A Personal Garden Refuge

It takes many years to really get to know a garden so that you are in each other’s bones. I encouraged the moss that already liked to grow here. I added stepping stones and a tea hut. I watched for the new maple leaves, and took their portraits in the fall. Children jumped on the stepping stones. Raccoons drank from the water basin. The garden and I bless each other with mutual nurturance even as we continually change. Peace gathered and peace extended.

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Noticing Stones

It is the rare child who does not like stones. Some of us never stop picking them up. It is not just the stones but the process – the adventures involved in finding them and the friendships.

These evocative examples lined up above my monitor speak of the larger natural world, a quality that is much appreciated by the Asian scholar.

Viewing stones on shelf

A close looks provides access to amazing colors, details and dreams:

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When Once Is Enough

When I first came across a Morrisonite pendant, I could find very little written about the rare jasper, so I decided to write an article myself. Now photos and articles about the jasper and the site where it was mined are available online.

I bought a digital camera with super-macro capability and sought out opportunities to take photos of its incredibly diverse patterns and colors. Making friends with miners, lapidary artists and rock shop owners in the course of writing that article led to an invitation to visit the mine site, itself.

Of the seven of us on that adventure, two had mined the jasper, three had websites selling it, and one was the grandson of a rock shop owner who had known the discoverer of this spectacular stone. We took two four-wheel drive vehicles so as to have a back-up just in case. It would not do to get stuck in the desert highlands in the middle of nowhere in eastern Oregon.

On the way to the steep canyon side, we passed farms, fruit orchards, wild flowers in clumps, sage brush (nice fragrance), cattle, horses, antelope, a coyote, a hawk flying with a snake in its claws, jack rabbits, and grouse. Despite the relative dryness, the area is very fertile because of ample volcanic ash.

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The final dirt track was intentionally left rough to encourage folks to stay out. We drove very slowly jouncing over large rocks and ruts. Beyond the second switch back on the final approach, it was no longer possible to drive, so we got out and made our way down the steep track contending with loose pebbles and sand.

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While the others hiked down the steep canyon wall to the mine site, I stayed in the top area with a friend who had a bad shoulder. The weather was perfect. It was a very dreamy location to spend an afternoon largely in silence, exploring two abandoned miners’ cabins, watching the light shift on the canyon formations and looking to see if there might still be some Morrisonite left in situ that I could photograph (there was).

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I only visited the mine site that one time. However, looking at the jasper (raw unpolished specimen below), and my special relationships with those who share my passion for Morrisonite became treasured refuges.

Cropped science fiction rough

As for the mine site itself, sometimes being just once in a magical place can provide nurturance for an entire lifetime.

On the trail at M Mine 62010 This last photo by Linda Stephenson is a favorite of mine.

Fall Leaves

One form of radiant refuge for me is taking out my camera and looking for what I can find among the gems and jewels that are Fall leaves. I find colors and patterns and infinite variations on imperfection that is completely perfect in the moment.

Like us, each leaf is unique, and like us, these leaves are always changing. I have learned to capture something I like when I see it, as the next day it can be totally different in color and feeling. Doing this kind of photography has taught me to see pattern and design through new eyes. Just looking at a simple leaf, even one that has dried up, brings me so much joy.

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