Apr 29, 2015

Moments....Missionaries, Accompanying, and Checking Out The Columbia River Gorge.

So the bakers wife in the movie Into The Woods has a "moment" in the woods. After she has this moment she sings this great song about her moment. In the song she is trying to make sense of why the moment happened and what it means. She questions if the moment was a trick of her mind? Did it really happen? Then she decides, yes it was a moment not a trick of her mind...

"one peculiar passing moment" if you need to know exactly how she described it.

A moment is passing....fleeting...an indefinitely short passage of time...basically a specific instant or point in time. If you really do not want to use the word moment you could use jiffy, flash, second, or my personal favorite twinkling.

Right now I am sitting in my favorite chair staring out the four tall living room windows. The house is on a hill so all around me I can see mountains covered with endless green Douglas fir trees, a lake, the sky, and my parents impeccable yard. I have been waiting for this exact moment all week. It was one of those weeks. Every moment was filled with something. As I looked into the future I knew that this would be the moment that I would be able to sit and not have something pressing on my mind.

I have been thinking about moments this week. In this song about moments the bakers wife wonders out loud;
"Oh if life were made of moments
Even now and then a bad one
But if life were only moments
Then you'd never know you had one."

I may spend more time than I should wondering about those words and what they could mean :) Regardless, moments come and go. Some you want to forget. Some you want to savor. My mind has been very full lately of realizations of moments and how they are intertwined in my life. I am noticing which ones I have chosen to remember and which ones I am trying to forget. Which ones have taught me things. Which ones have not. Here are some moments that have been on my mind just today.

Daughter number 3, Amanda, came home from her Spanish speaking mission in San Jose, California last week. She has been gone eighteen months. We talked on the phone on Mother's Day and Christmas and otherwise I only heard from her when we got an email once a week on Monday's. She is my fourth missionary to come home. So, if I have done my figuring right, since April 2009 I have always had a missionary on a mission....Estonia, El Salvador, Philippines, and California. Her sisters who are down at BYU drove 14 hours to be in Oregon for barely eight hours and then they drove back to Utah. Because they made that herculean effort we had a moment where all five of my girls were together. After Amanda came through her arrival gate at the airport they all instinctively gathered in a circle and wrapped their arms around each other and exclaimed the word, "sisters"to each other. It is true, there really is nothing like sisters. And that moment I witnessed will forever be in my mind. Yes, tears were in my eyes at that moment. I love that they all love each other and recognize the value of being sisters.

This Sunday I accompanied a family, who was singing a song in church, on the piano. It was a most challenging accompaniment. I loved that it was challenging and really was grateful for the challenge. But it took a lot of moments of practicing to get to where I could confidently play this song. It was constant running 16th notes. I am not sure when I will stop having the words one-e-and-da....two-e-and-da....three-e-and-da.....in my mind. I had to grab my mind and force it to really focus when I played this song. The singers were not singing what I was playing at all. This was a difficult and a little bit of a scary moment for me. I wanted to play this song perfectly so that the family I was playing for would be able to sing without worrying and it was very slow in coming. But it is over and I am sitting in my chair at home not worrying about it anymore. I did not do it perfectly but I did it well. I had this moment where preparing this song taught me that hard work pays off. I was so grateful for that moment.

Can a whole entire day be a moment? I hope so. Because my entire Saturday was one. We wanted to do something fun with Amanda since Saturday was our only chance before she leaves. So we deliberated and decided that our fun would be exploring the Columbia River Gorge. Every single time I have been in the Columbia River Gorge we are on our way somewhere with no time to stop and explore. I was very excited that finally it was our destination not just a place we were passing through.

My parents are always pointing out the Vista House to me as we drive by on I-84 but never stopping. Finally, a chance to see it. So my plan with my girls was to go to the Vista House and then do some hiking that would definitely involve waterfalls. There are 90 waterfalls on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge.

You probably think I am the, "girl who cried beautiful day" because I am constantly telling you about my beautiful Oregon days and I am going to say it again....here it goes....it was a beautiful day...honestly, it was....no lie. The sky, the clouds, the sun, the brilliant colors. I can not say it enough. I kept saying to my girls all sorts of variations of "oh. my. gosh. what a perfect day." I really needed all of you to see it. You know, so you can understand what I am talking about. So we can bond.

The drive was about two hours. We took exit 22 off of I-84 and headed up the Historic Columbia River Highway. This highway was designed to show off the natural beauty along the route and eventually was replaced by the main road I-84. But parts of it are still there and truly are beautiful with stone "guard rails" with arches in them and perfect views. This road took us straight to the Vista House. Vista House was built as a resting point observatory for travelers on this old highway. It is built on Crown Point which is high above the Columbia River. It has the most amazing views of the Columbia River Gorge and surrounding mountains. We had a sunny day but just enough big fluffy clouds that they effectively blocked our view of Mt St Helens and Mt Hood...but just knowing they were there was enough.

The Vista House is a beautiful circular building with steps all around it. There are stained glass windows all around and a beautiful domed ceiling. There are stairs going up and outside onto a ledge so you can walk outside and get even better views. There are stairs going down to a gift shop, restrooms and some galleries with information about the Columbia River Gorge and bridges and quotes. The restroom had vases on the counters with real wildflowers in them...I was impressed. I never fall for gift shops but I can not say that anymore because I fell for this
one. What caught my eye? Coonskin hats..just like Lewis and Clark must have worn....my dad needed one....for reals.

After thoroughly enjoying the Vista House and all the views we jumped in our car and headed out on the meandering historic highway. We stopped at waterfalls (greatest concentration of waterfalls in the US of A right here in the Gorge) and explored whenever we wanted too. Our main goal was Elowah Falls. Great name huh? A middle earth name...right? On our way there we stopped at Multnomah Falls....Oregon's highest waterfall, and the second highest year round waterfall in America. This waterfall is VERY touristy. It drives my kids crazy. All the people, all the things to buy. But I think Multnomah is beautiful no matter how many people may be in the parking lots, in my pictures, and on the trails and insist on my kids checking it out with me...every.single.time. Maybe a moment they will remember someday? :)

Elowah is the last waterfall you come to before the historic highway ends. It is NOT touristy. Nary a bathroom in sight. It is the second tallest waterfall in Oregon but gets absolutely no attention. Which is what my girls say we like. You had to work a little bit harder for the Elowah waterfall. Multnomah was considerate enough to be visible from the freeway. Elowah is just under a mile hike but it is uphill...not going to lie....not miserable but definitely no getting out of your car and taking pictures happening here.

So if you search google for "What is a moment?" you will get a definition and then a lot of websites about physics and math, statistics. Apparently there are lots of ways to look at a moment. Do we live our life and moments are sprinkled in? Or is life only a long chain of moments? Don't all of us think that this particular moment is our moment?


Anonymous said...

I love Multnomah Falls, tho' have never been to Elowah; some day perhaps...


Anonymous said...

Never been to Vista House either; alas...