The Year in Review – Just a Glimpse and a Thought (or two)

A year of good hiking, beautiful terrain, horrific weather, and challenging gardening is coming to a close. Here is just a glimpse of what 2022 offered, and a few thoughts on perspective.

Agave americana, Pt. Defiance Park, Tacoma, Wa.
Stick bug on the Umtanum Canyon Trail, Yakima Canyon
Grasshopper on the Umtanum Trail
Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, Washington
Nisqually Wildlife Refuge
Willow, Green Lake, Seattle
One of the lovelier canopies of a walking route. Cornus florida, Dogwood
November and early December bring Chum salmon up Piper’s Creek (Carkeek Park, Seattle) from Puget Sound.
More chum.
A bit of autumn beauty. In my opinion, few plants are more beautiful than grasses (but I say that about so many plants!).
Papaver orientale, my garden
My rare Aloe polyphylla has survived another brutal summer, yet the plant hangs on and is growing. Older leaves remain on the plant for years, eventually falling off on their own.
The view from my living room window. Early snow and some container plants wrapped in plastic (below the window) for protection from freezing temps.

A cold spring, heat waves, smoke from wildfires, drought, stagnant air – we’ve given our planet and its inhabitants much to contend with this year. Between bouts of severe depression, panic, and grief, we keep planting, tending, and hoping for positive change. Each plant we tend, each seedling we plant, each patch of soil we nurture and protect must mean something – it must help on some level, right? I choke down fear with each story of catastrophe I read. I swallow a scream of anger at the indifferent callousness of those who can, but refuse to, create change on a global scale. Those companies and individuals who have the means to effect change on a scale far exceeding anything one or a few individuals can, talk a good game but do not follow through. It’s greed – nothing more than greed. But I am encouraged by individuals and small groups who act on their passion to create a cleaner, healthier, more equitable world for all. From those individuals who furtively plant seedlings, who donate time and/or money to conservation groups, who petition their government officials, to those who put themselves in harm’s way to protest the actions of companies damaging this planet – the strong, steady beat of determination and passion will win. At least, that is what I tell myself. A few years ago, there was an outstanding Christian blog I would often read. I knew the blogger to some extent, and we would exchange thoughts and ideas at times. Once, in a moment of deep despair, he told me something that I remember still. He said, “Take heart. He has better things coming.” His comment brought to mind a favorite comment of my Dad’s – “It always gets better.” I’m not Christian, and I’m not sure if I believe in a personal God. But the sincerity, inherent hope, and kindness in both comments has stayed with me. We must continue to work towards a better world – with greater equity and kindness for all creatures on this planet – or we will destroy the greatest gift of all.

The gift of Life.

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