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.
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.
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.
What’s your most recent en plein air (in the open air) experience?
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.
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?
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:
One door and only one And yet its sides are two Inside and outside On which side are you?
Do you feel like you’re on the inside or the outside?
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.
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.
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 …”
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-tense — ongoing.
We concluded that although we’ve elected to be cremated with our ashes placed in earth-friendly containers—biodegradable urns designed to convert into trees—we’d each like a celebratory marker at the base of our individual trees.
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.
“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
We’ve all heard the expression “shoots from the hip” used to describe someone who “says what they mean, and means what they say.” Their style of communication is decisive and strong.
In my perspective, communication is the mortar that holds humanity together; it’s the very currency of our society. Each of us dips our toes into four communication styles, but works from a primary stance:
Expresser — relies on feelings, tends to ask “Who?” Relater — relies on relationships, tends to ask “What?” Analyzer — relies on data, tends to ask “How?” Driver — relies on cooperation, tends to ask “What?”
There are people in each category who are clear, concise, and articulate in their delivery style.
Likewise, there are people in each category who are a bit fuzzy in getting their point across.
A few weeks ago while out walking, we happened upon a burned out vehicle. There wasn’t any police tape indicating foul play; there was nothing about it in the newspaper or online, so we don’t have any idea how it happened.
The scene reminded me of a conversation I had with a person many years ago who opened the conversation with, “I’m burned out.” When I asked for details, she said:
“My schedule is so over-committed that I don’t have any ‘me’ time. I don’t have time to exercise, and because of time constraints, meals have become a steady stream of fast food. I’m not sleeping well so I’m physically exhausted. I can’t seem to focus at work, and my relationship is falling apart. Frankly, I’m not enjoying life anymore.”
It all boiled down to her inability to say “no.” A people pleaser, she said “yes” to everything requested of her. Quite some time ago I learned how to effectively say no with finesse from my friend and personality expert Sheila Glazov:“That does not work for me.”
Author of several books, Dr. Masaru Emoto was an internationally renowned researcher who gained worldwide acclaim by showing how water is deeply connected to our individual and collective consciousness. His message was simple, profound, and far-reaching — water reflects the intention of our thoughts and words. His landmark water study shows that words positively change the molecular structure and vibration of water and other substances.
Consumed once a day, Len and I each place a glass of water on the kitchen window sill with personal words of intent written in indelible marker on each one.
My words are: Joy, Laughter, Health, Vitality, Forgiveness, Creativity, and Peace of Mind. Len’s words are: Health, Strength, Wisdom, Abundance, Love, Clarity, and Gratitude.