The Sunflower That Wouldn’t Give Up

So a couple months ago I noticed an interesting development in the little flower box I have on my deck…

sunflower in box

I knew I couldn’t transplant her without hurting her, so I kept her watered and awaited further developments.

And she grew. And grew. and grew.
sunflower in box

And today she shone her intrepid golden glory out on a world of smoke, and filled it with her plucky joy…

Nature voices natural, spiritual law and divine Love, but human belief misinterprets nature. Arctic regions, sunny tropics, giant hills, winged winds, mighty billows, verdant vales, festive flowers, and glorious heavens, – all point to Mind, the spiritual intelligence they reflect. The floral apostles are hieroglyphs of Deity.
– Mary Baker Eddy

 

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Has no one ever told you who you are?!

Has no one ever told you
who you are?!
Jeepers.
You are the child of Truth!
The image and likeness
of Love itself!
You are AWESOME!!!
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
– Kathryn Stockett

“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another… We are made of starstuff”
– Carl Sagan

“You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees or the stars;
you have a right to be here.”
– Max Ehrmann

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 
– A.A. Milne

“God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them… And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
– Genesis 1

“In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry… Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

image and likeness of Love

(Heron skimming Lake Padden in Bellingham, Washington. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Going Home

Rainier Myrtle Creek this one (2)

Really, I wouldn’t exist at all if not for Mount Rainier. That’s where my parents met. My mom was working as a cashier in the gift shop (around 1947) and my dad was working as a climbing guide when they met.

As a youngster a lot of my life was spent on the slopes of Mount Rainier – camping, hiking, scrambling around in the rocks – like my parents, I, too, ended up working there in the summers between my university years.  And, like my parents, I, too climbed to the summit (led by my dad, of course.)

My dad, Dee Molenaar, is well-known for his connection to Mount Rainier – he made a map of it, wrote a book about it (The Challenge of Rainier), painted it, and worked as a guide and park ranger on its slopes.

During the first half of my life, Mount Rainier was always there. When I married and moved to the northern part of Washington, she moved to the background – still a part of my life – but not the focus anymore.

***

My mom passed on six months ago. Last weekend my brothers, sons, husband, and I met at Mount Rainier to spend time together remembering Moz.

It was amazing to see The Mountain again – up close and personal. I started taking photos from the car as we were driving to the mountain – box store outlets and traffic signs in the lower part of the pictures – The Mountain massive above them.

Our friends, Rick and Jana, had offered us the use of their weekend rental home, The Jimmy Beech House,  for our time there.  Jimmy Beech had been a mountain pilot who flew tourists around Mount Rainier – and he and my parents had been good friends. Jimmy flew me in my first-ever airplane flight when I was a little girl. It was very cool to know I was staying on the spot of land where he’d lived.

On Saturday my husband, Scott, and my son, Xander, were the only ones there. We drove through the Paradise parking lot (which was hugely full) and down to Reflection Lakes for a hike up Mount Plummer. I felt like I’d come home. It was so good to be tromping around on the slopes of Rainier again. It was cloudy when we started out – we weren’t sure we were going to be able to see Rainier at all – but when we got near the top of Plummer I heard my son and husband both let out an exclamation. I turned around. A bank of clouds had parted and there was Rainier – right there in our faces. Huge and majestic -playing peek-a-boo with us.

Pictures from the Plummer Hike –

The next day my brothers and older son, Andrew, and our friend, Rick, joined Scott and Xander and me, and we made a Moz Memorial hike up to Alta Vista, above Paradise. Even as she got into her eighties Moz would hike this nob of rock – it was one of her favorite places. When I’d worked at Rainier I’d often hiked around these very hills before and after work. And there was the Paradise Inn – where both Moz and, later, I had sung to the guests on Saturday nights when we’d worked at Paradise.

Photos from Paradise and the Alta Vista hike –

Our last day at Rainier happened to coincide with the eclipse. My husband had prepared for this event by buying a special filter for his camera lens. We hiked a little ways down a trail from Paradise and just past Myrtle Falls, where Scott stationed himself and set up his camera for the eclipse.

At some point I felt Panorama Point calling to me. I told the men-folk I was going to hike a little ways down the trail – just to the top of that ridge there. But when I got to that ridge, I thought I needed to hike to that spot right down there, and once I got to that spot I figured – well, I should do the switchbacks up to the top of Mazama Ridge. This was the first hike I’d done solo on this trip – and there was something kind of freeing and luxurious about being by myself on “my” mountain for a little while.

When I got to the top of Mazama I started heading towards Panorama Point, but I’d only gone maybe a tenth of a mile when I realized – by looking through my eclipse glasses – that the eclipse was going to reach its fullest point soon – and I wanted to get back to the family before they started packing up and wondering where I was.

I felt the eclipse reach its zenith as I was coming down the switchbacks. The light dimmed and there was a kind of eerie quiet for a few minutes. It was very cool. I took out my eclipse glasses and saw that there was just a sliver of sun left. I started skipping down the trail – I felt light-footed and free – like I was a youngster again – while I was coming down. Maybe it was the eclipse. 🙂 Or maybe it was that I’d put on my sandals instead of my hiking shoes that day and my toes weren’t jamming into the fronts of my shoes.

I passed a couple hiking the other direction, Yonsin and Kathy, and asked them if they’d seen the eclipse. They said they didn’t have eclipse glasses – so I loaned them mine. I loved watching the looks on their faces as they were able to see what was going on up there. They thanked me and we shook hands, and they let me take their picture before we parted ways.

As I went past a Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. climbing party I had to stop and turn and ask, “Does anyone here know Dee Molenaar?”

The guide in the front stopped and turned around and asked, “Who did you say?”

“Dee Molenaar.”

“Dee Molenaar is my hero. He’s a legend up here.”

That made me grin. I love this connection I have via Dad to the mountaineers on Rainier. “I’m his daughter,” I said. “He’s 99 now. We were hoping we could bring him down here this trip, but it just didn’t work out this time.”

The guide told me to tell my father hello, and said he hoped to see Dad up here again before too long.

The trip felt complete to me then.

Here are some photos of the trail to Panorama Point –

“Spiritually interpreted, rocks and mountains stand for solid and grand ideas.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
– Psalms 121

Pep Talk

Pep talk to self: Don’t be discouraged. Think of all the kindnesses you’ve witnessed today, remember all the good people you’ve met, and all the beauty you’ve seen. There were flowers and a fairy house; a UW cap and a letter for Dad; a former student at the espresso stand, and two very cool baristas full of smiles and sass; Dad’s old friends who became your new friends; a bike ride in sunshine; Mary, the post lady loaning you her reading glasses without even being asked; a kitty cat weaving between your ankles; 10 cents off of your gas; Xander’s CD playing in the car; an “I love you” from your 99 year-old father; and an “I love you” from your husband of 33 years; and now stars sparkling above you, and the smell of summer coming through your office window. It has been a really wonderful day.

sweet peas this one

Photo of sweet peas by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

In Celebration of Mother Earth

“Nature voices natural, spiritual law and divine Love,  but human belief misinterprets nature. Arctic regions, sunny tropics, giant hills, winged winds,  mighty billows, verdant vales, festive flowers,  and glorious heavens, – all point to Mind, the spiritual intelligence they reflect. The floral apostles are hieroglyphs of Deity. Suns and planets teach grand lessons.  The stars make night beautiful, and the leaflet turns naturally towards the light.” – Mary Baker Eddy

Presence is needed to become aware of the beauty, the majesty, the sacredness of nature…You have to put down for a moment your personal baggage of problems, of past and future, as well as your knowledge; otherwise, you will see but not see, hear but not hear.  Your total presence is required.”
– 
from The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
– Isaiah 55: 12

(Photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

That One’s Mine

I stopped by Fred Meyer’s to pick up a copy of Mother Earth News for Dad – I wanted to show him my photo in there. I went back to the magazine racks and a woman was stocking them. I asked her if Fred Meyer carries Mother Earth News and she said yes – they sold those right at the check-stands. I told her – because I’m so incredibly humble and self-effacing and stuff – that my photo was in there. And she grinned, all excited, and told me she’d take me right to the magazine. So she walked with me to the front of the store and showed me where Mother Earth News was and I showed her my photo (in the very back). She recognized the area where I took the picture and we talked about Bow and Skagit County, trumpeter swans and snow geese, and just had a lovely chat. I love meeting my neighbors. 

And if you find an April/May 2017 issue of Mother Earth News you will see a picture of a red barn and Mount Baker and trumpeter swans on, like, the last page – and yup, that one’s mine. 🙂