May 18; Moms and Mountains

May 18. Lots of memories associated with this day, most of mine having to do with mom’s birthday and one birthday in particular when Mount Saint Helens blew her top.

May 18, 1980. It was my moms birthday, and my husband and I were in the old truck with mom and dad driving up in the hills past Trout Lake. We saw the column of Ash, and thought at first that it was a fire, but quickly figured out it wasn’t. We drove up to a place we could see a little bit better and watched for awhile. Then Jerry and I drove back home to La Center, and drove up back roads into the mountains on the south west side. We were sitting on a cliff all night watching it blow and you could feel the ground shake. Red tail hawks and eagles were soaring overhead.

10 days later on May 28, we were up in north eastern Washington seeing ash everywhere. While we were there the mountain blew again, to the south west this time. We couldn’t go home back down I-5, and had to travel through Yakima on the east side of the Cascade mountains back down to the Columbia River gorge and then west along WA-14. When we got to our trailer in La Center, there were several inches of ash piled on the roof.

Mom was fascinated by the mountain blowing in her lifetime, and thought it was a pretty interesting birthday present!

May 18, 2019. This year for Mom’s birthday, she gets another of her children, Roger, joining her in the spirit world. I’m pretty sure she’ll put him to work right away. Roger Black passed on May 16, 2019.

Mom, you are Missed, and Loved forever! I remember you talking about how strange it felt to be almost the last one left of your siblings. Now I understand all too well. You raised us to believe in the afterlife, and family being together forever; gratefulness fills my heart.

Mount St. Helens and me, in recent years. Taken at McClellan Viewpoint in GPNF

This is posting only now because for some reason my mobile app has not been uploading posts like I thought it was.


Julia’s Rainbow

Another young much loved woman has passed away this last week, and my heart is so sad.  Trying to continue forward with photography and life, and stay positive.   Julia Little Brave was my stepdaughter by a former marriage, and although I am estranged from her father I have kept track of his daughter as she married and had children.  I followed from a distance, not wanting to interfere, and kept her in my heart.  This is not about me… this is about an amazing young woman and her family.
Julia had  cancer.  She fought hard, and was in remission for some few years while she returned to college and developed a career in hospital lab work. This in itself was impressive in her large Native American family, where education was often a struggle.   All this while being a great mother, and constantly cheering up others, and praying for others in her Native American Church.  Her positive attitude was amazing.  This last couple years the cancer came back, and though she fought with all she had, this weekend she slipped into that dark night and into the spirit world leaving behind her supportive loving husband Matt and their three beautiful children, along with a heartbroken sister/ best friend and brothers and Father, Mother, and a huge extended clan.

Julia’s sister in law has created a GoFundMe donation site to raise money to help the family with burial costs and huge hospital bills left behind.  Any amount you might be able to donate would be gratefully appreciated, even $1. You can find that site here along with her photo and more information.  Just click on that previous sentence in blue and the page will open up in a new tab.

This is the Rainbow I saw soon after I learned of Julia’s passing.. so I have named this Julia’s Rainbow.

Double Rainbow, Taken from Hood River Oregon, looking over the Hood River Bridge into White Salmon and Bingen, Washington on November 9, 2014

Julia’s Rainbow

In Honor of Loved Ones

In Honor of Loved Ones

In Honor of Loved Ones

My heart cries as once again we lose another family member.  Sometimes there are no words left to describe or explain, except it was way too soon to lose this lovely 32 year old daughter of my special first cousin.  Christina Clarke passed away suddenly in England this weekend, of unknown causes.  Her mother Camille (my cousin) flies to England today to help her son in law with all the details.  Camille had just lost her husband in the spring this year, and lost her Mother just last spring. Her father is also gone, a few short years ago.  I do try hard to hold onto understanding and faith, to know that indeed they are in God’s hands and we will see them again, but sometimes my peace and understanding is shattered by the pain.  I love my Cousins so much and many prayers and heartfelt hugs are being sent to all the Bammes Family.

Hyrum Stevens Homestead

The old homestead built by my Grandfather Hyrum Wallace Stevens in Mount Carmel, Utah is mostly gone now.    Not much left anymore but the old milk house/ grain storage building is still there and very solid, along with many terraced rock walls.  The foundation of the Milk house was a very thick stone wall, built to keep the milk cool in those hot summers of southern Utah.  Later, when I get the photos of the house taken back in the 1930’s from my brother, I will share that as well.   We stopped here briefly on our way to my cousin’s funeral, and got to meet the new owners who have the home to the right now.  Grandpa’s home was on the hill to the left, above  rock walls just out of the first photo.  There are photos below of the homesite as well.

I was so filled with emotion walking around on this land.. thinking of our Mom, Nina Stevens, and how she was raised here as the middle of 11 children.  Her first school bus was a horse drawn sleigh in winter, and wagon in summer.  When the family made a trip to Kanab it took half a day to get there, traveling down the river valley in a buggy or wagon pulled by horses.  They had to watch for some nasty patches of quicksand that could swallow horses and wagons!  Electricity was unheard of and lanterns provided light at night.  Mom took her turn milking cows before school, especially when Grandpa was gone for two years on a mission for the LDS church and Grandma was alone with the kids.  The older boys and girls helped run the farm, milk the cows and take care of the younger children.

So many stories Mom told us or wrote down, I cannot begin to mention them all here, but will try to share some from time to time.

The old homestead built by my Grandfather Hyrum Wallace Stevens in Mount Carmel, Utah.  Sis in law Donetta Black standing in the driveway on October 18, 2014.  Not much left anymore but the old milk house/ grain storage building is still there and very solid, along with many terraced rock walls.

Grandpa Steven’s old home stood here to the left. The old milk house is the only building still standing. Mount Carmel, Utah October 18, 2014.  My sister in law Donetta Black is standing in the driveway.

Journey into Heart and Memories

A quick trip (with my brother Boyce and his sweet wife Kathy) to northern Utah for the funeral of a much loved older cousin became for me a journey full of memories from childhood mixed with meeting some amazing and wonderful new people.  I had been told there would be no time to stop for photos, so many of these were taken at full speed going down the road while my brother drove.  We saw some gorgeous fall colors, and I always love the red rock country.  At this point I just have time for a quick check in and wanted to leave you with some visuals from along the way.  More will come after I get home!


Into Idaho:

Idaho-Juniper-7449 Idaho-seedheads-7450

and finally UTAH:


AND MOUNT CARMEL, where my mother grew up and saw this view every day!  the first one was driving by on the way down, the second and third were a sunrise climb up the hill behind Aunt Mary’s house.

We got to spend one night at my Aunt Mary’s who somehow got a lot older in the years since I saw her… and she lives in the tiny town of Mount Carmel, Utah, where my Mother grew up on the family farm along the highway.  The old home built by Grandpa Hyrum Stevens, where he and Grandma Mabel May  raised their 11 children.  Mom was the middle of the batch and was a good milker of cows, often borrowing her brothers overalls to ride the horse out to take lunch to her brothers watching the cattle.

The white cone in all three photos is Sugar Knoll, and mom talked about climbing that knob.

SugarKnoll_7586Utah-SugarKnoll-sunrise-7708 Utah-SugarKnoll-sunrise-7812

Fall color, 2014 and from the Archives

Pure and simple… a gallery of many fall color images; some I just took and some I am rediscovering in the archives.
My recent show at the Library is over and done, although a glass case display remains through October.  On October 14 I will be installing many new images on metal at Mugs Coffee in Bingen, WA for the Fall season, a few from this gallery along with others will be on display.

To see many of my best images, browse my SmugMug galleries on my primary website here

Thank you for your visit!  Sharing buttons are below the post, feel free to like me on Facebook and other such places.

Life on the Lewis River, Memories of Youth

Lower Falls on the Lewis River

Lower Falls on the Lewis River


Lower Falls on the Lewis River is a place full of happy childhood memories.  Where as most people who go there are most familiar with this viewpoint and the nearby campground, I remember a time this campground was brand new and small, and very few people came this way.  90 road did not go all the way through back then, and upriver aways there was another campground that is now inaccessible by car. The old Sheep Bridge Camp was our family hangout.  Mom was fond of saying that I camped there even BEFORE I was born.  To get to this falls we would have to climb and wade downriver on the other side, and it could only really be done safely in lower water times.   As an adolescent I was already wading across this river in many places, with a walking stick bracing me against the rugged current, and water up to my chest.  I proudly followed my Daddy everywhere, even places Mom did not go herself.  Of course my Mom was 45 when I was born, and now that I am dealing with arthritis myself I understand better why she did not rush into the icy water as quickly as I did!  Dad had it made… he just wore his chest waders.

Happy days, peaceful nights… sometimes we would camp for a couple of weeks at a time up in this paradise.  More often we hiked upriver to the Middle Falls, or across the old Sheep Bridge (before the ends were pulled off for supposed safety considerations), up the trail to the Lewis River trail to the Upper Falls. When the 90 road started getting built on through to connect the Lower Falls with the 23 road to make a big loop, it tore up this gorgeous deep forest trail, so we walked up the road part way and then down the hill through the trees to Lower Falls.  One time several of us found our way through the woods above the Upper Falls and discovered yet another waterfall which we simply dubbed the “Upper Upper Falls”.  We used a rope to climb down to the river to fish.  Dad and I wandered downriver to stand in the middle of the river leaning on the huge rock that has been at the top of Upper Falls for many years, where we could look over this lovely waterfall from the top, for the first time.  Things sure looked different from that point of view.

As the years went on, and my brothers and sisters had child after child, the camps grew bigger and bigger, until there would be wonderful times when the campground was full of the Black and Kyte families, and kids with bikes made trails through the woods and campground.  I miss those days so much… when our home was on the Lewis.

this was our wading pool and swimming hole when the water was higher.  We got water here for the campsite.  The green is heavily influenced by a smooth green shale on the river bottom.

this was our wading pool and swimming hole when the water was higher. We got water here for the campsite. The green is heavily influenced by a smooth green shale on the river bottom.

My brother Boyce fishing near the camp

My brother Boyce fishing near the camp

I love the emerald waters.

I love the emerald waters.

Lower Falls near the top

Lower Falls near the top


on a hike in return visit, I and my dog Rio sat on this rock in the middle of the river and played my flute.

on a hike in return visit, I and my dog Rio sat on this rock in the middle of the river and played my flute.

Lower Falls on the Lewis River  at Dusk, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington state

Lower Falls on the Lewis River at Dusk, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington state

Unfocused Mind Diaries part 1

2014… Year of Changes
June, near the end of the month, on a Sunday afternoon. My mind has been so unfocused and scattered lately, and getting worse the last couple of months. Anxiety attacks about what should be small things, but shake and bake my body and brain. These are followed by time staring blankly into space… important things forgotten like crumbled dry autumn leaves falling from the trees into the silence of deep winter. Names that I know well slip away like the last lick of a soft ice cream cone… gone.
Sitting in my truck in the sun in the church parking lot, with all the congregation gone home with their families already, listening to the song of the capricious winds dancing among the leaves of the grown up Weeping White Birch and big old Maple trees. Mother helped plant so many trees and shrubs here so long ago when we built stage one of this LDS church building in Pucker Huddle. She would be thrilled to see how well they grew; I can picture that in my mind.
Ah, yes, my mind… THAT is where I started, and what I wanted to talk more about on this sunny day full of puffy white clouds and wind-swept trees. My mind, and how it does not like to focus on things of importance in the ways of this modern world, but would rather drift off dancing with the leaves in the wind or sink deep into the earth to curl up and wait to be born again; to grow questioning tendrils reaching out like the roots of a tree to find the pockets of vibrant life force that nourish mind body and spirit.
Waiting; Nothingness, and yet Everything-ness. Calm, listening and observing; the curl of the hawks wing fingers as he changes directions in the wind; the sudden squawk of a Crow searching the ground under the tree for a bit of supper.
Supper…. That is right; I was invited to two different meals today with family and then friends! I had best be on my way.
>>>to be continued<<<

Woman of few Words

This week, it is all about the images. I am working through my processes and do not want to unload that on you so here are some more images to make you smile again. Remember to check out the Galleries link in the sidebar on this page… see many of my best and brightest, and contemplate one hanging on your wall or a gift for a friend. Metal prints are the most popular these days, and also Thin Wraps and Canvas wraps. Use the contact form below to contact me with questions or with orders.









Current Events May 20


1.  Ongoing Gallery Show of my work,  mostly on Metal Prints, at Boda’s Kitchen in Hood River, Oregon, a lovely little Deli right at 404 Oak Street,  downtown. 


2.   Leannan Sidhe’s Music ,  My sweet daughter!

Celtic Musician Leannan Sidhe performing with Dara Korra'ti  at the Glastonbury Renaissance Faire in Toledo, Oregon along the Oregon Coast. Mother's Day weekend 2014

Celtic Musician Leannan Sidhe performing with Dara Korra’ti at the Glastonbury Renaissance Faire in Toledo, Oregon along the Oregon Coast. Mother’s Day weekend 2014

Leannan Sidhe is a Singer Songwriter and her music is often described as Celtic style, Fairy music, or even “Enya like”  You can hear her first album in the sidebar music player on this website, or hear and purchase her newest album on this link

NEWEST ALBUM:       Leannan Sidhe “Mine to Love”

Her first album is available at this link

FIRST ALBUM:        Leannan Sidhe “Fragile Dreams”

3.     My images being used in local papers:    The Weekender, an annual insert in The Enterprise in White Salmon will use this image to reference the Museum in Bingen.  Clicking on the image will take you to the Gorge Heritage Museum websiteBingenMuseum_SunriseLightningStorm_5886



THANK YOU FOR COMING BY!  As always, please do check out my Galleries in the sidebar menu near the top to see many of my best images.  You will see a group of albums, each with several images.  The Biggest and Best album, “Best Prints:  Inspiring Light” can be reached directly by clicking on this photo link below.

Perseid Meteor and Milky Way over a very ghostly Locust Grove Church near Wasco,

Perseid Meteor and Milky Way over a very ghostly Locust Grove Church near Wasco, Oregon