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Agradecido


Coastal Range. Kitimat-Stikine. British Columbia.

While I usually write and photograph the grand, the exquisite, and the marvelous here in and around Washington State, there are so many places of beauty (“ómorfi in Greece”) around the world. I feel blessed to have visited many of those, with expectations for more down the road. So today, I would like to explore “thankful” and “the good life” in different languages and ways.


Pacific Northwest, in mid-summer, is always nearly perfect after the Fourth of July weekend. So far this year, temperatures in the mid to upper seventies, sunshine and just enough rain to keep things green and wonderful. The first summer I can remember when I wore long pants and shoes only twice -- otherwise shorts and flip-flops. The good life!

Wild Mountain Rose. Washington State.

Agradecido (thankful in Spanish) for the weather, for where I live, having family close by, and for the opportunities to enjoy nature here and further away. Grato (Portuguese and Italian) for flowing rivers, high mountain passes, diverse wildlife and for the awesome landscapes of the west and northwest.

Ring-necked Pheasant. Skagit Flats, Washington State.

Vinaka means thank you in Fijian and Bula Vinaka translates as the “good life”. Pura Vida for Ticos in Costa Rica signifies “pure life,” but it really means stunning beauty, friendly people, and a laidback lifestyle – truly a way of life! So Vinaka for my ability to experience and document all these wonderful places, including Fiji, Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, and Portugal in past years.

Welcome to the World! South Cariboo Region, British Columbia.

Bula Vinaka and Pura Vida to each of you. A wish that each of you enjoy life every day! I hope that my images and words will help you anticipate that good life (different for everyone) and get you restless and your heart racing for that next journey, adventure, and experience (Resfeber in Swedish).

“From the moment I rise, I got blue skies, chasing down those storm clouds in my way.”

Emerald Reflection! Sweden Lake, British Columbia.

The current perfect weather here at home is especially appreciated given weather conditions elsewhere in the world. As I write this, there are more than 390 fires burning in British Columbia (BC), and the 2023 fire season there is already the most destructive ever recorded. An evacuation order and alert for the BC town of Osoyoos has just lifted after the Eagle Bluff Fire threatened the town’s roughly five thousand residents. Friends looking to paddle Idaho’s Main Salmon are also affected by the Elkhorn fire in Payette National Forest (23,000 acres as of August 1). It is 107 degrees in Phoenix, 106 in Dallas, and 134 in Death Valley (the hottest temperature in the world today). Greece, eastern Spain, and southern Italy hit 113 degrees earlier this week.

Roadside Encounter! Babine Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia.

So, a good time to stay home or come visit friends and family in the Northwest. Low 80’s in Vancouver, high 60’s in Anchorage and Fairbanks, and about the same for summer in the far Northwest Territories (still on my “go-to” list). We could use more precipitation as we are currently experiencing a drought, an old Irish-English word for the perfect weather for drying clothes (well-named or what?). Water, and tons of it, is the beauty and source of the Pacific Northwest’s brilliant and translucent mosses and wetlands, whitewater rivers and awesome snowpack. It is also what keeps western Washington relatively fire and smoke free.

Morning Swim! Nechako River, British Columbia.

Anyone who hikes in wilderness, or kayaks and canoes in open water, knows that climate and weather can change in a minute. But I am hoping (knock on wood!) that nothing dramatic happens here over the next months (or years). As my then eleven-year-old daughter reminded me when we first moved to Bellingham, this is the land of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, lahars (rolling slurries of rock and water), and tsunamis. Komo Kulshan (Mt. Baker) needs to just sit there, enjoy being a beautiful backdrop for the Salish Sea and a destination for hikers and climbers seeking its summit. The Cascadia subduction zone off the coast of Northern California, Oregon, and Washington just needs to continue to chill. And of course, we need our average annual forty-two inches of rain to keep those fires at bay!

Common Merganser. Fulton River, British Columbia.

Again, agradecido for our current, local “armogan” weather (Mediterranean for fine weather, perfect for traveling or starting a journey). Here is to continuing and sharing a wonderful summer season of Sonder where we understand that “…each random person we meet is living a life as vivid and complex as our own” – and to an approaching, maybe too-soon Austice, that “wistful omen of the first sign of autumn.” (see endnote)

Picture Lake. Mt. Shuksan, Washington State.

Endnotes:

· Both “Sonder” and “Austice” are from the New York Times bestselling book The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig. Described as a daily dose of beauty, and a collection of made-up words that perfectly describe some of the most profound feelings. “Sonder: the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background.” “Austice: a wistful omen of the first sign of autumn—a subtle coolness in the shadows, a rustling of dead leaves abandoned on the sidewalk, or a long skein of geese sweeping over your head like the second hand of a clock.”

· Managed Retreat? Please, Not Yet. Climate impacts on Indigenous Fijian communities.

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