Everything is Illuminated

On Christmas afternoon, we go for a walk, rain or shine.  In Seattle, that usually means rain.

One of our favorite destinations is the duck pond a couple blocks from our house.

We had a green wet Christmas…

… at the end of a green wet December.

But we didn’t mind a few puddles, and neither did the ducks. They reflect the sky and light up the forest floor.

The forest was showing off its Christmas colors.

The sun never came out, but orange streetlights lit up the raindrops in the tree branches.

There was even enough light cast by the streetlight to take a shadow portrait.

Our afternoon walk turned into a night walk when we decided to go to the top of the ridge to watch the moonrise from our favorite overlook.

I love night walks.  Everything is illuminated.  Light and color are everywhere.

It was interesting to note how people decorated for the holidays. From this…

To this…

And everything in between.

The moon looked like a giant Christmas bauble in the sky.

But the lights on the ferry were as pretty as any I saw that night.

And the wet pavement reflected the streetlights,paving our streets with gold.

Maybe that’s why we’ve never bothered to decorate the outside of our house.  I doubt we could improve upon the job Ma Nature has done.  But the inside story is different.  It is there that we like to let our little lights shine.

All words and images c2013 Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination.



  1. So beautiful even with all the rain.:) You are a wonderful photographer!! hugs and love (((xx)))

    1. Dear Len,
      Thank you for a very generous comment.
      With love,

  2. Great photos. Nice boots!

    1. My sister in Juneau, Alaska brought those down. She calls them “Juneau Tennies.” They get a lot of use in this climate!

  3. 12kilroy says:

    You have some great shots here.

    1. Thank you! Sometimes I let content take precedence over the quality of a photo, because the story’s the thing. But sometimes I get lucky!

  4. nutsfortreasure says:

    I must set plans in motion to head west soon 🙂
    Miss WA and all my weekly visits and GODFATHERS PIZZA 🙂
    I even crossed what looked like a floating bridge in a rig one day ex wanted to know where I was and how did we he there 🙂 if it was not floating the water was lapping the sides pretty close to me 🙂

    1. I remember my mom calling everyone’s attention to the Mercer Island Bridge as we crossed it when visiting here from Michigan. “Look, kids–a FLOATING bridge!” There’s another one crossing over Hood Canal. I still think it’s cool.

      Many of the Godfather’s Pizza places are out of business, but you could still find three in the metropolitan area, if you come.

      1. nutsfortreasure says:

        Cool so I was not crazy 🙂

        I wouldn’t eat anything but breakfast as I came across through ID on my way to get motel and pick up a Pizza there was one close to the Motel 6 25+years ago I would run into I do not know how I lived 🙂 I would turn TV on turn down sound then leave pizza on top of warm tv all night while I slept 🙂

      2. In the days before microwaves, that would be a clever alternative to cold pizza for breakfast!

      3. nutsfortreasure says:

        🙂 worried about the meat going bad lol boy was I young 🙂 I should have worried about mice and BUGS 🙂

  5. footsy2 says:

    Those naughty Mallard ducks turn up everywhere. I had to have a permit to keep some as they mate indiscrimately with the indigenous wild ducks. Can’t say that the permit made any difference. (?)

  6. Naomi, that’s a gorgeous post, full of memorable images of your magical Christmas Day/Evening walk. I particularly loved the tiny golden raindrops on the trees cast by the streetlights. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Meredith. It is so interesting to see which of a series of photographs appeals to different people! I appreciate your visit, and the time you took to share your thoughts.

  7. magsx2 says:

    Nice photos, some lovely Christmas lights, and what a lovely area the duck pond seems to be in.

    1. Hi Mags,
      It’s a little oasis of trees and water, with our own resident Great Blue Heron. We go there often–and there is the added bonus of a great coffee shop just a few blocks on the other side of it! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. I used to hike all over Seattle when I lived there. IT is the best spot for hiking!

    1. There are some pretty nice urban trails, and it doesn’t take long to get to some nice trailheads int he country.

      When were you here in Seattle? Where did you go?

      1. I went to AI. I lived on Alki, West Seattle and off Elliot! We would hike ALL OVER!! It was a blast I made great friends and learned SOOOO much at school. BUT I was horribly poor and the 4 grey walls was to much for me in the end!

      2. It really does get to some people. I tend not to notice the gray or care too much about the wet, and I never carry an umbrella. Alki is a really wonderful place to live–so close tot he water, but with a pleasantly insular feeling.

      3. Yes and a moving summer atmosphere! Loved it!!!

  9. Everything is so green, and it looks like it must be warm.

    1. We have a pretty temperate climate here. It doesn’t often get cold enough for snow, and the mountains keep the ocean’s moisture from escaping so it is very green. I can imagine living elsewhere, but I wouldn’t want to.

  10. You’re not alone in a walk on a wet and rainy Xmas afternoon – Dad usually takes us on a route march to a neighbouring old cemetery as one my nieces loves reading the inscriptions on the old mausoleums.

    1. That is so cool! We often find ourselves in old cemeteries, reading tombstones and trying to piece together the stories written in the stone.

  11. Colline says:

    Some beautiful Christmas lights.

  12. scillagrace says:

    Took a night hike sans flashlights in the Shawnee National Forest and was surprised at how many bio-luminescent critters there were to light the way!

    1. That would be wonderful, Scilla! It must be too cold and wet out here for fireflies, but they are one of the most magical and wonderful creatures to share the night with. I do miss them.

      1. scillagrace says:

        Not just fireflies, but crawling worms and centipede type thingies! One was slithering away from our campfire leaving a vapor trail a foot long!

      2. Wow! That is beyond my ken! I remember leaning over a bridge in the Florida Keys and seeing creatures glowing beneath the water.

      3. scillagrace says:

        Maybe we all glow when we’re in the right place!

  13. rutheh says:

    Illumination and reflection, terrific combination. I especially like the line into the woods!

    1. Thank you, Ruth. It felt a little like setting off into the jungle with Clutch Cargo and his pals, Spinner and Paddlefoot! I so appreciate your visit.

  14. dogear6 says:

    What a great post – I’m glad you used this for the challenge. I loved the trees reflecting in the water, but my favorite is a toss-up of your daughter smiling at the camera or the self-portrait shadows. I’m glad I could spend a few minutes walking with you!


    1. Dear Nancy,

      Thank you so much! You have started my day with a smile!

  15. laura@eljaygee says:

    wonderful walking with you in this light Naomi – that third image down is so evocative

    1. Thank you, Laura. I’s a little unreal to have such a primeval spot hidden away in our little neighborhood, but we love to go there and see it in all its moods (and ours!) Thank you for coming out to play!

  16. 4amWriter says:

    We had ourselves a cold, snowy Christmas in NH. Love your pics. 🙂

    1. Thanks. I hope your New Year is going well.

  17. nymuse88 says:

    I always enjoy your pictures 🙂

  18. viveka says:

    You have proven that even rain can be more than vet – wonderful warm photos.

    1. I appreciate your visit, and taking the time to comment! I hope your New Year is going well.

      1. viveka says:

        My pleasure … ‘smile

  19. adinparadise says:

    What gorgeous rainy pics, Naomi. Who would have thought that a rainy winter’s afternoon could be so photogenic? I love the shadow portrait and the one of your daughter in her rain boots. I would imagine they are essential footwear to own in Seattle. 🙂

    1. Oh, yes! She had a pair of rain boots with dragons on that she wore into the ground. Thank you for visiting. It is always good to hear from you!

  20. Pat says:

    Thank you for taking us on your walk. Great fun and I can smell the moisture.

    1. Thank you for coming by, Pat!

  21. pattisj says:

    You do have the indoors bedecked with light, looks great. Thanks for taking us on the walk to the duck pond and sharing your illuminations. Good eye!
    We have the same decoration extremes here.

    1. Hah! Thank you for making me smile!

    2. P.S. Did I mention that you can never have too many twinkle lights in your living room?

  22. What a wonderful and colorful walk! Thanks for letting me tag along ♥

    1. Thanks for coming, Paula!

  23. Amy says:

    What a pleasant walk! Wonderful illuminations.

  24. Bams Triwoko says:

    Beautiful images, Naomi… 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your visit, and your taking the time to comment.

  25. Zen says:

    I like the photo of the duck on the pond. It seems very calm. And also the ferry. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I love watching the ferries come and go. Someday I will have to do a proper post on them.

  26. frizztext says:

    the lights on the ferry!!!

  27. Thank you, Frizz. I love having the ferry dock at the foot of our hill. Sometimes we hop on and go back and forth, just to be on the water.

  28. makergoddess says:

    I miss Seattle. Here in northeast FL we have but two seasons: Hot and Hotter. Today the temp got up to 81, if you can believe it. It’s supposed to be back down into the 60s some time next week. And the cycle begins again. Hot one day, cool the next, warm the next, down right cold the next three days, then an up swing again. This is a FL winter. 😦

    1. I am a sweater-weather person, and hot weather just makes me wilt. I know some people are affected by the rain and gray skies, but it doesn’t seem to bother me. But Florida is a very interesting place–like a foreign country, with a different eco-system–all the tropical flora and fauna.

  29. Kourtney Heintz says:

    I love night shots–sounds like an awesome walk. 🙂

    1. It was quiet, and gently illuminating! Thanks for stoping by, Kourtney.

  30. I can relate to what you mean by your being a “sweater-weather person”. Heat makes me long for Mole’s subterranean house. But in the photo essay of your walk what I saw was the kind of family warmth you bring to all of life, Naomi, and there’s never too much of that kind of warmth.

    1. Dear Cathryn,
      Thank you for one of the sweetest comments ever! It is always so good to hear from you.

  31. Román Emin says:

    Beautiful pictures, a really nice walk.

  32. TBM says:

    What a wonderful tradition–that’s the important part of Christmas for me–family traditions and being with loved ones. And I love the rain and cold weather.

    1. Thank you for stopping by. I hope your New Year is going well!

  33. i mayfly says:

    Finding art in everyday life gives me goosebumps. A most wonderful and totally unexpected gift!! I know you understand exactly what I’m saying. Hope the world opens up for you today and every day, Nikki

    1. Dear Nikki,
      I know exactly what you are saying. I love to pull photos out from here and there, but it is even more of a challenge to look around and recognize the beauty that surrounds you. Some people say that a camera gets between you and the world, but I love having it there to help me capture it and take it home and share it. Thank you so much, Nikki, for understanding.

  34. megtraveling says:

    What a fun adventure you all had! Your pictures are really beautiful and show how nice it is to be outdoors… 🙂

    1. Hi Meg,
      Every season in any weather has its own appeal. You can’t be afraid of a little rain here in the Pacific Northwest, or you would never make it out the door! Thanks so much for your visit. Best wishes for the new year!

  35. Jamie Dedes says:

    These night views are really something, Naomi.

    I’ve always thought the rain in Seattle rather nice.

    1. I kind of like it too, Jamie. I am not so much affected by the weather. I think it’s because I am at heart a homebody, and don’t mind getting wet, and then getting warm and cozy inside. Or maybe I have so much going on in my head. I would not be at all surprised if that were true for you. Your mind is probably always full of images, phrases, and mulling over lovely combinations of words to express them.

      1. Jamie Dedes says:

        Yes! That’s true of me too …

  36. Very nice colorful post!

    1. Thanks, Pablo. I am hoping you will start posting again. Any chance of that? How is school going? Best wishes!

  37. Great post, now I think I’ll go for an evening stroll…

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Maggie. Your winter world is so lovely. But bundle up!

  38. Madhu says:

    What a wonderful – and inspiring – Christmas tradition Naomi 🙂 Love those lit up raindrops on the branches and the reflection in the puddle.

    1. Thank you, Madhu. I appreciate your visit, and am always interested in knowing which photos appeal most. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Thank you, Rexlin. I’ve been enjoying exploring your blog too.

  39. Looks like you have a great, adventuruous Christmas. Lights does make a lot of difference during this season. they brighten up our spirits and makes us trully merry. Great shots!

  40. Amy says:

    Hi Naomi, Dordogn information:
    1. Website: http://www.northofthedordogne.com/
    2. Travel: Dordogne is protected, so it’s inaccessible as other regions. If you take train, you’ll need to stop somewhere for overnight and get on another train (local slow train) the next day and no connection on the same day, for example. Check the Euro train site.
    3. Staying: We stayed in Sarlat, but there are other towns are recommended by the website above.
    4. Travel information (TI): Sarlat has a nice tourist info where you can arrange your own tours there, such a canoeing and hiking. English-speaking staff. 🙂
    5. Hotels: La Villa des Consuls and Hotel de la Madeleine, and Hotel de Selves. website has more. The one we stayed was a further from the town, not very convenient to get to restaurants and TI for example.

    If you need anything else, let me know.

    Later, Amy

    1. Thank you so much, Amy! I’ll look this up.

    1. Thank you so much for this honor, Micheline!

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