The Little White Church

Otherwise known as Elbe Evangelische Lutherische Kirche, the Little White Church sits next to the railroad tracks in the village of Elbe, Washington.

I had passed the kirche before. A couple weeks ago I decided to stop and photograph the bright white building in the morning light. But it wasn’t open then. This time, I vowed to stop if I saw that the church door was open. I approached Elbe and looked over to see that the church door was indeed open. I quickly pulled over and parked.

And, as luck would have it, a gentleman in red suspenders was doing some painting around the doorway. A real Norman Rockwell scene.

I stepped inside the wee church. Built in 1906, it’s a National Historic Place and one of the smallest churches in the country.

Its lovely wood pews can hold 46 people, though there is no organized congregation and no full-time pastor.

It’s a modest interior. No stained glass windows. The organ is the original Farrand-Votey, built in Detroit.

Services are held once a month, from March through November, and the church overseen by a nonprofit with a board of directors from area Lutheran churches.

The folks who originally settled in the area were immigrants from the Elbe River area near Hamburg, Germany. Locals built the church, which stands 46 feet high at the steeple. The bell is from a locomotive.

As I was ending my visit, I noticed a narrow rope hanging from the ceiling near the door, and a small handwritten note nearby that read “Ring the bell.”

What?? I can ring the bell?! I can ring a church bell! That would be something. So I asked the painter, just to make sure, and he encouraged me to do so. I gave a gentle pull and the bell gave a modest clang. That made my day.

The rope

It can make yours too. If you are driving to Mount Rainier National Park, toward the Nisqually entrance, you’ll go right through Elbe.

Reading the View at the Public Library

It’s a space for quiet focus, but the Seattle Central Library screams to be looked at, admired and photographed. The ultra modern building is a gem, not only for its massive collection, but for its amazing architecture inside and out. Its spaces are filled with color.

Glass walls let filtered light in, while offering abstract views of the outside world. Nine floors offer new views at every corner. I love the bold lines and contrasts of colors and textures.

Today I visited briefly to pick up a book, and snapped some quick, fun photos. The possibilities are endless, and no one minds if you stroll around with your camera. All are encouraged to take a tour.

Enjoy!

The Corn Barley Nut Rice Crow Ice Moon

Mr. Moonlight, come again please
Here I am on my knees
Begging if you please
And the night you don’t come my way
I’ll pray and pray more each day
Cos we love you, Mr. Moonlight

— “Mr. Moonlight” — the Beatles

Here I am waiting for Mr. Moon to rise, so I can photograph him for this blog piece! From the recesses of my brain this song surfaced. It’s a simple but beguiling song. Surely the Beatles were inspired by the very same magic of the full moon.

Wildfire smoke colors the moon

It seems that the August and September full moons vie for the name Corn Moon. August’s is also known as the Sturgeon Moon, so we’ll go with Corn Moon for September. But the ninth month moon is also called the Barley Moon.

South of the equator, it is also called the Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Sap Moon, Lenten Moon, and Chaste Moon.

There are nights when wolves are silent and only the moon howls. — George Carlin

Phil Konstantin has compiled an extensive list of Native American names for moons on his website, www.AmericanIndian.net. Among the names he lists for September’s moon are Corn Maker Moon (Abenaki), Rice Moon (Chippewa, Ojibwe), Yellow Leaf Moon (Assiniboine), Nut Moon (Cherokee), Drying Grass (Cheyenne and Northern Arapaho), Little Chestnut Moon (Creek), and Ice Moon (Haida).

Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night. — Hal Borland*

Scientists tell us that the moon is never 100 percent full when we think it is. Only during a lunar eclipse, when the earth, moon and sun are completely aligned, is the moon truly “full.”

The Corn Moon arrives September 6, 3:03 a.m. Eastern time.

*Hal Borland was one of my favorite journalists. He wrote a weekly editorial in the Sunday New York Times for 35 years, always observations of nature and the seasons. He died in 1978. I have a collection of his writings, published in a book, Borland Country, which are paired with photographs by renowned photographer Walter Chandoha. Chandoha is particularly known for his photographs of cats, which are forever singed in my memory from a National Geographic magazine from the 1960s that I kept for a very long time. He is still alive and working, and still resides on a farm in New Jersey. You might check out the work of both of these craftsmen.

A Visit to Suquamish

Suquamish is a village on Washington’s Kitsap Peninsula. It is the home of the Suquamish people, Native Americans who are a part of the regional Salish nation. Water, salmon and boating are central to their way of life. This tribe also runs the Clearwater Casino Resort.

It’s the time of year for Pow Wows, and recently, the Suquamish hosted their Chief Seattle Days at the Port Madison Indian Reservation, on Agate Passage, the ancestral home on Puget Sound.

The festivities included a fun run, boat races, a delicious salmon dinner and, of course, dancing.

The dances kicked off with the grand entry, then introductions of veterans and seniors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Guests

A highlight was dances by visitors from Vancouver Island and Mexico.

 

 

 

 

The Canadians presented several animal dances, with drumming and singing, while the Mexican group presented traditional Aztec ceremonies, with elaborate, dazzling regalia.

 

 

 

I felt honored to witness all these ancient movements. I am happy that these cultures are being preserved and carried forward through the centuries.

The Pacific Northwest is blessed with rich indigenous cultures that have refused to die out and are continuing with renewed spirit and energy. It’s wonderful that they so generously share their traditions with the rest of us.

Chief Seattle

I was able to visit the grave of Chief Seattle, or Sealth in the native language, which is just up the road from the House of Awakened Culture, the site of the Pow Wow. The city was named for him.

The monument is accompanied by two painted wood panels depicting facets of the chief’s life. He lived from 1786-1866. The site has a circular concrete border, on which is engraved words in the Lushootseed language and also English. Many tributes are left at the base.

 

Stillaguamish River Festival and Pow Wow

I attended the annual Stillaguamish Festival of the River and Pow Wow recently. The Stillaguamish is one of our numerous rivers in western Washington, also the name of one of our native tribes.

 

 

 

 

 

It was exciting to see the regalia and dance competitions. Dance groups included veterans, senior men, senior women and children, representing tribes of the Salish nations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also featured were young Apache men from Arizona, demonstrating their skills at hoop dancing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The festival included various educational booths about the river, conservation, and wildlife. Exhibitors featured insect collections, birds of prey, and one large yellow boa! The snake seemed as relaxed as the children it was sprawled across.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beatles!

The Corn Moon

How fitting that our August full moon is a lovely golden yellow (from Canadian fire smoke), for it is known as the Corn Moon. A time of harvesting, this full moon is also called the Green Corn Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Grain Moon, and Barley Moon.

According to the Farmers Almanac, Native American tribes called it the Sturgeon Moon because sturgeon in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were usually abundant during this time.

Some tribes, the Almanac adds, had yet other names for this late summer moon: “Wheat Cut Moon” (San Ildefonso, and San Juan), “Moon When All Things Ripen” (Dakotah Sioux), and “Blueberry Moon” (Ojibwe).

August is a time when the earth is providing an abundance of foods. Fish are running; corn, blueberries and other crops are ripening. No doubt it’s a welcome time for feasting and preparing foods for winter stores.

This moon tells us it’s the perfect time to reflect on what we have, what we can sacrifice, and what we can put away for leaner times.