En plein air

En plein air is a French expression that means in the open air and is usually used to describe the act of painting outdoors.

However, part of our son’s recent visit occurred in plane air as Len piloted us to one of the many adventures we had during his stay.

Aviation headsets allow us to communicate with the airport tower, other planes, and with each other.

Aviation headsets allow us to communicate with the airport tower, other planes, and with each other.

Cruising at an altitude of 9,500 feet and a speed of 140 knots in a Cessna 182, the whole family — including Willa — enjoyed a bird’s-eye view as Len flew us over many of Idaho’s gorgeous peaks and valleys.

Willa wears “mutt muffs” for hearing protection.

Willa wears “mutt muffs” for hearing protection.

Much of Idaho’s rugged terrain is threaded by blue ribbons of rivers — many of them tributaries of the mighty Columbia River — whose fresh water eventually makes it to the salty brine of the Pacific Ocean.

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What’s your most recent en plein air (in the open air) experience?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Geographic Bucket List

Our son is coming for a whirlwind visit — Woohoo! As we plan how we’ll invest our time together, we’re referring to the “Idaho Bucket List” we received when we met up with friends at Story Story Night in downtown Boise.

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Published by Boise State Public Radio, the lengthy list includes:

  • Spend the night in a forest fire lookout
  • Picnic at Shoshone Falls on the Snake River
  • Pan for gold
  • Bike the Hiawatha Trail
  • Catch an Idaho trout

What sights or activities would you take visitors to see or do in your neck of the woods?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Inside or Outside

The historic Warm Springs district in Boise has a plethora of beautiful, ornate gates and doors that we admire on our daily walks, but my favorites are the well-worn, rustic ones that look like they belong in a Hobbit shire. Seeing them reminds me of a song we used to sing when I was growing up:

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One door and only one
And yet its sides are two
Inside and outside
On which side are you?

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Do you feel like you’re on the inside or the outside?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Go Fly a Kite

When our son was a little boy we had a French military box kite. Huge, we’d take it to the shores of Lake Michigan where his little gloved hands would hold the cord spool and the airborne kite would lift him off the ground — him screaming with glee, “more, More, MORE!” — while Len and I held him securely, only letting him rise so far.

Now in the Pacific Northwest, we live within walking distance of Julia Davis Park in Boise, Idaho. One of its many beautiful offerings is the Bloch Cancer Survivor Plaza — a walking plaza created to give hope and courage to newly diagnosed patients, to inspire determination for those who are fighting the disease, and to reduce fear in those who’ve not had cancer. A portion of the plaza includes kite sculptures in perpetual flight.

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More than a calm draft or gentle breeze, the key ingredient to a successful kite flight is wind — strong, continuous, and sometimes fierce — to keep it aloft.

Have you encountered triumph through turbulence?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Georgia Peaches and Prickly Seed Pods

In the course of a week, month, or even a day, we encounter people expressing a variety of human emotions. Smooth as a Georgia peach, sharp as a prickly seed pod, or somewhere in-between:

  • Withdrawn or outgoing
  • Cheerful or sullen
  • Anxious or peaceful
  • Sweet or sour
  • Sad or happy
  • Hopeful or hopeless
  • Uncertain or confident
  • Grateful or unappreciative
  • Inconsiderate or respectful

The list goes on…

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Emotionally speaking, on a scale of 1 to 10, if:
Smooth as a Georgia peach is 10
Sharp as a prickly seed pod is 1
And you can’t select 5…

…where do you think others most often experience you on the emotion scale?

Note: The peaches in the header photo aren’t actually in Georgia. I took the photo in Homedale, Idaho while Len and I were visiting their local airport.

© Laurie Buchanan

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In Celebration Of

Our walks often include the Bethine Church River Trail on the Boise River Greenbelt. Strategically placed along the way are rough-hewn log benches for contemplation. Next to each bench is a flush-with-the-ground “In Memory Of…” marker.

Recently we walked a little further and came upon a raised marker. It said, “In Celebration Of …”

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On the return walk home, Len and I discussed the difference. We agreed that while they’re both wonderful, to us the “In Memory Of…” marker has a past-tense feel to it; while the “In Celebration Of” marker feels present-tenseongoing.

We concluded that although we’ve elected to be cremated with our ashes placed in earth-friendly containers (biodegradable urns designed to convert into a tree), we’d each like a celebratory marker at the base of our individual trees.

Do you want to be remembered, or celebrated?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Standing Alone

Connecting with like-minded people heightens awareness of our inherent unity. When we’re warmly included—validated—it nurtures a warm sense of belonging; a sense that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves.

There are many times in life when other people agree with our principles, beliefs, and/or choices we make. I suspect that to some degree this “sameness” strengthens our sense of validation.

However, there are times when we find ourself standing alone. Maybe we took a different stance while serving on jury duty, or in the workplace, at home or school, with family, or friends.

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“Be strong enough to stand alone, be yourself enough to stand apart, but be wise enough to stand together when the time comes.” — Mark Amend

When was the last time you stood alone?

© Laurie Buchanan

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