Into the Night

 

I see the many creatures that form a conga line around our home. This formadable breath of gesticulating animals exchange greetings and warnings of impending danger or nurturing safety.

Each animal uses the cloak of darkness to hide amongst the brambles, bushes, and trees. Even the color of their coats change with the seasons. The deer have white tails when winter approaches. The bear wakes up from the slumber of winter to prowl in search of the sustenance of spring.

Hunters ready their armament to catch the wary four legged targets marked by cunning and watchfulness as they attempt to escape the danger as prey. Each dance within the boundries of mountains and streams provide another chapter in what has become a ritual resulting in life or death.

The border of our property is a safe zone. Each animal feels the energy of acceptance and protection. Almost smiling, the deer sense the relaxation that comes with tranquility.

This “safety zone” only relates to our viewing.  The natural predators lurk just outside of the visual sight and sound of the common area. This experience is shared by all and yet dominated by those few bear and mountain lions that roam just beyond reach.

The birds are another beautiful compliment to this scene as we view their majestic flying paterns over the pond, trees, and the underbrush. Each movement is complimented by an array of muscial tones.  The range is from an annoying squawk to a tenor riff that creates a melody usually exchanged between two or more of our feathered friends.

As night fast approaches other voices encroach into the mix. The frogs with their baratone voices, the crickets with their rhythmic chirp, and the melodic undertones of other distinguished contributors.

Darkness brings the stars to light in a place with no white noise or light that would take away the magnificence of the moment. Adding to this display through-out the course of the month is the moon.

The full moons glow empowers us to see that which was hidden. Prior to its quarter and half, the full moon reveals a landscape inspiring us to wax poetic about things that seem so clear and yet so distant.

Night is the cloak that hides the movements of those that don’t wish to be seen. In the envelope of darkness our imagination forms a dream in the reality of suspended time. This concept of images not present heightens our five senses to expose that which is not real into the realm of possibility.

To be in a place that evokes thoughtful expressions of appreciation is really the light before the curtain is raised. As the curtain rises it exposes the landscape beneath our feet revealing the last breath of consciousness before we drift into the black veil of night.

 

Leavenworth Washington… A trip to remember.

it really is about the journey

Through-out the course of a lifetime we experience different memories that add to our story. This last weekend Nancy and our friends Marty and Lisa were blessed to go on a very memorable excursion.

Expectations are not always met when planning any trip. Despite the best laid plans of mice and men we sometimes set the bar too high. That is when we are met with a journey that is not what we thought it would be. That was not the case when traveling to Leavenworth Washington.

We picked up Marty and Lisa at the airport in Spokane Washington and then continued on the path to our destination. We never told Marty and Lisa where we were going hoping the surprise would be epic… and it was.

The hotel we stayed at was the Icicle Villiage Resort. The suites were very nice with fireplaces and balconies that faced the Cascade mountains. Bathrooms included jetted jacuzzi tubs and of course the rooms had king size beds. Breakfast was included as was miniature golf, a heated pool, and other amenities you’d expect in a luxury hotel.

The night we arrived we had dinner at the hotel restaurant. I’d been driving for a few hours and welcomed the ease of traveling downstairs to the meal. The meal was average (probably should have gone into town), not bad, just nothing spectacular.

The next day everything aligned with the stars as we were again on a secret mission to surprise our friends. We first had a reservation at the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm.

This Reindeer Farm experience was an unparalleled interactive bucket list adventure that included education, fun facts, and a delightful feeding of the reindeer. The gentle giants would come up to us in anticipation of their feeding. All guests would hold willow branches over their heads while traversing around the pen. In addition to the willow branches which the reindeer would suck into their mouths we were given a small feed cup that the reindeer devoured in seconds.

There were chickens to feed, pigs to view, huge turkeys parading around and of course the beautiful gentle giant reindeer. I have never felt more connected to nature than that day at the Reindeer Farm. This is a must see as it is the only Reindeer Farm in the United States that allows you to feed the animals inside the pen they live in.

Next up we went to the Leavenworth Adventure Park, the first Alpine Coaster in Washington State. We had our own individual coasters with covered windshields to protect us from the rain. The ride reached speeds of 27 miles per hour as we zipped through the beautiful mountain landscape as exhilerating as it was fun. To feel like a kid again is certainly worth the price of admission.

Then we went to the bavarian village downtown where there were retail shops an art show, and restaurants. We had lunch and then went back to the hotel… because it was nap time for Bonzo. Well, the next part of the trip was also completly unexpected as I had booked this restaurant in March.

Not knowing exactly what to expect, as most restaurants have creative menus but can’t execute the dishes. The restaurant I chose was called Larch Handcrafted Pasta and Cocktails. This restaurant was in a league of its own.

The chef, Ben Herreid is a culinary artist that deserves James Beard consideration. The hostess/manager was delightful (always a good way to start.) We were ushered into the bar/dining room and proceeded to be blown away by the food and surprised by the excellent service.

We had the following dishes:

Appetizers:

Arincini which were croquettes of saffron coriander risotto filled with gruyere cheese with a Sicilian sauce of pomodoro, capers, pinenuts and olives.

Roasted Local Mushrooms with a wildflower honey, thyme cream, and aged balsamic sauce.

Roasted Cauliflower with an aged balsamic and bleu cheese aioli.

Entrees included 1. Campanelle with a boscaiola sauce, smoked ham, wild mushrooms, crispy shallots and pecorino romano. 2. Mushroom Ravioli which was a ragu filled ravioli with a marsala cream, sauteed mushrooms in a balsamic reduction. 3. Squid ink Tagliatelle with manila clams, white wine citrus and herb brodo. 4. Home made pasta with fresh vegetables, sun dried tomatoes, and pecorino romano cheese.

We finished with desert which consisted of a Tiramisu and an Affogata…delicious!

Truly a memorable journey into the Cascade Mountains to a town so many have told me about. Now I know why!

 

The Silence between the Notes

 

a place that lives in your heart

The pause before the most important events in our lives reflect the purest sense of living in the present. The silence begins with a beautiful sigh that comes from deep within. It is almost primal in its source but so melodic that it appears like a Johnny Hartman siren song.

The silence between the notes gives more credence to its content.  Accentuating the tonality of the verse while espousing the significance of its craft underscores the virtuosity of the author or composer. Within this context we can imagine places, times, events, and people that have shaped our lives and helped create our destiny.

Every composer uses this silence between a thought as a slight pause represented by the counting of beats in a measure with no notes.  The  comma, period, or new paragraph as authored by a writer usually highlights an important transition in the poem, story, or any other type of composition. This silence or pause becomes as important to the reader or musician as the note or the word.

In a symphony it is not unusual to count out measures when you are not playing, until the entrance of your instrument. This musical bridge brings a new layer of tonality enriching  the other instruments and adding depth to the score. Seeing string bows at the ready to enter the composition is like watching the child wait for the rope to reach a certain angle upon a certain beat to jump into the fray. Then they are as one as the movement becomes a beautiful symbionic orchestration.

I walk in the forest from time to time listening for the birds to begin their calls. Other animals join in or listen enraptured by their countenance which gives a clue as to their disposition. Each measure of silence inbetween the calls represents a quiet refrain from voice as predators stalk their prey.

Seasons determine the type of calls in the wild. Each animal listens to the silence (whatever season it is) between the notes, to determine location and intent. In March and April the frogs are in full voice (mainly at night) while the Tom turkeys during mating season can be heard calling the hens to their lair.

As in all mating rituals fights break out to determine the victor that will bed the female of the species. Colorful and focused, the fights can last many minutes before the victor is declared. Musical and poetic pieces can be a direct result of both the visual and auditory responses as witnessed in nature. Attempting to duplicate the majesty of the audio and visual in nature has been a lifelong endeavor for countless authors and musicians.

Tribes through-out history have an almost telepathic connection with nature. This begins with listening to the silence between the notes to understand the clear and present danger, or the cry for help when an animal is wounded. Each volume or tone can be attributed to a particular animal as they communicate with each other. Learning these communication signs in nature can sometimes determine life or death.

As with authors and composers even artists feel the blank canvas, raw piece of wood or stone, can bring attention to the colors and theme of the painting, drawing, or sculpture. Knowing how to use that which you leave to the imagination or that which you leave untouched is as important to the piece as the rest of the represented theme.

The silence between the notes therefore is captivating. Silence in conversation improves your understanding of the subject without interjecting. Learning about the calls in nature, the tone of a voice, or the rapture of a jazz riff heightens your understanding of connection.  The silence around you in-between the notes, connects you with the most important aspect of humanity which is the observation of others to further understand yourself.