Celebrate! Life & Times at Loon Lake – A Return to Simple this Summer

Celebrate! Life & Times at Loon Lake – A Return to Simple this Summer
Copyright ©2018, ElizaBeth Coira


There’s nothing like walking in the warm summer sun, through towering mountains and blooming fields to set the heart right. Welcome to summer at long last; and a simpler, easier, freer way of life! Don’t you just love to wander the shores, meadows, and forests surrounding our lovely little watering hole; bidding good day to all the tall, cheerful old souls; as well as to quacking, new little fuzzy ones, splashing gingerly about the shoreline. What a joy to admire the great beauty and blossoming of Mother Nature’s heart in the season of summer. Surely this truly exquisite masterpiece we live in is a labor of…Love…not just logic or reason…though the head and the hand certainly help put the will of the heart into motion. But Mother Nature could never be confined, nor defined by the simple terms of human workings. No—twinkling stars, sparkling stones, all gifts of creation indicate a vastness much greater than our own human existence.

What does summer’s beauty mean to you? Perhaps the peaceful shelter of friendship and laughter? Or the squeaky barks of tiny brown tree squirrels? The high pitched chirps from way up high of an osprey preparing for fishing? Maybe you think of curious little kiddos spying on a spry Mr. Robin Redbreast?  Or the swooshing acrobatics of swallows on parade skimming the lake for dinner? Do you welcome the blessings of occasional rain showers? Give thanks for the soothing shade of trees? Wrap yourself in the warmth of sunshine kisses? Giggle at the nibble of a fish at your foot, before the shimmering little stunners shimmy away? Have you stopped to sniff the wild of white daisies? Danced in the magic of floating cottonwood seeds? Suspended belief, all while peeking under the umbrellas of spritely, tiny mushrooms?

Thank goodness we are able to be, exist, breathe in and out, and witness such beauty as Loon Lake in the summer. Thank goodness we can wander Mother Nature’s hills and forests, stretch out our arms in her meadows in bloom. Thank goodness we can walk her good green paths, all while illumined by a bright blue sky. Thank goodness we can skip, swing, and twirl to the sounds of birdsong and wind through the pines.

What would we do if we couldn’t see and feel green…breathe in the blue…rest in the brown? What would we do without this beautiful planet…Mother Nature’s generous gifts that cost us nothing?

May we never know…and ever care… for this exquisite playground we’ve been granted, gifted, entrusted. May the gifts of Mother Nature’s Love show us the way beyond the trappings of ego and prisons of greed. May this summer bring you peace, warmth, kindness, renewal, and a gentle reminder… that the simple shift within to Love, Awareness, Gratitude…all open the way to a bright new world.

ElizaBeth Coira is a writer, poet, consultant, facilitator, and eastern Washington neighbor. You can enjoy more of her poetry and photography at ElizaBethCoira.com or HomeGrownSojourner.com.

Celebrate! Life & Times at Loon Lake: The Gift of Clean Air

Please enjoy my column for the May-June 2018 Edition of the Loon Lake Times

Copyright ©2018, ElizaBeth Coira

The sun has finally returned to brighten our days. The swallows sing and swoop overhead. The coots have taken over the lake, though the heron still finds there’s plenty of space. It’s spring—really SPRING—at last here at Loon Lake! The warmer temperatures invite back more neighbors and friends. And at last I can rejoice in opening the windows—life just feels better when it’s all aired out!

Once upon a time, living in cities, I had to be more careful about opening my windows. The pollution of traffic, cigarette smoke, and a hazy industrial grime threatened my joy, health, and love of life in the fresh, clean air. Though many find it hard to understand the allure of a more rural, quiet existence; the clean air, serenity, and gift of relative silence have all done wonders for my state of being. But I wonder, do we realize, even appreciate Mother Nature’s inherent gifts like the fresh air we depend on essentially to be? It’s a gift that so many in the cities long for, and many will unfortunately never know. It’s the type of gift we must honor and treasure, respect, protect, and preserve for all.

Among the benefits of airing out our homes is the insurance of greatly improved indoor air quality, not only a health enhancer, but in some cases a life saver. Moving to this region, I was surprised to discover that both Stevens and Spokane counties are among the “hottest regions” in the nation for radon gas. Radon gas is invisible, odorless, tasteless, and naturally occurring; it comes from the breakdown of uranium in the earth. This gas, however, can become trapped and build up over time in our closed-up houses, especially after a long winter. Long-term exposure to this radioactive gas has been directly linked to lung cancer and certain types of sarcomas (cancerous tumors). You can check your indoor air quality, and specifically radon levels, with testing kits available from most hardware stores. And some in this region have found it necessary to install ventilation systems. But one of the easiest, cheapest ways to improve your indoor air quality, at least in this area, is to simply open your windows. Other sources of indoor air pollution with links to various cancers include a buildup of gasses from cleaning products, pesticides, herbicides, and also from clothing that’s been treated with dry-cleaning chemicals. Carbon monoxide and dioxide, nitrogen oxides, dust, and mold can also cause serious, life-threatening effects. When in doubt, air it out!

Of course opening you windows is all contingent upon whether you or your neighbors are burning anything. According to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the following list of items are banned from being burned, at all times, in all places, due to public health and safety concerns:  Continue reading

Walk A While With Me Friend ~ We Can No Longer Remain Silent

Please enjoy my article for the March/April 2018 edition of the Loon Lake Times

Walk A While With Me Friend – We Can No Longer Remain Silent
Reflections from the 2018 Women’s Marches in Eastern Washington
Copyright ©2018, ElizaBeth Coira

  • Compassion. Common Sense. Humanity. Love. Equality and Equity. For All.
  • The Earth. The Water. Scientific Research. Human Rights, regardless of race, size, shape, identity, disability, affiliation, or sexual orientation.

  • Bodily Autonomy. Healthcare and Access. Family Planning, Birth Control, Reproductive Rights. For our Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Cousins, Friends, Neighbors, Ourselves.
  • Legal Protections and Recognitions. In the Workplace, in the Home, in Public, in our Neighborhoods, Schools, and Community Streets. To Keep Us Safe from harassment, assault, rape, abduction, gunning down, and systematic economic discrimination.

  • Build Bridges Not Walls. What about the real-life humans, critically contributing to our communities and economies. They immigrated simply trying to survive and perhaps even make a better life. Their aspirations may not be so different from yours or mine. Are we comfortable with relying on them to pick our fruits, clean our offices, slaughter our meats; only to shout “Shut Up, and Get Out”? As we gorge ourselves on cheap hamburgers, pesticide-laced apples, and twisted up versions of the “American dream”. And their children who arrived at young and tender ages, sharing classrooms, sports fields, and school lunches with our children for most of their lives; shall we shout “Get Out Too,” as we show them the door, with a steel-toed boot and baton in hand?

  • Safety in Schools for our Children and Educators, from the tyranny of violent threat and chaos. Investment in Public Education Funding, for the infrastructure, supplies, teachers, and counselors guiding and shaping young minds—Our Future.
  • Legal Protections for all from military grade weapons built for rapid, automated modes of nothing more than mass destruction. How many stacks of slaughtered, innocent civilians will it take, as politicians and lobbyists watch from ivory towers and yachts, golf clubs and private jets? Our “all or nothing” public dialogue about guns must seem so pathetically simple, amusing, and profitable to them.

Above are just some of the issues that mobilized over 4.2 million Americans at Women’s Marches across the country, the weekend of January 20th – 21st, in what some are tallying to be the largest demonstration in US history. Here in eastern Washington friends and neighbors also gathered, united in protest: 6,000+ strong in Spokane, 100+ strong in Chewelah. Our neighbors and friends, families and colleagues showed up, spoke out, refusing to be silenced by the unfortunate attempts of cowardly online bullies, drive-by verbal attacks, and even familial and workplace intimidation. So many of us in eastern Washington are no longer content to look the other way when misogyny, racism, unchecked greed, and power grabs of various sorts threaten our lives and our American democracy.  Continue reading

Celebrate! Life & Times at Loon Lake, WA: Thankful for the New Year

~ Please enjoy my column for the Loon Lake Times – January/February 2018 Edition ~
Copyright ©2018, ElizaBeth Coira

Until I saw the sunset that evening, I had nearly forgotten how to be thankful. I had nearly forgotten the sun had even been shining, a rare and special gift indeed on a chilly, wintery day. I had nearly missed the beauty of the mother white-tailed deer, staring wide-eyed and cautiously curious from the frost-bitten field; as her furry, soft twins scampered silently off to a safer place to graze and wait. I had nearly missed the chance to breathe in the brisk, crisp, deliciously fresh air, wafting off the glimmering lake, a still, icy, foggy mirror. I was too lost in the stressful haze hanging over me from the holidays and finances; and wading too deeply into the dark pool of some of life’s bigger questions. Who am I? What am I really doing here? What is my greater purpose? And just where the heck is my path?

I love to hike, to feel the earth under my feet. I love to wander the woods, marveling at the smallest of wild flowers that vibrantly smile up at me from the good, green earth. I love to stand and stare into the vastness of landscapes, mountain peaks stretching as far as the mind and eye can reach. I love to rest under a thick canopy of trees, wrapped in the soothing, brownish-purple peace of their filtered light, inhaling the earthy purity they miraculously exude. And in the course of my wanderings, I often find that I rarely really know where I’m going; after all, these are frequently new-to-me paths. All I do know, however, is that I must go.

Have you ever been on trails, so overgrown, that you simply cannot see the way ahead? How many of you have occasionally panicked, as I have a time or two? But before the fear fully takes over, above the sound of your pounding heart, a voice advises sagely, wisely, “Take the next right step.” And you do. And suddenly you can see the next step on that faint, nearly forgotten path. Or perhaps you simply create your own new way. And soon another step appears, and so on, and so forth. Before you know it, you’ve just had the most marvelous adventure, while somehow managing to find your way too; whether it’s out of the woods, to the main road, to a parking lot, or eventually home.

As I wandered in the vague direction of home that evening, my head full of a million worries, I was halted in my tracks by the most gloriously expansive, bursting brush strokes of reds, oranges, pinks, and purples stretching out on the horizon before me. A gentle and loving hand seemed to raise my eyes to the sky; and suddenly the glow of gratitude ignited in my heart, radiating out to warm every fiber of my being. And for the first time in a long time, I felt at peace, suspended in a state of love and belonging, embraced by that exquisite sunset.

This winter, I’m wishing you the warmth, comfort, and glow of home…whatever home means to you. And may we all recall something to be thankful for; for I’m beginning to suspect that gratitude has a funny way of illuminating our paths…to Home…to Love…to Peace. Cheers to a bright new year!

ElizaBeth Coira is a writer, poet, consultant, and Loon Lake neighbor. You can enjoy more of her work at ElizaBethCoira.com or HomeGrownSojourner.com.

Check out my newest column for the Loon Lake Times, Getting Wild at Loon Lake – Fun Facts & Tips for Engaging with Nature & Wildlife. Visit LoonLakeTimes.com to find out how you can pick  up a copy today!

Celebrate! Life & Times at Loon Lake, WA: Farewell Summer’s Eclipse

~ Please enjoy my column for the Loon Lake Times – September/October 2017 Edition ~
Copyright ©2017, ElizaBeth Coira

Summer’s sweet ease is slowly creeping, drifting away on gusty, dusty winds. The growth on the lower stories have advanced their shift to crinkly reds, bristly oranges, rusty browns, and yellowing greens. They are preparing to close up shop for the year, store away their sugars, and drop their amazing little solar panels. It won’t be long, Fall will soon be upon us. Luckily most of the evergreens stick around all year. They cheer our hearts as our constant green companions, their presence always the sign post for good green earth and clean air. The trees, bushes, and grasses seem to sense the seasonal shift, well before I’m willing to acknowledge Summer’s passing. And on the occasion of the August 21st solar eclipse, I wondered how all we living beings would respond, here around Loon Lake.

The solar eclipse was much-hyped in the media—no one could have possibly escaped notice. So I couldn’t help but join in on all the fervor, making my way down to the lakeside that morning. As I wandered across my community’s beach, the cheerful call of neighbors drifted on the breeze; my friends Jim, Pam, and Donna had already setup on their boat, eclipse glasses in hand, ready for the big event. I, however, was not quite so prepared, and very thankful to be invited! To my friends with the glasses, the eclipse had already begun; as for me, I could only speculate that it felt a bit dimmer, just a bit different. I wondered if I was really sensing anything at all, or had the headlines I read simply skewed my view.

All aboard! I jumped on ship, caught a glimpse through the glasses, and a great taste of simple, sweet amazement. Then slowly but surely more neighbors made their way out; and Jim shouted, inviting all to join us. Before we knew it, we had quite an impromptu party, all gathered and passing the eclipse glasses around. Some neighbors had never actually met, for others it was a great chance to catch up. The eclipse brought us together in curiosity, wonder, joy, friendship, and child-like awe. We all chatted happily about summer adventures, experiences and memories, life’s journeys and twists on the trail. We each noted a perceivable drop in the temperature, and enthusiastically encouraged the sharing and comparing of observations, through those funny little paper contraptions. We all found it slightly disappointing that despite “97% coverage,” in never went very dark. I jokingly told so many neighbors that if this was to be the end of times, it had been great sharing in life with them, here at Loon Lake.

Perhaps the beauty of the landscape has worked its way into the beautiful, kind people living around here. Perhaps we’ve all given over, allowed the gift of this landscape to transfigure our humble, lovely lives. Either way, and in between, I am thankful that the eclipse and Mother Nature has brought us together, to share in the seasons of life at Loon Lake. Though for some it may be hard to understand; my move to this nature-centered, kinder, simpler existence, has been the best decision I’ve ever made.

ElizaBeth Coira is a writer, poet, consultant, and Loon Lake neighbor. You can enjoy more of her poetry and photography at ElizaBethCoira.com or HomeGrownSojourner.com.

Celebrate! Life & Times at Loon Lake: Summer’s Light

~ Please enjoy my column for the Loon Lake Times – July/August 2017 Edition ~
Copyright ©2017, ElizaBeth Coira

Summer has come at last to Loon Lake! The sunshine is here to warm our hearts, cheer up our spirits, invite us out; to wander this beautiful, wide, green world. What a wonderful time for personal renewal, and reconnection with family and friends; a blooming and blossoming in so many ways. All feels at ease, even at peace, at least for a moment in summer’s embrace.

Around the lake swallows dance, robins gobble, butterflies float, my neighbors call. Friends come to visit this gorgeous little corner of the planet…our very own piece of peace in paradise. The ducks take a rest in late afternoon’s lull. The turtles sun themselves lazily, clustered on logs. The osprey soar, swoop for a fish; followed by a bald eagle hunting, perhaps for her babes. The heron gazes silently into the watery depths, still as a statue, hungry yet patient.

And I…I am thankful to witness it all, sheltered in the friendship of ever-green trees. They’ve shed old needles and pollen for the most part; I can keep my windows open, without too much cleanup. Meanwhile red-winged blackbirds discover a neighbor’s new feeder, then hurry back to their watchtowers–swaying cattails protruding from high wetland grasses. As I kayak near, shrill calls sound the alert to nesting kin resting, hidden below. There are so many wonders to behold at the lake; an abundance of life bustling in this more loving climate. Luckily none of us are too busy to pause and be beckoned, for a bit of a rest in summer’s sweet sun.

I’m wishing you a season of joy, peace, renewal, reconnection, and so much more! Cheers to the sights and sounds of summer that we’re all lucky to share in here at Loon Lake.

~ Summer’s Light ~

May the light of friendship
Smile on my face
May the glow of kindness
Lighten the load

May the song of possibility
Open our hearts
May Love
Interconnection
Bloom in us all

May the waters of Life
Source and sustainer
Flow forth a reminder
Of all gifts of Life

Creepers, crawlers
Swimmers, stingers
Climbers, howlers
Silent green reachers

Walkers, runners
Resters, givers
Takers, sharers
Survivors, thrivers

All of us here
Could it be for a purpose
Why judge
Take a Life
Do you yet know your own

Love thyself
To know thyself

ElizaBeth Coira is a writer, poet, life skills consultant, and Loon Lake neighbor. Learn more about her creativity, visioning, and goal-planning workshops ~Loving You, Loving Life – Tapping the Well Within~ at HomeGrownSojourner.com/the-Well-Within-Workshop today!

Celebrate! Life & Times at Loon Lake, WA – My Mother, My Earth

Mother’s Day was just yesterday…and the world is finally bursting into spring here in eastern Washington! The grasses are greening, the swallows have returned. Robins are fattening up on wiggly little earthworms. The frogs are singing, the wild turkeys are strutting, and deer are finally back in our neighborhoods.

As I wander the woods and shores around Loon Lake, I am awed and amazed by the intelligent interconnection and design of all of us living beings. It seems we’ve all been waiting anxiously for the lake to melt, for temperatures to climb, and for the fish to be awakened. I feel privileged to have glimpsed a loon on Loon Lake this spring, a rare sighting in recent years. She swam and dove, preened her feathers, then let out a series of her haunting calls. I am guessing her mate was nearby, and she was calling to say perhaps that it’s dinner time.  She dove way down deep, in search of a fishy bite to eat. I wondered what it’s like to see what she sees. I read loons can dive up to 100 feet; and I’ve heard Loon Lake is 103 feet at it deepest.

Would you share your fish with a loon? Most children I ask enthusiastically say yes. And so many adults I meet around the lake, are curious and captivated by the mystical loon. So many feel the love of Mother Nature pulsing through our veins; we see it too in the loon, and the towering Ponderosa Pine.

Why then do I see others, deliberately aiming their boats to run through a flock of waterfowl? Why then do I see trees “harvested” for no apparent reason—their carcasses and limbs left in heaps? Why then do I see piles of trash lining local roads, and even parts of the lake shoreline? What we do to others, we do to ourselves. Our planet deserves better, and so do you.

With Mother Earth and Mother’s Day on my mind; I reflect on my own incredible, loving, kind, caring, fearless Mother and Mother-In-Law. I can understand the love from my Mothers much like the love I witness all around us, courtesy of Mother Earth. I’m wishing you all a very happy spring… and summer too, right around the corner. As the lake population swells this season, as families gather together to enjoy each other’s company; please remember to consider all the beautiful life that lives and thrives around Loon Lake, and that our actions impact one another. We are lucky indeed to have heron and osprey, eagles, loons, turtles, and kokanee in our very own backyards. But the delicate balance that allows all of us to thrive, needs your attention…your care…your consideration. As a neighbor I thank you for helping to keep our lake ecosystem clean, healthy, and vibrant; together as a community we can ensure Loon Lake remains the special place that it is…not only for present, but also future generations.

In the spirit of Love, Mother’s Day, and Mother Earth; please enjoy the above poem I wrote for my own Mothers, accompanied by a photo of the sun’s reflection in the ever-inspiring waters of Loon Lake, Washington.

 ElizaBeth Coira is a Writer, Poet, Workshop Facilitator, Communications & Strategy Consultant, & Loon Lake Neighbor. You can enjoy more of her poetry and photography at ElizaBethCoira.com or HomeGrownSojourner.com.

Celebrate! Life & Times at Loon Lake, WA – By ElizaBeth Coira – March/April 2017 Edition

~ Please enjoy my column for the Mar/Apr 2017 edition of the Loon Lake Times newspaper ~

The snows followed us late into February. Who knows what March and April will hold. Will Spring come to visit Loon Lake once more? I gaze out at the wild turkey and wonder what they know. I confess that while many I’ve met around the lake aren’t quite as enthused by their presence, the wild turkey to me are the true embodiment of the spirit of wild survival. I’ve watched a flock all winter long, wander the streets of my neighborhood; seeking out even the smallest morsel of nourishment, even seemingly where there is none. I say a prayer for all, but especially the smallest. I hope they will live to see a new day, to wander the path I’ve dug from street to door. It makes slightly easier going for their sweet, strong feet; and slightly easier foraging, to the fledgling grass below. I don’t mind that my path is littered with their “mines.” I’d much rather see that than no traces at all of their existence…their lovely little lives. It makes no difference to me whether they are “good eating” or not.

Why should I care so much for the turkey? Just as I treasure the towering trees? Why am I thankful for the later, longer snows this year? Perhaps I simply love what is. Perhaps my faith rests in all forms of life. Perhaps I trust that Nature knows more. Perhaps I have chosen to be thankful for all the experiences that define Loon Lake life.

Whatever it is, I still yearn for Spring; though I know she will come in her own time. As we enjoy these waning chilly days, and anxiously await sunnier, warmer ones; I’ll leave you with a poem of the sights, sounds, and season we all long for. May we all indeed bloom, once again, with Spring.

Lake Melt

Click
      Click
            Clack

Shiver
      Ripple
            Fizzle

The fish are waking
To swim once again

The water preparing
To make amends with sun
And run so far
From the icy grip of Winter

The pebbles are yearning
To sparkle and shine

The birds hungry
To dip their feet in time

The deer so thirsty
For their own reflection

And I am longing
To bloom again with Spring

ElizaBeth Coira is a writer, poet, consultant, facilitator, and Loon Lake neighbor. You can enjoy more of her poetry and photography at ElizaBethCoira.com or HomeGrownSojourner.com.

International Women’s Day

Wishing you all a happy and inspiring International Women’s Day!

We the common people–women, men, and children– must unite, rise up against this ugly tide…this shadow of a tyranny that has endured too long. We know it, we hear it, we sense it, we feel it…we cannot go back to the mistakes of old.

I’ll be sharing various pieces throughout the day that I hope you’ll enjoy–just click on the blue linked text to explore further:

Walk A While With Me Friend ~ The Women’s March Comes to Eastern Washington

 

Thoughts of Wednesday on Sunday

 

Stand Up Strong Girl

 

Enough

 

Duty

 

Woman You’re Amazing

 

Love’s Guidance

 

May the Sun Set on Hate, Greed, and Fear

 

F-BOMB — FEMINISM Isn’t 4 Letters

 

Sending Feminist Aid To France

 

Shall I

 

I Cry & Hope For Humanity

 

 

Food For Thought

 

Ring

 

Some Day

 

Strength

 

Poverty

 

 

One

 

Wild Woman

 

My Mother, My Earth

 

Light of Love

 

 

Recover

 

Where Do We Fit

 

Listen Child

 

Fingerprints

 

You’re Better Than That

 

Don’t Be Afraid

 

A Call to Civic Engagement

(A Patriot’s Love Song)

 

#SheMeansBusiness #BeBoldForChange #InternationalWomensDay#WomensDay #IWD2017

Walk A While With Me Friend – The Women’s March Comes to Eastern Washington

Please enjoy my article & photos for the March/April 2017 edition of the
Loon Lake Times newspaper 

Walk A While With Me Friend
The Women’s March Comes to Eastern Washington
Copyright ©2017, ElizaBeth Coira

In the brisk, early afternoon sunshine of Saturday, January 21, 2017 we gathered. We brought out our courage and homemade signs, we pinned on our hopes, and walked side-by-side. Some of us already knew one another as neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends. Some of us complete and utter strangers, were happy to share a moment in each other’s kind company. So many different, beautiful faces: women, men, children of all ages. It looked like America, the country I love, the country I’ve wandered… the country I’m proud to call my home.

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We gathered in Chewelah, numbering 125 strong. We gathered in Spokane, 8-11,000 strong. We gathered across the United States. We gathered across planet Earth. We common people came together, for so many reasons, yet united… against the shadow of a tyranny, not fully revealed. But we know it, we hear it, we sense it, we feel it…the worrisome presence of a most unwelcome guest. So many of our ancestors have known it, have fought it; been used and abused, too as pawns. It is the game of the unscrupulous greedy lords, slithering charismatics, self-anointed kings. Can you feel the scraps being tossed at us…while the coffers of elite egos grow ever over-flowing?

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Does that really feel like goodness? Does it make you feel at ease? Even at peace with a greater sense of order, justice, or higher being? Does the blame game found on early playgrounds, the bullying, belittling hold appeal in your heart? So many came out to march, to unite, because searching within, their answer is No.

Their answer is No to rule by fear. Their answer is No to control through chaos. Their answer is No to hateful rhetoric, designed to separate and subjugate us. Their answer is No to limiting our freedoms, based on the opinions of only a few. Their answer is No, we won’t forfeit our country, our great democracy of “we the people.”

Continue reading