Monday, September 16, 2013

Five years of Pacific Northwest Seasons: A Sense of Place

Five years ago today my first blog post appeared here at Pacific Northwest Seasons. That's 222 blog posts (including today) and a lot of everyday adventures here in the Northwest. Can it really be that long ago?

My primary goal is to inspire you all to get out and enjoy this quirky, beautiful, and unique corner of the world, with an eye to protecting its environmental treasures.

But really it's also about cultivating a sense of place, embracing where we inhabit and live. 

I've been inspired by a lovely, lyrical, and quiet book I read years ago called The Island Within by Richard Nelson, about what it means to really claim the place one lives--and to allow onself to be claimed by it. To quote Nelson:

My hope is to acclaim the rewards of exploring the place in which a person lives rather than searching afar, of becoming fully involved in the near-at-hand, of nurturing a deeper and more committed relationship with home, and of protecting the natural community of all who live there.

Those words struck a deep chord within me as I read it far from home, on a beach in Costa Rica. I do love to travel the globe, but that book made me more thoroughly recognize the worth of spending time closer to home as well.

So now that I've lured you in with a glamour shot of Mt. Rainier, I'm sharing a series of photos of a stretch of trail in the woods at Carkeek Park near my home in north Seattle, where I walk regularly. Some are taken on my smartphone, so the image quality varies.

Maybe it's because I was raised in the woods next to a lowland forest, where I roamed for hours as a kid, but I need to get out in the woods regularly.  My walks in Carkeek are as much for spiritual and physiological nourishment as physical exercise.  

 So a year or two ago I started snapping photos near the same spot on the trail, to bear witness to the place as it changed throughout the year.

In the April shot above, notice the delicate bleeding heart flowers in bloom on the bottom right just off the trail.


By May the salmonberries have really leafed out. What a difference a month makes. The fresh spring green and lushness is at its peak of the year from now into June.

By September things are starting to look a bit tired, and a few leaves are starting to turn yellow and drop.

October into November bring down the big-leaf maple leaves, which carpet the trail in hues of gold and brown. This is my favorite time of year.

All I'm missing is a December or January shot with a blanket of snow. But as most of you know, we just don't get regular snow here in the lowlands of western Oregon and Washington.

When I loop out of the forest above Puget Sound on my walks, I have a ritual of always going down to the shoreline and touching the saltwater as it laps the beach in usually gentle waves.

Sometimes I'm lucky and spy a seal swimming offshore, bald eagles or osprey hunting for fish, or great blue herons combing the beach for food.

I could post a zillion shots I've taken on my Carkeek walks, but the point is this:  I come down here to feel a sense of place, a more natural sense of the seasons in the forest and at the adjacent beach near my home, beyond my built-out neighborhood with side-by-side houses.

I hope you, too, embrace and feel connected to the natural world wherever you live, whether it be the Pacific Northwest or not. Do you have a favorite place near your home that draws you back throughout the year?

 Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you enjoy it and maybe even are inspired by it. And I always appreciate when you leave a comment below.

Happy trails from the Pacific Northwest.

Puget Sound sunset, Carkeek Park beach



Anonymous said...

Lovely! Thank you for the continued inspiration!


Dennis said...

Congratulations on your five year anniversary Jill. It takes a lot of commitment to keep up this blog and we are grateful beneficiaries of your efforts! Dennis

Suezy P said...

Thank you for sharing your corner of the world with us so faithfully and continuously Jill. I appreciate the the reference to the book and will be ordering a copy to read and share. It is always interesting to learn where people get their inspiration and motivation. Thank you Jill. Your blog site is a regular place I love to visit. I have learned about new places and things to do in our corner. I can't imagine living anywhere else. The Pacific Northwest is truly magical.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Jill. Very nice idea taking pictures at different times throughout the year. Five years at the blog is pretty impressive. Some people seem to have that "staying power" and some don't..... ;-) Janet

Unknown said...

Congratulations on five years Jill. Thanks for sharing your great photos and comments. Doug

Lindsey said...

LOVE the carkeek pics! What an amazing transition. And I love this blog, keep it coming. Happy Anniversary!

Gayle said...

Hi Jill,
Great milestone with your blog! Five years is a long time to keep it up—and I am just so glad you do. Each new post just makes my day.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations. Your blog is beautiful and I have shared it with a couple of people who have travelled to Washington.

Anonymous said...

Lenticular clouds are interesting.

jill i said...

Thanks Suezy, Dennis, Doug, Lindsey, Gayle, VHI, and Janet! I appreciate your comments and glad you enjoy the blog. Here's to the great Northwest!

Lisa said...

Congratulations on five years Jill! How fun to see the transformation in the Carkeek trail. I'm inspired to try the photo shoot myself. Looking forward to another five years of blog posts, or whatever your medium ends up being!

Lisa Osse said...

Wow! Not just 5 years, but 200+ posts. Nice work! I share your feeling about exploring locally. Lucky for us that locally means the Pacific Northwest!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your blogoversary (is that even a word?)! i love your blog and always enjoy looking at your photos and reading about your adventures. you live in such a beautiful place!

Anonymous said...

Great job Jill. Wish I'd gotten hear sooner.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Jill


Eimi Mitchell said...

This picture brought tears to my eyes. I grew up going to Orcas Island every year as a child with my twin sister. We played literally all day long out on the pebble shores until sunset. She has gone on to heaven a few years ago, but these two little girls remind me of her. This would be awesome as a black & white as well. Thank you for posting this picture <3

Anonymous said...

I love reading your posts, I love being part of your travels, keep it up kiddo, Mary Lou

Suezy P said...

Though I read and commented on this post when you first published it, it was fun to sponge it up again for a refreshing. Then, I said, I can't imagine living anywhere else, but now we live in Madison Alabama -a long way from home. We are exploring our new surrounds with eyes to see the beauty here, without comparison to someplace else.

If you were going to improve the quality of your blog, may I suggest a scratch and sniff feature...for seeing the salt water, is nothing like smelling the fresh salt air, or smelling the decomposing leaves of a fall walk to Carkeek.

Loyal fan from AlaBAM