Monday, January 28, 2013

Highway 26, a Shoe Tree & Voyage

Shoe Tree
(Click on Image to Enlarge)
Highway 26 is a two lane road curving and twisting through mountain ranges in Eastern Oregon.  On this particular route, after traveling  through the Ochoco National Forest, you can spot some unusual scenic "beauty".  These photos show  the artistry of  human imagination and inclination in a creation called a  Shoe Tree.   This particular one is located about 68 miles east from Prineville and if you are heading west, it's approximately 17 miles from Dayville.  Shoe trees are a rare sight but they are "planted" here and there in Oregon and in other parts of the country.  We are fortunate enough to have one such tree, due to human ingenuity, in our own back yard of Eastern Oregon on the side of the road on  Highway 26.  All kinds of shoes and boots hang down like clusters of leaves wherever a branch can bear such weight.  Who puts them there and how they are arranged onto the tree is a mystery.  However, it attests to a memorial of sorts to those folks who hang their shoes as a bit of whimsy.  Studying the shoe tree, a deeper thought comes to mind... all these shoes belonged to feet that walked out daily living before being retired to the shoe tree.  Individual stories are attached to the tree in the form of shoes which makes the inanimate become animate, becoming a "story tree" as well.  If those shoes could only talk, what stories they would tell!

About 10 miles from the shoe tree (heading East towards Dayville) is a turnoff which allows you to pull over and enjoy the surrounding view.  I call this shot "Gateway to Grant County", for between the two cliffs, you can see a partial scenic view of mountains and hills which belongs to Grant County.  The county line begins where these cliffs meet at the bottom of  the valley on Highway 26.   For those of you who have not visited this part of the country,  I will display photos on this blog from time to time, to show the varied and ruggedly beautiful country which exists in this high desert region.

"Gateway  to Grant County"
The world is rich in scenic splendor.  For those who have been able to travel, it is a blessing to see God's creativity in such diversity.   Photography through various forms of media is a way to bring the world into our lives so we can travel to these places from the comfort of our homes. 

The below YouTube video, beautifully presented by Eva Necka, expresses that very thought through wonderful pictures and song by Gregorian, called “Voyage Voyage”.  In case you haven't heard their music, they are a German band which performs Gregorian chant-inspired versions of modern pop and rock songs in both vocal and instrumental harmony.   The lyrics are in French, but you can catch the idea through viewing the amazing scenes that were photographed in different parts of the world.  God’s beautiful creation is everywhere in color and in form and also in music.   The video can be put in full screen if you want to view the full effect of these spectacular scenes.  
You can also view at:

I think of the inward voyage or journey we all take as we live as sojourners on planet earth.   Spiritually speaking, the journey takes us many places, with twists and turns as on a mountain road.  We cross rivers and valleys, high and low places.  We experience joy and delight and also despair and division.  We feel love and we feel pain.  The Father of Lights is with us throughout our journey and if we train our spiritual ear and listen close in heart, we can sense His encouraging Presence, giving a new surge of hope and strength to continue on as His children of Light.

Monday, January 21, 2013


The last several posts have been on "Pieces of Heaven" and "Bit of Magic" along with encouragement to find or look for the heaven and magic in your every day world.  Sometimes it feels like a set of  binoculars is needed to find that magic depending on the circumstance of  the day.  A perfect illustration is the photo below for a little humor.   I hope that binoculars weren't needed to find some magic this past week.... rather, that it was right in front of you in delightful discovery to lift up your day.

....lookin for the magic!
I became aware of how hands speak in pictures that were spontaneous and not posed.  Hands are expressive!  Hands can tell a story within a photograph when they become the focus.  In particular, children and their hands lead us to enjoy a fresh new world where heaven and magic are found in everyday surroundings.  Children find it quicker than we adults since they have not yet become jaded with the imperfections existing within the framework of life.  A child's hands are innocent, true and trusting and they are intrigued with the simple, which exists around them.  A weed, a flower, an animal, even dirt is a fascination.  The following slide show is meant to take you to that place of delight with the hands of a child and the hands of those in his family who love, nurture and protect.  It is entitled "Handprints in the Heart".  You can also view at:

The following poem helps to tell the story o the above photo slide.  Tiny hands that explore in the wonder of discovery become grown-up hands that explore in the wonder of personal destiny

Tiny Handprints
Author Unknown
Tiny handprints grow so fast
Their awkward groping soon will clasp
A ball, a book, a sweetheart’s hand
A diploma, briefcase, a wedding band

Tiny handprints grow so strong
It doesn’t take them very long
To snap a shirt, to paint, to draw
To work hard, to drive a car

Tiny handprints grow to be
A person that is quite unique
A wonderful mix of so many things
With his own feelings, thoughts and dreams

Tiny handprints grow to rely
On his family to bring him up just right
His parents pray that when he’s grown
He’ll say their job has been well done

Tiny handprints are ours to love
The sweetest gift from God above
A miracle that never is surpassed
How sad they grow up way to fast.

Until next Monday,  I close this post with a stanza from "Moon Music" by Lanny Sherwin, which is the song on the slideshow.  No matter what our age is, we are never too old for a comforting lullaby.
Hush… can you hear it  --   Hush… listen close
There’s a melody drifting down sweet and low
It’s coming from the twilight sky.....  It’s coming from the moon
Playing lovely lullabies just for you

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bit of Magic

This is a great quote by  J.B. Priestley…  “I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”    

What a great attitude to have if we could greet each day anticipating that bit of magic to unfold with the gift of a new day.  It may come with a child's smile; an affirmation of "good job"; a pet who licks your hand in love and acceptance;  a pleasantry passed with family, friend or co-worker.   It can come in the form of a note, email or phone call from a beloved.  It can be a breath of fresh air or in sunshine that breaks through on a cloudy day.  It can be in aging, withered hands reaching out to give an affectionate hug from an elderly.  It can be an encouraging word or a rainbow in the sky.  Many such experiences of bits of magic are but a whisper from God waiting for recognition

Last Monday, I shared with you about  "Pieces of Heaven".  Today's post goes hand in hand with a "Bit of Magic".    If we seek the magic, we will find it whether it be connected with people, places or experiences in our day to day living.   With this in mind, I share a few more photos of winter magic in Eastern Oregon....

Morning Has Broken
Just Horsin'  Around

Wintering Quail
(A reminder to click on the photos to enlarge)

Hoarfrost...   It’s been several years ago that most of the John Day valley experienced a hoarfrost which transformed the winter bleakness of leafless trees and surrounding countryside into a crystal wonderland.  Magic waited behind the fog as it lifted, leaving a covering of delicate white ice crystals as it touched trees, ground, hills and brush.   It was a photographer's delight With my camera in tow, I walked on country back roads and drove on Highway 26 to catch some of this magic before it disappeared in the warming sunshine.  I took so many shots, I decided to use some of them in this post as a photo slide show.  It was difficult for me to pick out my favorites as they all were.  The camera still cannot do justice to the crisp white frost that changed the ordinary to extraordinary.  The Father of Lights was especially creative in transforming His nature into a dazzling display of frosty ice.

The PhotoShow is called "Magic".  The images are more detailed when you watch the slideshow by clicking on the larger view format.  You can also view at this link:

Until next Monday at The Turn-Up Patch... may you experience a bit of magic in your every day. 


Monday, January 7, 2013

Pieces of Heaven

We've just passed through the busy celebrations of  Thanksgiving, Christmas and now, into the new year of 2013.  We all hope for a better tomorrow, not only personally but for our country and our world.  Planet earth is so minute in the grand scale of the universe and yet it teems with hopes and dreams, aspirations and inspirations; paradoxes of  peace and conflict, life and death, triumph and tragedy, laughter and tears, light and dark, according to the condition of mankind.  How finite within infinity.  How simple and how complex.

Simplicity greeted me on the morning of  New Year's Day.  It came in the form of deer stopping by just long enough for me to enjoy them with my camera.   The does posed quite well for me as they savored the sunshine on a cold winter morning and then they left as silently as they came, deftly and gracefully.... all movement and no sound.

"Just Passing Through" 
Click on photos to enlarge
Silence can calm the soul in a noisy world.... yet another paradox.   On rare occasions, I feel privileged to hear the sound of silence.  The other night was one of those times.  I woke up to a full moon streaming through the window and saw  fresh, fallen snow on tree branches and the lights of Mt. Vernon twinkling in the snowy distance. It was the silence which caught my attention.... everything was still; no sounds of critters or wind or traffic.  House noises were stilled and it was as if a blanket of quiet had descended with the new fallen snow.   All activity had ceased and what emerged was this beautiful sound of silence.  It felt holy in its appearance, seemingly absent of time .... "Be still and know that I am God"  is a scripture that comes to life during such reflective occasions.

The awing silence turned into eventual chatter of the day's awakening and along with it, responsibility.  It is time to feed hay for those of us who raise horses, cattle and sheep since pasture grass has disappeared in the ensuing weather that winter brings.  This becomes a daily routine until Spring arrives and the animals begin to graze on green fields and hills.  Below are some recent photos taken of a few of  the quarter horses which are raised on the ranch.  They start out in a lope and end up in a gallop, running for the "hay wagon"  when they see that it is feeding time. You can catch glimpses of the noble horse as well as the beautiful  hills and mountains which surround the John Day Valley in some of these photos.

"The Rush"

Clark & Company (dogs) with the "Hay Wagon"
 Feeding Pasture

Until next Monday, I end this post with a quote from Jules Renard...."On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it".   Today, I share with you, my pieces of heaven produced by the creativity of God in deer, silence, horses and countryside.