Marion Owen Alaska

My New Year’s resolutions after a health crisis renews my love affair with plants

Zion, National, Park, Utah, sunshine, hiking
Marty pauses in the morning light. (Zion National Park, Utah)

In October 2015 my husband experienced a mini-stroke. We were traveling in our motorhome at the time, camped near Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park. While Marty’s 5-minute episode didn’t leave any outward signs of damage,

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Why take another photo?

I’ve been carrying a camera around since I was ten, recording events from my “magic carpet” as I tour this life. I started with a Brownie Instamatic camera, a gift from Mom and Dad, and now I use various digital Whats-its.
Sometimes I’d wonder, “Why do I take pictures?” I mean, aren’t there enough photos in the world already? Well yes, according to the New York Times article, Photos, Photos Everywhere, “The growth in the number of photos taken each year is exponential: It has nearly tripled since 2010 and is projected to grow to 1.3 trillion by 2017.” You can thank smartphones because “Seventy five percent of all photos are now taken with some kind of phone.”

Still, after 50 years (okay, do the math), I love making images. When everything comes together I want to shout, “Yes, that’s IT!” and I’m filled with a special connectedness and joy. 
This why-take-another-picture question held court on the back of my mind for years. Then I recently came across a passage by Paramahansa Yogananda which inspired me to mindfully reach beyond the physical activity of tripping the shutter.

Any time you become fascinated by some material creation, close your eyes, look within, and contemplate its Source.
—Paramahansa Yogananda

Brother LawrenceTo ‘look within and contemplate its Source’ is something we should do at all times. It’s called ‘practicing the presence.’ All true spiritual disciplines say that to improve our lot, we must think of Him (Her, Divine Friend, Spirit, Allah, whatever works for you). Such devotion does not take away from enjoying life, rather it enhances it. “There is no sweeter manner of living in the world than continuous communion with God,” said Brother Lawrence, a monk who lived in the 1600s.
I’m no saint. I struggle mightily with restlessness and distractions when I sit to meditate. But what continues to drive me onward is knowing that the only difference between me and a saint is that saints don’t give up.
My question for you is: What are you thinking about as you quilt, cook, run, paint, garden, golf, hike, program computers, walk your dog, dance, dine with a friend, backpack, study the stars…?
And does the world need another photograph?
Just askin’…

The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I posses god in as great tranquilly as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament. — Brother Lawrence

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In praise of: Winter spinach, easy refrigerator pickles, and aronia berries

This article was originally published as one of my weekly garden columns…
Let me begin with a gentle apology: Professional columnists say you should never devote your columns to more than one topic. Fat chance. Here in Kodiak, Alaska, there’s so much going on

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"A Life at Sea": My little photo essay in Alaska Magazine

Whew. Life in Kodiak, Alaska ramps up every summer: My husband Marty and I run an oceanfront B&B and host about 120 tours on our boat in the form of wildlife viewing/photo trips and gourmet dinner cruises. As the chief cook and bottle washer, I have

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From whales to plants, mid-summer feeding is a must

After shutting down the boat engine we leaned against the railing to watch two humpback whales feed close to the surface. Winding slowly through the kelp bed, they created small whirlpools with their pectoral fins and tails, like a

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The day I was hugged by a fern

Alaska’s 2015-2016 winter was the second warmest on record, dating back to 1925. And here on Kodiak Island it’s been one of the rainiest. So when the clouds parted a few days ago, I took my camera for a walk along an ocean bluff, edged with spruce trees, in search of spring wildflowers and fresh greenery.

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Sowing Wisdom: Luther Burbank, intuition and dealing with surprises

I’ve written a weekly garden column for the Kodiak Daily Mirror for over 15 years. This article first appeared on April 11, 2016…

Last Friday it rained, hard. Inside the gym though, it was bright and sunny, thanks to neon shirt day when everyone was encouraged to wear

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Not a gardener? These 12 New Year’s resolutions are meant for you, too.

If you’re like me, you need a goal—even a tiny one—or you might end up like a lost duck, waddling along the lake shore, but never getting into the water. Today I’m sharing a dozen resolutions, mostly slanted for gardeners. But if you’ve never used a trowel,

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Merry Christmas from Kodiak Island, Alaska

Wishing you and your loved ones a Christmas filled with joy and light,Signature-black

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