It’s What I Do…

While visiting my friend here in Washington, we talk quite a lot. She has a fine mind and a very high emotional quotient, at least in my opinion. During one of our conversations, she challenged me when I was talking about how I offer emotional support and encouragement. “You say that with such pride and arrogance, ‘It’s what I do.’”.

This caused me to pause and reflect for a few moments. Then I revisited the comment early this morning.

As I examine myself in this regard, I don’t have a sense of arrogance about the statement “It’s what I do.” It’s more an observation, similar to any statement of fact. I might as well say “I am a man,” or “I am human.”

It isn’t about pride at all, but she was right when she said “You do that to make yourself feel better.” That poked a bit.

I wondered why I bristled at the statement. Perhaps it is not OK for me to offer support if the motive is selfish — I do it to make myself feel better.

Furthermore, I wonder if it is arrogant for me to interfere with another’s suffering. Is that state something they need for their personal growth? I’m reminded of an aphorism I read about suffering well, in recognition that we all suffer and that suffering is a primary path for growth. If, in offering support and encouragement, I interfere with another’s suffering am I short-circuiting their path to growth and stymying God’s will for them?

That would not be what I want at all. If “It’s what I do” is interfering with the other person’s growth and I am doing it for the selfish reason of feeling better about myself, then that can’t be good at all.

Therefore, I think I need to reflect on this idea a bit more. It’s OK, I think, to be sensitive to other’s suffering, to be kind and gentle in one’s dealings with others. But to interfere, well, that might not be a good thing. Perhaps it’s better to keep to myself, to offer prayers (without even saying so), to mind my own business and take care of my own affairs.

Sometimes I think I talk too much and say too little. That is another rumination, though, and one I think I’ll save for later. This bit is enough for today.

Running with the Pack

The three dogs I run with — Ki, Shep, and Bella in the background.
The three dogs I run with — Ki, Shep, and Bella in the background.
The last week or so I have had the opportunity to meet with the Girl’s trainer and her dogs for a noon walk. There’s a trail near here where we can get a short walk during the time she has available. So, we do.

Once on the trail, the dogs can run a bit off-lead. Of course, the Girl has her e-collar on, but that’s more for insurance than anything else. Sometimes the three dogs, Ki, Bella, and Shepherd, pack up and start running together. In my joy, I get in the middle of them and we run together, down the path, laughing and playing.

I love to catch the Girl when she’s sniffy and grab-ass. She always ducks her butt and runs off. Bella chuffs at me and we laugh and run. Shepherd is still learning how to be with his humans. He’ll get there under the able skills of the trainer.

This trainer is the best I’ve seen. She understands dog body language (and probably human too) better than any I’ve seen. She’s on it if she sees a problem developing. I’ve watched her demonstrate to handlers just what the dogs are saying. It can be hilarious to watch her get into someone’s personal space to demonstrate her point. That makes me laugh, in part because I’ve experienced it and it’s a powerful demonstration.

The time is coming when I have to leave here and head for Carson City. It’s time to go take care of some business there and see folks I need to see. I’m really going to miss this place and the people I’ve met here. I’m really going to miss running with the pack.

Mount Vernon, Washington

View of Big Lake from the overlook behind my friend's house.
View of Big Lake from the overlook behind my friend’s house.

I arrived in Mount Vernon, Washington two weeks ago. It’s difficult to accept it has been that long. It was last June that I last visited here, partly to see this part of the country and partly to visit my dog-trainer friend. This time I really wanted to see my friend and experience the northwest during winter. But my friend was the real key to this trip.

For the first few days I stayed out at her place. What a wonderful house where she rooms. It’s a design I might have created, an open floorplan with post and beam construction, mostly hidden. The subdivision is a bit remote and very quiet. There’s a really nice path to hike up to the top of one of the local hills. The overlook is of Big Lake, which is beautiful from the summit. The hike up and back is really great and one I loved.

But, there was no Internet connection and no mobile telephone service (just out of range). So, after a few days, it had to drive into town to get coffee and Internet service. Most of that time was spent dealing with necessary tasks, especially catching up on email. So, I decided to move to town, get a hotel room, and get some work done.

The day before my arrival was the third anniversary of Wife’s death. That weighed on me a bit, but not as much as in previous years and not in the same way. I still miss Wife. I expect I always will. She was a significant part of my life and had much to do with my development as a person and as a man. Her impact on my life and those lives she touched will always be there and always be remembered. That her touch is gone is sad, especially for those of us so close to her.

But it is what it is. She’s gone now. I don’t like it much, but then nobody asked me. Not only was it impossible to keep her, but had I been offered the chance to keep her but without her being healed, I would have declined. It would not have been fair to her to require her to continue suffering the way she did at the end.

Enough of all that! I miss Wife. That’s all there is to it. But I have no choice but to live and move forward as that is the only way I know to honor her life, her living of it, and she’d kick my ass if I stayed static.

Here I am in Mount Vernon, Washington. I’m getting to know this place and I like it. I like that it is not so cold as it was in Texas or Carson City. Yes, it’s plenty wet, but not the heavy rainfalls that I’m accustomed to when it rains in other places. It can rain like that here, but it doesn’t most of the time.

Maybe I’ll go back and backfill some days with images made. If I don’t, I’ll never catch up. I have so many new images since my travels began.

Maybe I’ll elect to stay in Mount Vernon for a while. I like it here. I like the mountains to the east. I like the ocean to the west. There is much history here as well. It could be fun to stay and explore. I might even find some work.

Driftwood Texture

While walking Martha's Beach, I came across some driftwood with just the right light and texture.
While walking Martha’s Beach, I came across some driftwood with just the right light and texture.

While the Girl played along the beach, searching the driftwood for critters (see it, kill it — the terrier way), I wandered about enjoying the afternoon sunlight and making a few images. This bit of driftwood was just right to catch some of the afternoon light, bringing out its texture.

Larrabee Woodlot

I love the interplay of light, shadow, and texture in this capture from Larrabee State Park.
I love the interplay of light, shadow, and texture in this capture from Larrabee State Park.

Just as we stepped onto the trail off Chuckanut Road, I noticed this scene. The interplay of light, shadow, texture, and color caught my eye.

Chuckanut Road

Chuckanut Road at the Larrabee State Park entrance.
Chuckanut Road at the Larrabee State Park entrance.

After parking and dismounting near the entrance to Larrabee State Park, I noticed the play of light and shadow on the road. That made me pause, get out my iPhone (which seems to be my camera of choice for grab shots), and make a capture.

What a beautiful place, and wonderful hike, and I spent time with fine company. It was a good day.

Benchmark

While on the trail at Larrabee State Park, I came across this benchmark.
While on the trail at Larrabee State Park, I came across this benchmark.

On the hike at Larrabee State Park, I came across this Benchmark. I have a long-standing fascination with benchmarks, having used them many times to establish vertical control for my projects. To find one by happenstance on the beach was just fun.

Walker Valley, Washington

This view is not far from Big Lake, where I was staying in January. The sun came out one morning on my way into town and I had to stop for this capture. I'm not positive, but I believe this is called "Walker Valley."
This view is not far from Big Lake, where I was staying in January. The sun came out one morning on my way into town and I had to stop for this capture. I’m not positive, but I believe this is called “Walker Valley.”

One morning in late January, the Girl and I were headed for town to get some work done at Wood’s Coffee. The sun was out that morning, and the light was beautiful. So we stopped at an overlook to make this capture and marvel at the color and vista.

Foggy Big Lake

One morning it was rainy and foggy on our daily hike to the Big Lake overlook. What a beautiful, moody scene.
One morning it was rainy and foggy on our daily hike to the Big Lake overlook. What a beautiful, moody scene.

On this morning, it was cold, foggy, and rainy. The dogs and I hiked up to the Big Lake overlook to this scene. We (or I) paused a few minutes to take it in and make a capture.