|11/17/23 Silhouetted Mt. Rainier from Maple Leaf Park
My appreciation for nature hasn’t been lifelong. When I was
young, I was indifferent to nature unless it was of direct benefit to me (such
as snow days). My parents, however, valued nature and expressed appreciation
for it in many ways. My mother was a haiku poet and sumi painter, and most of
her subject matter was based in nature. In his retirement, my father became a
painter too, and a favorite subject was his beloved Mt. Rainier.
They bought the house I grew up in because of its splendid view of Lake Washington and, at least in winter, Mt. Rainier. The rest of the year, however, a huge maple tree’s foliage blocked much of the mountain, which annoyed my father greatly. He was not one to complain about problems he could solve, however; he was a man of action.
I don’t know if the tree was on public or private property. I’m guessing there was no discussion with my mom, as she would surely not have approved. All I know is that one day he left the house with a saw, and the next thing we knew, the maple was missing a large chunk of branches, giving us a more complete view of Her Majesty. My preteen self was not particularly impressed. Whatever, dad.
Later in life, he mentioned often that he wanted his ashes sprinkled on Mt. Rainier. The summer after he died, my family gathered there to fulfill his final wish.
I’m grateful that I eventually grew to appreciate nature as my parents did. No longer having the regular view of Rainier that I grew up with (I had no idea then how precious it was, nor did I give it any thought), I cherish whatever glimpse I can get.