Photo By: Mel Fechter

Mentoring Mankind with Memories and Musings

Mar 20,   Adventures in Cyber Dating
Mar 13,   Stories of WWII are Fading Fast
Feb 22,   Canst Thou Protest Too Much?
Jan 26,   New Medical Paradigm On Horizon
Jan 16,   COLLEGE DAZE Is On the Horizon
Jan 10,   My Book Is On Its Way to Publication
Dec 18,   Red Letter Days Mark Milestones
Dec 17,   Today Was a Red Letter Day
Dec 1,   the 2nd Year of My Voyage is Over
Nov 20,   I Find Family and Friends at Hallmark
Nov 5,   My Book From the Male Viewpoint
Oct 12,   Music & Movies Mark My Milestones
Sep 18,   My New Life Appears on the Horizon
Aug 23,   Life is a Pathway with Many Forks
Aug 21,   The Importance of Doing My Best
Aug 4,   Life Imitates Hello Myrmidon
Aug 1,   Writing a Book Has Changed My Life
Jun 13,   Plants are Amazing Creatures
May 25,   Will You Accept My Apology?
May 1,   A Journal is a Window on Your Life
Apr 30,   A Road Trip to Shangri La
Apr 25,   Movies as Matchmakers
Apr 23,   Me at Seventy-Three!!!
Apr 19,   Make Time for Your Friends
Apr 14,   Can One Make a Difference?
Apr 9,   a snipit from HELLO MYRMIDON
Apr 1,   What Price Glory, Sweat, Tears
Mar 30,   To Retrieve or Not Retrieve
Mar 29,   Discourse on Decisions
Mar 25,   Memory Retrieval
Mar 24,   I Join the World Community
Mar 22,   Website Lessons
Mar 3,   My Miracles, Part 2
Mar 2,   My Miracles, Part 1
Feb 9,   Phones of Old, Part 2
Feb 8,   Phones of Old, Part 1
Feb 7,   Twitterpated!!!
Jan 25,   Jacob and Esau, Part 2
Jan 24,   Jacob and Esau, Part 1
Jan 10,   A New Goal?
Jan 9,   My Earliest Memories
Dec 31,   2016: Successes and Failures
Dec 30,   2016: My Self-Discovery
Dec 28,   I Finally Hear My Angels
Dec 27,   Angels and Me
Dec 26,   Angels Inspire Me
Dec 24,   the Littlest Angel
Dec 23,   Story of My Name Part 3
Dec 22,   Story of My Name Part 2
Dec 21,   Story of My Name Part 1
Dec 19,   Prior Challenges Part 2
Dec 17,   Prior Challenges Part 1
Dec 16,   My Website Challenge
Dec 15,   Astrological Review of 2016
Dec 14,   North Coast Winter
Dec 13,   an Angelic Intervention
Dec 12,   Birth of HELLO MYRMIDON
Dec 11,   Christmas Lights Fade
Dec 10,   Christmas Art Project
Dec 9,   Finding a Perfect Tree
Dec 7,   Christmas with KW
Dec 6,   Christmas around the World
Dec 4,   Mom’s Story Part 2
Dec 3,   Mom’s Christmas Story Part 1
Dec 2,   Ghosts of Christmas Past
Dec 1,   My First Blog

Guest Blogs

Mar 24,   SusanDay on Being a Grandparent

23rd Jun Spring and Summer in Shangri La

As I write this I’m currently visiting my future home site in a small rural valley, tucked away in the mountains of northern California. It’s only a short distance from the outside world,  but as you enter it you realize that it’s a completely separate world. That’s why I think of it as my Shangri La. I lived there once as a young child, and my lifelong dream to again have a home there will soon come true. For now I camp at my place a week each month throughout the season when the night temperatures are not too cold for my aging bones.

For my first trip this year I braved those still nippy nights by arriving in late April, a bit earlier than usual. As I drove in, I was shocked to see my valley oaks completely naked! Withered and gray, their twisted branches appeared to be completely without life. But in a day or so a magical thing happened. Tiny brown nubs began to appear  along those seemingly lifeless branches, noticeably expanding steadily over the course of the week. By the time I left, a few of them had already grown large enough to pop open and give birth to their baby green leaves, as if to announce to the world that their mother trees had survived another harsh winter and were thrilled to be dressed in green once again. The sunlight reflecting off of the snow caps on the distant mountains surrounding the valley was almost too bright to look at directly. A few of the valley fields were bare and brown, being plowed in preparation for planting grains. And the alfalfa in neighboring fields was short and stubby, but poised and ready to get on with the summer growing season.

When I returned in May, those same fields were bright green with fast growing alfalfa. And in the grain fields, seedlings were eagerly popping their heads up through the brown earth to greet the sun. Between the cultivated fields there were occasional expanses of purple lupine spikes and umbrellas of golden yellow mustard mingling in glowing perfusion.  The pointed mountain peaks in the background were striking as always, proudly showing off their dwindling but still glorious blankets of snow. Crystal clear creeks were flowing spritely, happily doing their job of transporting the runoff from the melting snow to the river. Cattle, no doubt relieved to be released from their drab winter diet, grazed happily in verdant green pastures. From my gazebo I watched pairs of birds of various sizes and plumages flit from oak to oak to find the perfect spot to set up housekeeping among the fresh green leaves. It was as if the whole valley had awakened from its long winter sleep, and was excited to be alive.

It’s June now, and I’ve returned to soak up the ambiance of the only place in the world that truly welcomes me home. It seems like I’ve been gone only a few moments, but in my absence Shangri La has taken on a whole new character. My oaks are now fully adorned with their dark green canopies, welcoming passing birds to rest in their shade. The purple and yellow of the lupine and mustard have been replaced by Oregon gold and pink sweet peas, punctuated here and there by other smaller wildflowers. Together they form a chorus of rainbow colored voices, joining in a song of praise declaring how thankful they are to be living in Shangri La. The alfalfa is now tall and ready for its monthly shearing. In fact, some is already cut and drying in preparation for baling, while a few fields proudly sport a full crop of bales ready for pickup. In neighboring fields mature wheat stalks wave gently in the wind now, and some even have a few rows already cut and drying in preparation for winnowing. All the fields with crops still standing are being watered by giant sprinklers that occasionally splatter big fat drops on the windshields of passers-by.

The distant mountain peaks now display only tiny remnants of their winter snow coats, as the summer season mostly offers an endless parade of sizzling sunny days. But the intense blue skies are punctuated now and then with puffy clouds sailing by, and occasionally even sharing a drop or two of their precious moisture with the now parched earth. Back in May, I recall the temperatures were still a bit nippy at night and comfortably warm during the day. By contrast, during this week leading up to the solstice, the afternoons have been too hot for this long time “coastie” to be comfortable. So I eagerly look forward to the mild evening temperatures of June, needing only a light blanket to keep cozy while snoozing peacefully through the quiet summer nights of Shangri La.

My projects are mostly outdoors, so I can diligently work on them in the morning. However, I’m forced to spend the heat of the day in the shade of my gazebo. Oh poor me…  While there I must carefully divide my time between napping, sipping lemonade, and admiring my world class view, at the same time allowing myself to be gently caressed by a cool breeze wafting up from the valley floor. I don’t even realize how hot it is outside my oasis until I need a refill of my lemonade. Just walking out into the direct sun gives me great appreciation for my special spot. Then later, as the afternoon sun rolls into the western sky, the air temperature softens and I can again venture forth and resume working on the project of the day.

I always make sure, though, to head for the gazebo when the sun begins to dip behind the nearby western hills. I review my day as the shadow from the setting sun flows slowly eastward across the valley and climbs the hills in the distance. The top half of majestic Mt Shasta towers authoritatively above those hills, allowing the suns last rays to fall gently on its slopes. I feel a special spiritual connection as I watch the resulting pink alpenglow materialize. And as if that show is not enough, it  may be followed by an encore of a unique sunset, filling the whole sky from horizon to horizon with brightly colored cloud formations. On special occasions I’ve even been treated to a treasured rainbow along with them. I must leave tomorrow, but I’ll be back again in July. I wonder, what new colors and vistas will be waiting for me then?   Whatever they are I know they’ll make me feel right at home.


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