Tuesday, October 7, 2008


The morning sun passes by as I sit in an Internet Cafe in the Okanogan. A light behing the clouds leaves me with lingering thoughts of a friend who has passed away this weekend. Reading now two days since, my heart can only go out to her Husband, Son and Mother who have been by her side this long six months since she first went to the Hospital. But strangly I feel serene knowing that Elise's spirit is following it's next journey, and her body now rest from the pains it has gone through this summer.

Elise was a special soul, one that you only meet once or twice in a lifetime. Her smile seemed always to be fresh and warm, and like the Aries she was, youth seems to surround her like an aura, even in the hardest of times. She loved life at it's core, and seemed to be on a mission to help other people feel the same way. Even on a hike we took last year in the Snoqualmie Rainforest, following her 3 year old son, that had already found her love of nature with his excitement over pointing out the different types of ferns, and flowers. Her Husband is a man that shared her strenght in his love for her and her child. Watching them together at their wedding, the birth of Jasper and day to day life. His strenght over the last few months has been and inspiring display of true love. And even in her illness, her choice to travel out to the National Parks so as to spend the last time with her family with good memories is something that brings a smile to my heart.

I remember siting with Elise and talking about life and death along time ago. As I watch the first light on the Mountain side, I remember that she felt like a young soul, that had many more lives yet to live and to touch others. I can feel now, that her spirit is passing between worlds, and will come again. For such a strong spirit cannot be left to linger to long away, it has to much love to share. Her greatest memorial is left in the memories and thoughts that she left all of us with. For those who were blessed to meet her, she will always remain. Such a passing can only leave one with thoughts of thier own life, and a lesson to be learned. A calm realization that there is only the day that we live, the joy that we find in the world we pass through and the company we keep, and the promise to appricate each day before us, as we have those that pass...

Goodbye my friend,

I will miss you...


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Harvest -- Skies Dawn Upon Endless Rows

Harvest -- Skies Dawn Upon Endless Rows

Mornings light catches the tops of row upon row of Apple Trees. Gifted by the morning hour I stand atop my ladder and catch this magnificant view. The glowing hues of pink seem to catch the tilted leaves stretching out to the horizon. As I look down towards the apples in my hand they seem to glow as well. The hour is early and the world is still sleeps as I complete my first bin of Golden Delicious. The sounds seem muffled by the mists in the Valley settling down towards the lakeshore. A roster determined to make himself know, as a morning jet passes over head, crows even harder. About an hour later the distant hum of people bussling to get to work throughout the Okanogan, destined to spend there days in offices and shops. But as the rumble of another bag in the bin matches the distant accented voices, I feel that I am in right place this morning.

A man feels rooted by being part of a harvest. As the day goes by the world seems to change by the light that filters through the Orachard. A Cresent Moon trails ahead of the Sun that rides like Helio's chariot slowly making it's way from horizon to horizon. To watch them both chase each other through the day, you almost gain aglimps of the Cosmos that is hidden behind a canvass of blue. Slivers of wonder reach into the hearts of dreamers as the gaze a skyward throughout their day. Eachtime to be reminded constantly of the cyclic nature of change. I'm sure that this is how the Celts felt as they reached the harvest. Seasons, kept watch by standing stones among the fields and groves of the Old World, tell of a closer tie to the land. One in which the most hopes rested in what could be yielded in these Fall months. That pulse can now still can be felt by those walk the Orchards. A pulse of seasons that I still am connected to after the Trail.

The Avians keep an eyeful watch as we work through the day. As all summer they peer down from lofty hights or in amoung the trees. Hawks, Raven, magpies, and an occasional eagle circle about with the midday thermals. Scanning of any creature that the sudden activity flushes out. They circle about eachother ina great dance, falcons and ravens making their moves through the others flight path. I think of the grand view they gain upon the gentle support of the airs fingers. To look out over the valley, lake amd mountain ridgeline. For me a ladder at treetop level is a view impresive enough to yern for more high mountain days.

The day follows it's course and soon the sun begins to fall near the western horizon. Light casts long the fields as everything begins to whind to a close. Sore musles tell me the day is done, and I finish off what is left of my sixth bin. That last layer falls from the picking bag, as a V of migrant birds seek the southern course. For even though the 80 F days bring their warmth, the chill of the night reminds us all of wintern the is on the horizon. For myself the fall itself holds much, andeven though it began in the mountains to see it paint the Orchards of the Okanogan will be quite a sight.

-- Ridgewalker

From the backcountry mile