Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Some Good at Last

It seems these days that the world is going to the dogs. Bad news leaps from the pages of our newspapers, the screens of our TVs, the speakers of our radios. High gas prices, the failing dollar, the looming prospect of paying outrageous medical bills that a high-premium health insurance does little to off-set, and all on one family income. It's enough to make some of us want to head for the mountains and live off the land.

What seems to be even more distressing than rotten news, though, is the continued persistence of our fellow man to be, in general, just as rotten in his nature. The people of Myanmar may be suffering needlessly because of a militaristic government that is reluctant to accept international aid. An old man in Austria astounds the world with his despicable, torturous acts. And need I mention those who are filling their pockets as we pay higher gas prices and medical bills?

So, in the midst of it all on this gloomy May morning, I'm happy to run across this little tidbit of news. There is indeed hope for all of us.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Seeking the Sun

I'm discovering the joys of my first Pac NW spring. Trees have been flowering since early March with no signs of stopping. Our cherry blossoms are almost gone, but the apple tree is showing bright pink buds that are getting ready to burst at any moment. The tulip farm down the street is revealing a stunning show of colors (and I must say that it is a far more pleasant experience to jog over a few blocks to see tulips than it was in Iowa to drive 2 hours to Pella to see a marginally-better color display.) The rhodies everywhere are blooming, and I'm planning solo trip up to a nearby botanical garden to see them.

Despite the color show the sky remains gray more often than not, and so last weekend Z and I headed east of the Cascades to bask in the warm sun and try a little desert hiking. I recently returned from Los Angeles and had a wonderful day tromping around Joshua Tree--my first desert experience--and wanted to see how our Eastern Washington landscape compared. We (eventually, after hours of driving, taking wrong turns, and driving our poor car over some terrible gravel roads) found a lovely spot near a quiet bend in the Columbia River. It was warm, dusty, dry, but with enough of a cool breeze to remind us this still wasn't Southern California. The ground isn't red rocky but brown and sandy, and there weren't nearly as many blooming shrubs as I had hoped. But we both agreed it was a lovely afternoon, well-worth the drive over the still-snowy Cascades. We ended the day with a lingering drive towards the sunset and dinner at one of our favorite Washington restaurants, Santiago's in the "Old-Western" town of Yakima.