Summer is going by as quick as it can, and carefree moments are precious now. Last weekend on the way back from the Olympic Peninsula I made one of my patented “left turns” (why is always a left?) and on a whim headed up to Mount St. Helens. The weather promised some nice light and I wanted to get some good shots of the mountain. The following morning was beautifully misty, sunset was gorgeous, and the flowers were surprisingly still blooming fresh. But the moment I will take from the trip was one that happened without a camera around my neck.
After hiking up near the crater mouth, I headed back down to Coldwater Lake. This is a beautiful big lake that was formed during the famous eruption in 1980. The massive landslide that triggered the eruption (that in turn destroyed much of the forest in these parts) also dammed Coldwater Creek. And just like that nature’s fury left a jewel in its wake. When I arrived after the hot, dry hike, I immediately thought SWIM! I was in such a hurry that I left the camera behind and jogged partway up the sunny shore, looking for a likely spot. I found a perfect spot where a large tree, weathered silver and smooth, lay partway out into the lake, forming a sort of natural dock. These massive old-growth trees lay all about the area, testament to the eruption’s power.
I couldn’t believe how perfect the water was when I dove in. It was by no means warm, but it wasn’t too cold either. Refreshing! After the swim I just lay on the big log staring up into the sky. All I could hear was a nearby kingfisher and without trying the clouds started making recognizable shapes. How many summer days during childhood did I do this? And why have I not done much of it since? The sun dried me and I dozed in and out. All my cares melted away.
After the swim I was ready to shoot some pictures. I think the summery hour or so I had just spent made the picture-taking that much better. I was refreshed and calm, the perfect way to be when doing anything, especially something creative. It’s a reminder that those carefree summer moments (whether they are in summer or not) have a very useful purpose. Without them we cannot do our best work. To everyone out there, before summer ends: put your devices away, have nothing in your pockets, and just go be a kid again for awhile. Have no real purpose. Let the summer breezes and sounds clear your mind. Be carefree for once. You will thank yourself later, believe me.