Saturday, June 20, 2015

As Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home!”

(Daughter, Pam, took a surprise photo of us at Northwest Trek. I love the tenderness between us as we chat.)
In spite of the love and the joy of being with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, it’s good to get back to our comfortable ruts and the familiar nest we call home.

Our last big event was a trip through the grandeur of the National Park system designated as Mount Rainier. We drove from wildflower meadows and quaint historical towns into the inclining and winding roadways that led upward.

The snow was long gone; earlier than most years. When we reached the top, the base of Rainier was snow-free and covered with green grass and more wildflowers such as scarlet paintbrush, blue columbine, pink Canterbury bells, and white Queen Ann’s lace.
(Mount Rainier peeking through the trees as we wound up the roadway leading to the top.)
We enjoyed a quick lunch in the Visitor Center, and then traipsed over to the refurbished lodge to check out the furnishings, the gift shop and the spectacular views from a huge wrap-around porch.

Because of my fall earlier, and the miles already walked at the Northwest Trek animal preserve, we decided not to climb the trails to the base of the snow-covered Rainier. The park on all sides of the mountain was covered with hiking trails and bike trails. If you’re an avid hiker as I once was, you’ll love exploring the flora and fauna that covers the hillsides.

(Getting closer!)
(Here we are at the base of the mountain. Normally in June, the green grass is covered in snow.)
(Inside the Lodge at Mount Rainier)
On the way back, we stopped at an iconic restaurant that has served up homemade fare since the 1940s. We enjoyed a quality home-cooked meal, but declined the tempting old-fashioned pies. A small antique gift shop provided eye-candy instead. On this trip I had hoped to purchase some “finds” to sell in my Etsy Shop, but the sizes and prices deterred this plan. Flying instead of driving has its benefits, but leaves you with very little space for extras.

Back to Minnesota for two nights and one day gave us just enough time to see a few people before flying homeward. Upon arrival, a blast of hot humid air reminded us of the summer ahead.

(Great Grandpa with Marcus, his first great grandchild.)
During our vacation, we rarely caught the news and felt relaxed and detached. It was with shock and sadness that we learned about the massacre shooting in the South Carolina church.

What have we become as a society? Have we descended so far that we resemble animals and simply react from our baser instincts? The higher calling is to love others, even our enemies, which the members of that church demonstrated so plainly. May God bless them in their hour of need. May God have mercy on the soul of the perpetrator of evil. If drugs are responsible for his depravity, may others recognize the dangers in following this path. 

If evil can destroy, then only love can heal this nation. Not selfish love that seeks only to enrich and satisfy self, but an unselfish desire to do good to others and to bring only positive actions into the world. If we're going to leave a mark behind us, let it be one that will benefit mankind!