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.

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