What's Tony Thinking

O How Glorious, Full of Wonder


The early part of the week here in the Wallowa Mountains felt more like the last gasp of winter than spring. Wet and cold, below freezing at night, with fresh snow on the mountains and lower slopes. A hard freeze meant locals lost some of their early gardens, while others scurried to cover vulnerable plants. But, as if on schedule, things turned summery with the solstice on Wednesday.

And on Friday, when the temperature, crawled up over 70, I got into the Lake (Wallowa Lake) for the first time this season. I said I “got in,” which I did, but I didn’t stay in. It was, let’s just say, “invigorating.” The sun later in the week gave the farmers a chance to “make hay, while the sun is shining,” cutting and baling their first hay crop of the summer.

The sky and clouds here are a big part of this amazing tableau. Here’s a photo from a bike ride this week, the layered cumulus clouds receding to the north.

We’ve been enjoying bird life around the cabin. My economist friend — I have one — reminds me that systems get what they incentivize. We have incentivized birds with several types of feeders. Sure ‘nuf, we have several types of birds. Including Rufus Hummingbirds, Western Tanagers, Evening Grosbeaks, Goldfinches, Juncos and Jays. We also see quite a bit of a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers, for whom the “feeder” is an old stump with lots of bug action.

I was sitting outside yesterday evening when a Red Fox lopped through the yard. No bear visitors, as yet, this year. Which is probably just as well for the bears. And likely means that cabin owners are keeping their trash in secure containers. There’s a big Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife sign as you come into the area that reads, “A Fed Bear Is a Dead Bear.” ODFW does try to trap bears that become a problem, then transporting them for release elsewhere. But the point is made. Don’t feed the bears — even unintentionally.

The other wildlife sighting of the week was when Linda and I were out on a drive in what locals refer to as the North Country, north up toward Troy and Flora. We came upon a large elk herd, lots of mommas and calves. One of the local wolf packs, the Wenaha Pack, is located up in that area. No wolves sighted. We did see the Bar B Ranch, a woman owned and operated ranch up that way (BarB — get it?).

Every year the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture (named for the historian, Alvin Josephy) here in Joseph, Oregon does an “Into the Wild” exhibit, focused on a different part of the County. This year it is the North Country. One of my painting, which I call “The Grande Ronde Rounding,” was selected for that show which starts on August 5, which just happens to be my birthday. Here’s a photo of that painting, although both the top and bottom got cut off. You’ll just have to come to the exhibit!

Haven’t said a word in this blog about the week in politics or culture. Having been here two weeks now, I’m a little out of touch with all that, but more in touch with the wilderness, with the flora and fauna. Lucky me! Lucky us!

I hope that the advent of summer, wherever you are, puts you in touch with God’s good creation and so with our gracious God. As one favorite hymn puts it,

“O how glorious, full of wonder, is thy name, o’er all the earth

Thou, who wrought creation’s splendor, Bringing sun and stars to birth!

Rapt in reverence, we adore Thee, Marv’ling at Thy mystic ways.

Humbly now we bow before Thee, Lifting up our hearts in praise.”


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