An Early Morning Walk

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

Henry David Thoreau

The way the morning light hits it just so... #...
The way the morning light hits it just so…

One of the luxuries of summertime is the beauty of an early morning walk, something I know I will miss as September creeps closer. Sharing these images might just let me hold onto them a little bit longer.

 

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Summer zinnias in northern California

I’m one of those people that walks around with a camera in my hand…I’ve found it helps me pay attention to those small moments in life.

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Rainy morning in northern California

Even when it’s raining…which rarely happens in the summer where I live!

Lavender in Oakland, California
Lavender in Oakland, California

One glorious summer morning my son and I headed off to spend the day with my aunt and uncle. Cameron wanted photography lessons, so my Uncle Paul took us to the Oakland Cemetery-it was a crystal clear day with gorgeous views, but I kept my camera on the little things.

Stargazer lilies in my garden
Stargazer lilies in my garden

Sometimes I don’t make it out of my own backyard…but that’s sometimes ok.

Arboretum trees in northern California
Arboretum trees in northern California

When I do go out, the university arboretum is one of my favorite walks. There’s always something interesting to see there.

Tahoe sunrise
Tahoe sunrise

I love it here. I love it in the snow, I love it in the rain, and I love it in the glow of the sunrise.

 

Tahoe City bike trail to Squaw Valley
Tahoe City bike trail to Squaw Valley

This summer I even loved it on an early morning bike ride from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley and back! Not as easy to take photos without falling off my bike, though.

Arbor in Healdsburg, California
Arbor in Healdsburg, California

Whenever I travel, I try to find some small place to photograph. This was right outside our hotel room.

Dia de los muertos store in Healdsburg, California
Dia de los muertos store in Healdsburg, California

This wasn’t actually taken on an early morning walk, but I was walking…I’m infatuated with dia de los muertos decorations, and this store was full of them!

View of Nicaragua from the air
View of Nicaragua from the air

This morning I spent in the air, so technically this qualifies as an early morning photo! Most of our mornings in Nicaragua were early, but spent in the back of a  pick-up truck driving to the work site.

flower of Nicaragua
flower of Nicaragua

I love this image I took in Granada, Nicaragua. The beauty of the flower against the harshness of the stone wall exemplifies the absolute disparities that exist in this lush and beautiful country.

Hollyhock in my garden
Hollyhock in my garden

Back in the seclusion of my own garden, I found my hollyhocks still holding on. These old-fashioned flowers are stubborn; they keep shooting out and blooming until I pull them up and gently gather their seeds to scatter again next year.

Arboretum bridge
Arboretum bridge and beauty in Davis, California

Back at home, back to my special place to walk.

Majestic Mt. Shasta, California
Majestic Mt. Shasta, California

My daughter shot this out the passenger side window while I was cruising down I-5 one early morning. It took dozens of shots, but it was worth it. It’s rare to see Mt. Shasta not covered in clouds. Maybe someday I’ll walk its peak.

Flowers of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon
Flowers of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon

My daughter was very patient with me on our college tours. She knew that when she turned to me and I wasn’t there, all she had to do was look for the nearest flowerbed and she’d find me.

University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington
University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington

We’d had a very long drive before this walk…but as I got out of the car, I couldn’t help but be a bit awed by the beauty of this campus. As we continued to walk around the university of campus, I wasn’t disappointed.

Meadowlark and coffee in Medford, Oregon
Meadowlark and coffee in Medford, Oregon

Ok, I’ll admit it. There was no early morning walk this day. I had just woken up after driving 550 miles the day before, and all I wanted to do was savor my dear friend Dawn Wink’s first published novel, Meadowlark, while sipping my coffee.

It’s not always about the walk. Sometimes we can find our small moments right next to us, inside. A blessing for the whole day, indeed.

 Many of these photos were posted on my Instagram account – I’d love to connect with you there, too.

 

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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College Tours of Oregon and Washington: Visiting So. Oregon, Willamette, Lewis and Clark, Western Washington, Puget Sound and U of O

I know many people look towards their child’s college years with a frightening mix of sheer terror and nervousness that as parents, we might not have done everything we can to prepare them to fly out of our nest into the world. I’m right with you. This summer I could no longer put off the inevitable, and decided to face that which scares me: the college tour. A week prior to our departure we quickly went online and scheduled campus tours, admissions meetings, interviews, and appointments to meet track coaches at six universities in Oregon and Washington.

With a tight schedule, a few hotel reservations and a love of adventure, we set off for our first stop: Ashland, Oregon.

Fueled by Dutch Bros

We certainly saw some majestic scenery along the way!

Mt. Shasta, California
Mt. Shasta, California

It was refreshing to see Shasta without being in the middle of a snowstorm….

Lithia Park, Ashland, Oregon
Lithia Park, Ashland, Oregon

One of the goals of this trip was to see not only the university campuses, but to also get a feel for what the communities are like: location, location, location. Ashland’s Lithia Park is a mile off campus, and looks like a great place to hang out.

Paddington Station, Ashland, Oregon
Paddington Station, Ashland, Oregon

Ashland, Oregon is known for its Shakespeare Festival, but for me, the dozens of restaurants, coffee shops, and cute boutiques like Paddington Station would be reason enough to live here!

Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University

Our first official campus visit was to Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. It’s a public school of about 6,000 students.

 

Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University

We even stopped by on the way home to check out the track – wouldn’t you love working out if you had this view?

Southern Oregon University track
Southern Oregon University track

Day two took us north to Salem, Oregon to visit Willamette University.

Willamette University in Salem, Oregon
Willamette University in Salem, Oregon

Willamette is a small private liberal arts college located in the capitol city of Oregon. The campus houses about 2,000 students.

Willamette University
Willamette University

They have a grove of trees on campus that is supposed to form a star shape in the sky…I can almost see it.

Willamette University
Willamette University

The capitol is right across the street – great for internships.

Willamette University
Willamette University

A river runs right through the small campus – it covers approximately one square block.

Willamette flowers
Willamette flowers

I started thinking maybe one criteria she should use is how beautiful the flowers are on each campus.

Willamette University flowers
Willamette University flowers
Willamette University
Willamette University

She was a bit nervous in her admissions interview…and then had a good meeting with the track coach.

Next stop: Portland, Oregon for Lewis and Clark University. We were a bit intimidated by the formality of the admissions building!

Lewis and Clark University in Portland, Oregon
Lewis and Clark University in Portland, Oregon

Lewis and Clark is another small, liberal arts college. She wanted to visit Lewis and  Clark due to the proximity to one of her favorite places: Mt. Hood.

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The best part of Lewis and Clark University – Mt. Hood far in the distance.

I’m not sure she could really concentrate with this view every day – of course, it rains a lot there…

Lewis and Clark University campus
Lewis and Clark University campus

This campus was hilly and green; the tour guide says it is on park land. It felt like we were in the redwoods.

Learning to Snapchat
Learning to Snapchat

I learned on this trip that smart phones are a critical part of a teenager’s social life…so I bought her a lemonade and made her teach me how to Snapchat. I don’t really see the appeal – I found it frustrating to learn!

The next morning we drove up to Tacoma, Washington to see the University of Puget Sound.

University of Puget Sound
University of Puget Sound

Like many of the schools we visited, UPS is located in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It’s slightly bigger than the Oregon liberal arts colleges we visited – around 2,900 students.

University of Puget Sound
University of Puget Sound

The campus was beautiful and green…they say it mists here-not hard rain. It reminded us a lot of Stanford, just a smaller scale.

University of Puget Sound flowers

Their flowers were gorgeous, too!

University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington
University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington

By the time she interviewed, here, she was a pro. She loved the campus, the people, and the track program. Pole vaulting in the rain will take some getting used to!

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University of Puget Sound
University of Puget Sound view of Tacoma
University of Puget Sound view of Tacoma

A fast exit from UPS put us on the road to Bellingham, Washington – very close to the Canadian border. Lots of miles, but we’re still smiling!

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Western Washington University

Western Washington is a public university with approximately 15,000 students. The campus is nestled right next to a forest. It rained.

Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington
Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington

It actually never stopped raining the whole time we were in Bellingham…in August. Noted.

 Bellingham, Washington
Bellingham, Washington

Our next road trip day was the one we were sort of dreading – over 500 miles to drive before 1:00 to make it to the University of Oregon in Eugene.

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In case you’re wondering, we smiled when we saw this bike because it had a ski strap attached to the frame…made her feel right at home.

Friendly Hall at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon
Friendly Hall at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon

What else can I say about U of O? Everyone was nice and friendly here!

University of Oregon flowers
University of Oregon flowers

The flowers were pretty, too. Oh – and they have a pretty nice track.

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University of Oregon track

We spent our last night visiting family in Grants Pass, Oregon. Southern Oregon is simply beautiful.

Outside Circle J in Grants Pass, Oregon
Outside Circle J in Grants Pass, Oregon

I have to say that after our 1,800 mile college tour, not only was I glad to be home, but also we both felt a little less terrified about the college experience. I think she’s actually ready to fill out some applications, and even write the essays. She’s got a lot to consider: location, weather, food, community, flowers, ski teams, track teams, family, mascot, school colors…and cute tour guides. That’s what matters when choosing a college, right?

grateful to be home
grateful to be home
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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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