Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rattle Snake Scare

While we were at the cabin a couple weeks ago we went on what my dad calls a 'walk-about.' That basically means we head in a general direction for no other reason than to see what has changed, check on the fence line and get outside. Some firewood needed to be cut up and stacked for the fall hunting seasons so we took the truck and trailer up to a fence and then proceeded to hike up to White Rock so Dad could check out which snag he'd fall and cut up. While up on the look out point we saw a coyote. That got me thinking about the possibility of getting one, but all I had was my dad's .22 rifle. Though my hunting rifle was down at the cabin. Missed that opportunity! But Landon and I headed back down to pick up my gun, use the outhouse and shed our sweaters, as the sun had began warming the ground by that point. On our way back to the draw Dad and Jodi were cutting firewood in, we went around the bluffs and headed up under the tall pines, crunching pine needles under our feet the whole way. It really wasn't for any other reason than to enjoy nature.
As I have stated before, I've been travelling to this property since before I was born, and some things haven't changed. Just like when I was a scrawny little five year old, I still tend to step on top of logs, and then hop back down to the earth when I'm walking through the woods. I was doing just that, when behind me I heard Landon jumping and shuffling around like he had bees in his pants. I turned back around to remind him it wasn't good to act like that with his .22 in his hand, when he exclaimed, "Its a snake!"
Come to find out, the log I had just stepped on and then off of, Landon had started to step over and below his hiking boot he saw a rattle snake coiled. He jumped back, as the snake slithered back under the shade of the log and I turned around to see what was happening. We exchanged startled sentences and decided that even though he couldn't exactly see where the snake was he should try to shoot the thing with his rifle. He did, and after the third shot the snake was blown out the other side of the log, its rattle shot off and a few holes in its body. It was the most terrifying few moments to realize what could have been, had I not hopped off the log, or had the snake been a little more awake that morning. Needless to say, I was a little gun shy of the other logs laying all over the forest floor for the rest of our hike.

The Cabin

Just under two weeks ago Landon and I set out on a road trip that would take us 1676 miles in six days, driving most the length and width of Idaho, as well as across Oregon twice. My good friend from high school was getting married, and as usual, if we're in any kind of proximity to anyone else we know, we try to go visit. Well, we were 'close' (5.5 hours) away from Uncle Terry and Aunt Bev, so we figured, "We might as well go to McCall as well!"
But before we got to Idaho we spent a day in Eastern Oregon with my sister and Dad at the ranch. Its our family's go-to camp spot, as we not only know the land like it's topography is in our blood, but it also holds incredibly rich history for us. Its an incredibly magical place, conjuring up stories and memories at every mountain ridge and brush pile, and we each feel an immense sense of 'home' there. Its as if despite all the turmoil we each personally went through in our growing up years, this place remained. For as many houses and new places we lived in, this place stayed steadfast, always a welcome refuge from the busy life stuff of living in the 'valley.' It is still the same. For me, this trip was extra special, as it was the first time Landon and I had been there together. It just seemed so natural that he would be there with me, but it was also such a surreal experience. If we ever have a family of our own, I pray that the cabin is a place we can retreat to as well. Its just that special.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Remembering That Girl

There are some things that I consider foundational in my life: faith in God, family, and a kind of living that is simple but experienced at a full-tilt, adventurous kind of way. Much of my childhood was spent outside, I had bruises and scrapes on a regular basis, and I was never afraid of dirt. Recently, literally in the past few weeks, opportunities have come to get back to these foundational things... And its been oh. so. sweet.
We spent last weekend on a ranch just outside of Tiller, a small town southeast of Roseburg, and it was literally everything I've grown up loving rolled into one blessed weekend. Short of going fishing and swimming in the river, I could not have wanted to do anything more.
I have absolutely no aversion to sleeping in a tent. We were blessed to have enough gift cards/store credit/cash after our wedding to
purchase the exact tent we had hoped to have off our registry and have had a wonderful time utilizing the thing. It was a midget compared to our friends' tents, however, they all had children to consider as well. We both fit perfectly in the little half dome, and the spot we chose to pitch it couldn't have been better. (This picture only needs one caption: perfection.)
Riding horses became a from-afar obsession of mine at about the age of three, I believe. I watched my fair share of cowgirl movies growing up, traveled to eastern Oregon ranch country with my family every fall, and was always mesmerized by the enormous animals.
I think every little girl at some point wants a pony, well for me, ponies were too small and weak. I wanted a horse. I dreamed of being a barrel racer, of going on cattle drives, of spending hours riding over open country, just me and my horse. Life turned out a little different than my cowgirl-wishing ways, but I still have a deep, foundational love for the animals. (Luck would have it that I am now incredibly allergic to horses, but it definitely doesn't stop me from riding if I can). The Ellis family has numerous horses, a bunch of which they were willing to let us ride over the weekend. In this picture my sister Grace is on Thunder, my mom is on Tarzan, and I am riding Shorty. We went on a trail ride on these horses, along with some other friends, and thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. In fact, my sister kept exclaiming "This is the best day of my life!!" while we were on the ride. Its a significant photo: the first time we've ever all been able to ride together. And it satisfied yet awakened something very deep all at the same time. I miss, yet am glad to have the reason to remember, the little girl who used to drag a rope around behind her as she pretended she was really leading her horse out to pasture, gently and attentively taking care of her friend and charge. Its a deep seated love and this past weekend carried a huge blessing in being able to experience that all over again.
A lot like riding horses, hunting was something I was introduced to very early on in life, and is an elemental part of not only my life but also that of my family. Growing up, October meant deer season and November meant elk season. We would head over to the 'ranch' at least four times a year, and spotting wildlife was always a joyful past time for me and my siblings. I took a hunter's safety course as soon as I was old enough and killed my first deer when I was in eighth grade. Goofy grinned and skinny, I proudly displayed my trophy. (It was a lucky shot and I had no idea how big it was until afterwards). And I've always loved it. Until this year, however, I haven't had the time to take time off from work and/or school to head over for hunting, so target shooting had to play as a substitute. Its not nearly as exhilarating as the real thing, but it sure is a lot of fun. Luckily my husband enjoys it as well, and he lets me shoot his .22 when we go out to shoot.
These elemental parts of me might seem funny to some. Some people may find them offensive. But this is me. Its the grown up version of an adventurous, outdoorsy, "I can do anything you can do" little girl. And I am loving remembering that girl.

Friday, July 8, 2011

On Life and Death

It seems as though the ebb and flow of life around me is sometimes overwhelmingly common. A relatively young patient in a stupor after overdosing juxtaposed with the news of yet another recently married friend finding out she is pregnant. A childhood friend welcoming a baby boy into the world, the story of a one year old child being mauled to death by the families pet dog.
It ebbs and flows, brings joyful congratulations and sorrowful tears. It is not something I have ever been able to 'get used to,' even with the type of work I am in, and the kind of people I hope to help. And so it begs the question: how does it all make sense? And honestly, I think the answer is, it doesn't. It doesn't make sense, logically, that one life would be created as another expires, as one life is cared for with the utmost provision while another is regarded as less than. It just doesn't make sense. And yet hope rises. Hope remains. Hope that one day I'll see the point of it all. Hope that one moment will bring me to a place of understanding. Hope that there is One who sees all of the seemingly chaos and understands the why behind it. That is the only answer that does stick. Hope.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Us, As We Are

I want to remember this. I want to wait on this, and sit with it for a while. Just us, as we are, no pretending, performing or attempting to be who we're not.
We may not be glamourous, we do not have it all together, and we definitely have not 'arrived.' But we are in the process, fully committed to one another and to who God has asked us to be, who He has created us to be, and that is more than enough. Our inadequacies are beautiful as they challenge us to improve, and our strengths are powerful, as they point to One much larger than us. We look funny to some, making decisions that don't equate, but as we work out this life thing, this faith thing, hand-in-hand, we'll see what we've strived for. We'll realize our dreams coming true. That is the very essence of our God. That He would grant us the desires of our hearts, in a way that seems too big for us, in order to make His name big.
And I want to remember this.

July 4th

Certain things have become tradition in my husband and my life. For our birthdays, we do something together. At Christmas, one buys an ornament to signify that year. For July 4th, we go to Nehalem.
Nehalem is where my in-laws live and where Landon spent most of his later school years. Its a small Northern coastal town in Oregon, but it is as unique as anywhere. And when fourth of July nears, Nehalem and it's close neighboring town, Manzanita, transform into bustling hubs of tourist activity. Though I wouldn't consider us tourists, we join the crowds too, and enjoy all the area will offer. Pancake feed, parade, bbq's, family, clamming, beach combing, and much more. It is welcoming, joyful and this past weekend the weather was unbeatable. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
The fireworks beginning, with Nea-Kah-Nie Mountain in the background.
Watching the show together. Thanks to my sister for snapping this picture.