it was the same one we put back in its nest several days before, giving it one more chance at life.

When I approached, the young bird walked underneath some cactus in my garden. Meanwhile, both parents continued chirping loudly.

Oh no!

A movement nearby caught my eye. A Red-tailed Hawk lurked in the background, watching the fledgling. No wonder the parents of the baby robin were upset!

I tried to catch the young robin, but it flew. Not well, but I was pleased to see it could now fly. The bird settled in the gravel and rocks, right under my High Desert mural painting. Maybe it wanted to be a character in one of my stories. 😉

Oh no again!

I headed back towards my house when, whoosh! A Cooper’s Hawk flew towards the baby robin.

“No!” I said out loud. The Cooper’s Hawk veered in another direction. I often see this hawk in my yard. Here it is taking a bath in our water feature.

Meanwhile, the Red-tailed Hawk flew to another tree, followed by the robin pair. They harassed the large hawk, so it moved to yet another tree.

Something landed in that tree above the Red-tailed Hawk. The Cooper’s Hawk! Now the smaller hawk was harassing the red tail.

The young robin stayed put, but it was in a vulnerable, unprotected location and I was concerned for its safety. Our dogs, or the many free-roaming cats in the neighborhood, might attack the bird there.

One more chance

This baby bird deserved one more chance, I decided. I scooped up the bird, intending to place it inside a dense shrub.

As part of its protest at being moved, the robin pooped. I was wearing slip-on shoes and the poop splattered onto one of my shoes and my bare ankle. The robin squawked in its loudest voice.

Undeterred by its verbal and physical protestations, I kicked off the poopy shoe and settled the baby robin deep inside a cinquefoil shrub. A spiky-leaved Oregon grape shrub growing nearby offered added protection. The parent birds perched anxiously nearby.

Should I have taken this bird to an animal rescue organization? No, they get too many fledglings from well-intentioned people in the spring. This young bird can fly and may be safer out of its nest at this stage. Predators are more likely to prey on nests the longer they’re occupied.

I moved this bird back into its nest several days before when the nestling was blind and flightless. Was that okay? Since I touched the young bird, won’t the adult birds abandon their baby? It’s okay to put recently hatched nestlings back into nests. No, your scent won’t keep the young bird’s parents away. Most birds don’t have a highly developed sense of smell.

When You Should–and Should Not–Rescue Baby Birds gives more information on this topic.

The pair of robins chirped nonstop after I moved their fledgling, but quieted as the time passed. I hope that meant they found the young bird.

Will this baby robin survive? I don’t know. Though I helped, Mother Nature will make the final decision

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge – Common birds in your area seen this time of the year

Trapper’s cabin re-creation: Monochrome Monday

I saw this life-sized trapper’s cabin re-creation at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. The details in the log walls, elk’s head, and snowshoes stand out in sepia tones. This is one of many amazing exhibits inside the museum.

trapper's cabin re-creation in Cody

Monochrome Monday

Kayaking at Prineville Reservoir: LAPC

We went kayaking in early May at Prineville Reservoir after an unexpected change of plans. The high elevation lake we had planned to visit was not yet open.

The 15-mile long Prineville Reservoir covers 3,030 acres. It’s located south of Prineville, near the geographic center of Oregon.

I had never kayaked here before and wasn’t sure what to expect. The geology surrounding the lake was a pleasant surprise.

This formation was smooth and vegetated on one side and bursting with colorful rocks on the other.

These layers of color looked like a slice of spumoni ice cream.

Layered rock formations

When I paddled a little closer, the layers rippled with texture.

Layered rock formations
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The burnt forehead bird – Hawaiian moorhen: BWPC

I was lucky to see the ’alae ’ula ,”burnt forehead” bird, while visiting the Waimea Valley on the island of O’ahu several years ago. This subspecies of mudhen is the Hawaiian moorhen or Hawaiian gallinule.

Population estimates range from 300-500. Due to their secretive nature, it’s difficult to know their exact numbers. Hawaiian moorhens live mainly on the islands of O’ahu and Kaua’i, with a few reports of sightings on the islands of Maui and Hawai’i. The 15 birds living at the Waimea Valley site are considered a treasured natural resource.

burnt forehead bird

So where does this moorhen get the “burnt forehead” nickname? Here’s an explanation from the Waimea Valley website:

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Woodland scene mirror: First Friday Art

Woodland scene mirror

This is a woodland scene, painted and carved onto a 10″ x 10″ mirror. I created this work with acrylics in a folk art style and carved around the edges of each element. A meandering creek hosts a coyote, raccoon, and leaping salmon. Tall evergreens border the shore. The bald eagle is soaring over snow-capped peaks in the distance. This woodland scene is loosely based on where I used to live.

Do you have artwork you would like to share? If so, include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

Whirlybirds up close: Macro Monday

Whirlybirds up close on a maple tree in my High Desert yard. I have fond childhood memories of collecting whirlybirds from the ground and tossing them up into the air. Watching them helicopter towards the ground was cheap entertainment in those days.

Whirlybirds up close

Macro Monday

Seeing things differently with photo edits: LAPC

Photo editing is all about seeing things differently. I had fun with my Corel PaintShop Pro editing program in this post.

Making colors shine

I was impressed by the rainbow of colors at our local Farmer’s Market. This photo looked like it would be a good candidate for the kaleidoscope special effect and I was right. Wow!

Farmers marketSeeing things differently kaleidoscope of veggies

The color or the structure?

I took this picture near Grizzly Peak in Wyoming and I couldn’t decide which edit I liked better — color or black & white? The blue sky in the background pops in the color version, while the structure of the trees gets your attention in black & white.

Sylvan Lake, WyomingSeeing things differently in Wyoming

Eliminating distractions

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Alley Art in Bend, Oregon – Part 2: PPAC

Here are ten pieces of alley art you can view along NW Gasoline Alley in Bend, Oregon. I previously featured artwork decorating another alley in Tin Pan Alley Art in Bend.

This collection of artwork is part of a public initiative supporting local arts and culture in Bend, Oregon. The paintings take Bend’s outdoor lifestyle into consideration.

The people in Alley Art

The first piece is Firebreather by Avlis Leumas. This artwork serves to recognize the work of wildland firefighters in the past, present, and future. When it sells, half of the proceeds will go to The Wildland Firefighter Foundation, a group providing emotional and financial support to firefighters.

Alley art - Firebreather. Bend, Oregon

This piece, by Sheila Dunn, is a portrait of legendary Bend skier, Emil Nordeen. He moved here from Sweden in 1920 and was instrumental in establishing the Bend Skyliners Mountaineering Club. The group promoted local skiing as well as search and rescue and alpine climbing.

Emil Nordeen - Bend, Oregon
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Symphony in the skies: Monochrome Monday

Symphony in the skies

We witnessed a symphony in the skies over Shoshone National Forest. Spectacular cloud formations and landforms are common sights near Cody, Wyoming. Dramatic wispy clouds such as these often fill the skies.

Monochrome Monday

Wonderful colors inspired by a song: LAPC

This week I’m featuring pictures of green, red, blue, and white. These are colors in What a Wonderful World, a song that brings back a special memory. Many years ago, I helped a kindergartner class with an art project related to the song. I assigned each student a color and let them paint anything they wanted. It was a “wonderful” experience!

Here’s my take on the colors from the song.

This picture shows the vibrancy of green foliage surrounding a great blue heron in Troutdale.

Wonderful great blue heron

Here’s a picture featuring the power of red in an up close portrait of a hibiscus.

Close up of hyacinth flower
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Baby bird among the berries: Macro Monday

This morning I was out taking pictures of the sunrise and noticed this baby bird among the berries. It was lucky to have landed in a place covered with a cushioning layer of western juniper leaves.

I looked up in the tree overhead and spotted the nest. An adult American robin perched nearby, completely motionless. I talked to it and got no response at all. I have read that birds sleep with one eye open but this one didn’t follow that theory.

When we placed the baby bird back in its nest, it squawked and that finally got the attention of its parents. I hope it stays in the nest and fledges with its siblings.

Baby bird among the berries

Robins like junipers because they provide shelter and food. In the fall, they and other thrushes eat as many as 220 berries in a day.

The nest is in this tree. Can you spot it?

Robin nest in juniper tree

Macro Monday

Pink flowers in my yard: Sunday Stills

Today I’m featuring portraits of pink flowers in my Bend, Oregon yard. All of these plants are drought tolerant, once established.

The first photo is an ice plant. This groundcover has cheerful starburst flowers and succulent leaves. The leaves turn a bronze color in winter. We had an escapee take root in another part of our yard and it survived without watering.

Ice plant

The second plant is a Woods’ rose. This native 2-5 foot tall shrub attracts bees, butterflies, and birds. Red rose hips develop once the flowers lose their petals.

Pink flowers of Wood's rose
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Loop-de-loop lodgepole: Thursday Tree Love

Loop-de-loop lodgepole

I saw this loop-de-loop lodgepole pine growing alongside Firehole Lake Drive in Yellowstone National Park. Everyone drove right past it but I had to stop and take its picture. I wondered what stopped it from going straight up. It figured out how to grow around obstacles and keep going in the right direction. A lesson for us all.

Thursday Tree Love