You Mean It’s NOT a River?

Some people say life is a river.  I think it’s more like a mountain.


It has its ups…

…and downs.

It can be glorious.



Fraught with fire…

…and ice.

No one can climb it for you.

But, oh, what a trip.

As you find your way…

…the climb can be difficult.

But there will be beauty all around you.  In little things….

…or stretched out before you in all its grandeur.

Life is a delicate balance, a precious jewel, a piece of work.

May there be friends to share the journey.

Look before you leap.

Wear the proper footwear.

And remember, we don’t trip on mountains.  We trip on molehills.–Japanese proverb

All words and images Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Theme:Path.



  1. Miljo Anne says:

    Awesome pictures… Haven’t tried hiking although got a lot of invites.. M a bit scared.. Looks lovely on top.

    1. Thank you! I hope you try it sometime! There are many pretty trails that are short and easy. For instance, if there was a pretty lake at the foot of a mountain, you wouldn’t have to climb the mountain for a great view. If you do go, please let me know. I’d love to hear about it. Thanks so much for your visit.

  2. arjun bagga says:

    There possibly cannot be a better way to tell a story about life than this. You have through pictures and few words captured the true essence in it’s right spirit. Touching and liberating!

    1. You are so kind! Thank you for your visit.

  3. Totally love this post. It sums up our life’s journeys. I agree,”Some people say life is a river. I think it’s more like a mountain.” Beautiful words and images. Makes me wanna shout, “I’m at the top of the world and loving it!”

    1. KIng of the mountain! On top of the world! So happy for you!

  4. Beautifully composed! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Vlad. It was a fun one to put together.

  5. Georgia says:

    That is all so true Naomi. Great shots, simply inspiring!

  6. just beautiful Naomi, the words and the photos..

    1. Thanks so much. I appreciate your visit.

  7. viveka says:

    What a stunning post .. and the photos – you’re so right .. that life probably is more like a mountain for most of us anyhow. Love every little bit of this post.

    1. I understand both analogies, but relate to this one much more. And I had the photos to support it, so what the heck! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  8. The most stunning photos! Wise, graceful and true to life words, I wrote some down, thanks for sharing this with the world and making it a beautiful place to be in 🙂

    1. Thank you so much. You are very kind to share your thoughts, and I am delighted to know that you have found something worthwhile in it.

  9. scillagrace says:

    Gorgeous photos! Missing the mountains here in the Midwest; remembering how seeing them for the first time changed my dreams…

    1. How interesting! The mountains are very important to me. Climbing them, just seeing them from a distance every day. The photo of Mt. Rainier towering over Seattle is significant to me, because after seeing it by moonlight, I told my mother I was coming back out to Seattle to live when I grew up.

  10. Jamie Dedes says:

    Naomi, so much truth here and wonderful phototgraphs. Especially loved the criters. You have a good eye for this.

    Perfect first read of the morning. 🙂
    Moving back into the world of the living again. Missed your blog. Catching up.

    Be well …

    1. Dear Jamie,
      So good to hear from you. I had to make that transition after spending several months caring for my mom through her last illness. Walking back among the outside world was almost like learning to walk on land with sea legs again, only much less obvious to others, for whom the world has not just been rocked beneath their feet. Welcome back. Take tiny steps. Now it’s time to take good care of yourself for a while.

  11. … and that’s all you need to know in life!! Wonderful.

  12. ShimonZ says:

    I thought it was a gumdrop

    1. That sounds a lot like a quote from my sister Naomi in a past life!

      1. Hey SisterWoman,
        These quotes will apply to current lives too. So good to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by!

    2. Oh, Shimon, you made me smile!

  13. Naomi, What a beautiful trip you’ve taken me on this morning! I feel like I’ve been on an adventure, and I’m still in my pjs! The images are beautiful, what wonderful memories were made while you collected these.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Dear Darla,
      Thank you for coming along. Just mulling over the photos as I decide how to piece them together is a wonderful way to experience the journey all over again–and I was in my PJs too! I’m so glad you come along.

  14. elisaruland says:

    Another nicely woven photo journey. All beautiful – I’m in love with the picture with the deer peeking at you from the trees.

    Have a wonderful Tuesday!

    1. Hi Elisa,
      That was a really magical moment. I had taken my daughter’s writing club up to Hurricane Ridge, and we had walked through the mist to a beautiful picnic spot. As we had our lunch, this visitor was curious, and just stopped by to see what was on the menu. Thanks for all your encouragement.

    1. Dear Mary,
      Thank you for your visit. I always love to hear from you!

  15. Beautiful, moving photos and sweet wisdom.

    1. Hey, Lee,
      Thank you, dear sis! I enjoyed the photo Lauren sent of her sweet little family. The lass clearly has strong genes. So cute!

  16. i mayfly says:

    Beautiful and throught provoking. In other words, your abnormal norm! xoxo Nikki

    1. Hi Nikki,
      Thank you! You always make me smile.

  17. Beautiful and inspiring, Naomi!

    1. I appreciate the visit, and the very kind words.

  18. Pat says:

    What a wonderful post. I enjoyed both the words and the images. You creatively combined both for a thoughtful and inspiring post.

    1. Hi Pat,
      Thank you so much! It’s really been fun to play with a new kind of writing as I blog–I love playing with both words and photos.

      1. Pat says:

        I am having the same experience. It sometimes just isn’t enough to either write or post photos. The real fun is to use what each has to offer to enrich the other. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

  19. niasunset says:

    WOW! What a great experience and photographs. Thank you dear Naomi, love, nia

    1. Hi Nia,
      Thank you for your visit, and your generous comments.

  20. Carol says:

    So lovely, the weaving of the wise words and the photos!

    1. Dear Carol,
      Thank you for sharing your kind thoughts. I am thinking of you. Give the girls a hug for me!

  21. A most uplifting post! I love being high up with views and clean air.

    1. Thank you, Sarah. Preparing to post is like spending some time in each of these places with people I love. Thanks for coming along! I am WAY behind in my blogging and need to do some catching up. I hope your winter writing is going well.

      1. There are definitely not enough hours in the day D: It’s so easy to feel guilty about getting behind with blogging. I’d like to check out everyone immediately who comments or starts to follow me, but am WAY behind with that, too. Meanwhile, the winter writing is gaining momentum. Hope yours is too.

      2. I know what you mean. I am getting blogged down! Trying to do a little catching up, when I should be writing. Today I have the whole day to sit and write, and this was just the little nudge I needed to get me going. Best of luck, Sarah.

  22. I agree. Nice series.

    1. Thank you for your visit. I really enjoyed your blog. What amazing photos!

  23. dogear6 says:

    I really enjoyed that. Where are the photos from? It seems to be from all over the world. I’m on my lunch break right now, but plan to look at them again more closely tonight. Your decision to post less frequently is certainly showing results when you put something as wonderful as this out there for all of us to drool over.


    1. Dear Nancy,
      You are so so sweet! I know there is some unobtrusive way to label photos, but I don’t know how. I will just tell you, in order, where the photos are from. Norway, Argentina, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, Switzerland,the fire on the mountain is from Central Washington, (I think the glacier is in New Zealand), Canadian Rockies, Grand Tetons, Mt. Rainier, Banff, Hurricane ridge in Olympic National Park, Switzerland, Switzerland, Alaska, Banff, Argentina, Olympic National Park, Olympic National Park, Norway, Olympic National Park, Colorado, Tetons, Mt. Rushmore, Argentina, Switzerland, Switzerland, Switzerland, Norway!

  24. Love your photo journeys and how you share them with those of us that can not get out to see these places! You are a wonderful photographer and writer. Through you I have traveled places I have never actually been nor realized the beauty of thank you so very much!!

    1. Dear Len,
      Thanks you for your very kind words. It is a pleasure to share the journey!

    1. It was really fascinating. Way up at the top of the mountain in the Alps, teetering on this little ledge, is a hostel where climbers can buy a beer and a bed. There is a little mule in a pen on the other side of the house. In Switzerland, like nowhere else I’ve been, you can feel like you are in the rugged wilderness on top of the world, and then come upon a couple of goats or cows with bells clanging on their collars. Or find a little cafe on a trail in the middle of nowhere and stop in for a cup of Ovaltine!

  25. What a treat. So many marvelous pictures. I smell the air without having to leave my chair. Outstanding, Naomi.

    1. Thank you, Tess! I had fun with this one.

  26. restlessjo says:

    Naomi, this is so beautiful. I nodded and smiled all the way through. Love that Hawaiian proverb- I’d never heard it before. Exceptional work.

    1. Hi Jo,
      Thank you for sharing your very generous thoughts. I love proverbs–the wisdom of a culture and people condensed into one short phrase.

  27. What a fascinating photos you have my dear.:)

    1. Thank you, Yen-Yen. So good to hear from you!

  28. Love this one, Naomi! It reminds me of a line one of Theodore Roethke’s students is purported to have used in a poem: “Life is a river, with a beggar at the end.”

    1. Hi Cathryn,
      Thanks so much for sharing that quote. This reminds me of the seeker who spent years in search for the meaning of life. Finally he heard of a wise hermit who lived at the top of a mountain. By the time he got there, he was in rags, the soles of his shoes worn down to nothing.
      “Please tell me, what is the meaning of life?”asked the supplicant. The wise man was silent for a moment, and at last he replied, “Life…is a river.”
      “What? You mean I’ve come all this way just to hear you tell me that life is a river?”
      The hermit looked surprised. “You mean it’s not?”

  29. Wow…..what a beautiful journey, Naomi!

  30. Amy says:

    Gorgeous scenery! What an inspiring post, Naomi!

    1. Hi Amy,
      Thanks so much for visiting, and taking the time to share your thoughts.

  31. Elyse says:

    Great piece, Naomi.

    It reminded me that at the top of one of the mountains in the Swiss Alps, we saw a “no high heels” sign ( Cracked us up!

    1. Dear Elyse,
      That photo was taken in the Swiss Alps. I wouldn’t be surprised if we each photographed the very same sign. It struck me as so funny that I couldn’t resist snapping a photo.

      1. Elyse says:

        Aren’t they spectacular, the Alps? I only saw the sign that one time in the Jungfrau region, at the top of the Schilthorn. Hilarious! Great pictures.

      2. There is nowhere else quite like them! Going through these photos has made me want to go back.

      3. Elyse says:

        I lived outside Geneva for 5 years, with a view of Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva. I want to go back every day!

      4. What a cool experience! Some of my mother’s family were potters who came from a little village called Bonfol, just outside of Porrentruy. The industrial revolution put them out of business, and they were the first in their village to emigrate to the US in the 1830s. We went to visit, but only just scratched the surface. I would love to return for a more extended stay.

      5. Elyse says:

        Five years wasn’t quite enough …

      6. Were you working there? Did you meet and get to know any Swiss people? How did you spend your free time?

      7. Elyse says:

        My husband worked at the WTO, I worked at the WHO (but not right away). We knew a few Swiss but they aren’t the friendliest bunch. I have a bunch of posts on it filed under Geneva stories (I just looked and there aren’t all that many).

        This one sums up the experience pretty well, though:

      8. Hi Elyse,

        This was the refresher I needed. Now I recall having a fun exchange with you about that. I do recall that the Swiss were not particularly friendly–and their national policies reflect that insular nature. I think I’d rather just visit.

      9. Elyse says:

        I may have to do a post on the Swiss and weird experiences there. I haven’t been back for a while! And it’s so much cheaper to do it via blog.

      10. I would be VERY interested in reading that, Elyse!

  32. pattisj says:

    Beautiful photos. Oh, the places you’ve been!

    1. Hi Patti,
      Thank you for the visit, and for taking the time to share a comment.

  33. What a wonderful journey or set of journeys indeed. Life is also indeed a journey 🙂

    1. Dear Claire,
      The image of life as a journey is very fitting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  34. Beautiful photos and lovely writing.

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

  35. tita buds says:

    My favorite part: ‘No one can climb it for you, but oh what a trip…’
    True, true.

    I really like these photo essays, Naomi, especially since I’m sure you have a ton of pictures from your travels to select from. HOW you manage to always find the right photos for your words is beyond me. It’s not as if it’s of just one place or one thing either. You show us both the vast landscapes and the little creatures and it all comes together perfectly in these posts. 🙂

    1. Hi Tita,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and your very kind comment. Before I understood the mechanics of posting, I would sometimes push the wrong button and accidentally publish post instead of previewing it. My husband would say, “Write the post first and then copy and paste it into place.” But that would never work for me, because I don’t know exactly what I want to say, and what I say is sometimes influenced by the photo. I go back and forth between photos and words, and when the light comes on in my head, I know which just pictures to add in order to make it flow better.

      I do have a large library of photos to choose from. Digital photography has made it practical and affordable to snap plenty of pictures on a whim, and those are often the photos that prove most interesting.

  36. TBM says:

    Oh man I love the chipmunk photo! He has attitude!

  37. Kavi says:

    Hi Naomi, as always, the words you choose are perfect for each picture 🙂 Your photo narratives are so enjoyable !

  38. Sheila says:

    This is such an inspirational blend of photos and words. I’ll have to remember to keep coming back to this post whenever any inspiration is needed (and that’s pretty often)!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, and for your kind words. I look forward to seeing you again!

  39. Imelda says:

    What grand photos! Lovely post.

    1. Thank you, Imelda. It’s nice to hear from you!

  40. eof737 says:

    Beautiful photography… I think life is a bit of both and more… 😉

  41. Awesome post, gorgeous shots. Great incorporation of people in them. Love the last one, is that your daughter? They also say life is a beach. I say it can be many things but the one that resonates with me the most has always been a mountain.

    1. Thank you! After visiting your blog, that is quite a compliment! Yes, that’s my daughter Bea, who is now a college freshman. I picked photos from many of our family trips, and they do span the years.

      I include people in my photos whenever I can, or take one of the same shot with and without. I almost always use the one with people, not just for scale, but because those are the ones that trigger the memories that draw me back to a certain place.

  42. nymuse88 says:

    That was phenomenal and so inspiring! Thank you!

    1. Thank YOU for the visit. It’s good to hear form you.

  43. roweeee says:

    What an inspirational post and your photos are awesome! Breathtaking!

    1. Thanks so much for your visit, and for taking the time to comment.

  44. My Tropical Home says:

    I’m catching up….loved these..I love the mountains too and miss seeing them. I get so much energy just being around them…which reminds me…we need to get out of town soon!

    Thanks for sharing this with us.


    1. Dear Mary,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for sharing your generous thoughts–I do think there is something so fresh and energizing about fresh mountain air. Putting this post together made me eager to go back. I hope you get there soon too.


  45. Amazing pics Naomi and a great message ~ good to make your acquaintance

    1. Hi Polly,
      Thanks so much. I had fun visiting your blog. Good to meet you!

  46. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Wow, these photos… they are just wow and wow and wow. The little inn in the mountainside!!

    A great message, great post – balanced. Cheers 🙂

    1. Thank you for your visit. That was a really special place–the kids loved petting the animals in a little stable area built into the cliffside. That’s not too far from the spot where maternal ancestors came from–I’d like to go back and explore so more one day. I really appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts.

  47. Thank you Naomi,
    These are beautiful pictures. Pictures one cannot forget.

    1. Dear Micheline,
      Thanks so much for visiting!
      All the best to you too!

  48. frizztext says:

    nice DOWN sign for cars!

    1. Thank you, Frizz! It was quite a roller coaster ride down that mountain.

  49. Amy says:

    What a hiking experience. Thank you for taking us along, Naomi! Love both photos and quotes. Great post!
    Have a fun weekend!

    1. Thank you, Amy. Maybe it’s spring fever, but putting together this post made me very eager to get back out on the trails. I sure appreciate your visit.

  50. Great analogy and love the pictures 😉

    1. Thank you, Charlie! I appreciate your stopping by.

  51. Kourtney Heintz says:

    Thanks Naomi. It was like a breath of mountain air flowed through my room. You are my perspective guru. 🙂 And the pictures are melded so well to the words. They made me smile.

    1. You are too sweet! Thanks so much for your generous response.

      1. Kourtney Heintz says:

        Just being honest. I love stopping by your blog for a spoon full of perspective. Makes the day so much easier to get through. 🙂

  52. Madhu says:

    Oh Naomi, what perfect analogies! And such beautiful images. The one of the cobweb is indeed precious. Thank you for a wonderful post 🙂

    1. Dear Madhu,
      Thank you so much! This one was very close to my heart.

  53. Julia Kovach says:

    Love love love this! Sometimes the photographs carry the message, and our words just help them along……..this is the case here. Your photographs are stunning and your words, though brief, say all of the important things beautifully. Well done. xoJulia

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Julia. I think of this as a new kind of storytelling! I love the visual aids! Warmly, Naomi

  54. Sartenada says:

    Wonderful set of photos. I do love all of them. My favorite is the fourth photo from the top.

    1. Thank you so much! I love that photo. It’s my daughter, and it always makes me feel tender too. I sure appreciate your visit and your taking the time to comment, and look forward to visiting your blog too.

  55. A wonderful collection, Naomi! Makes me want to get out and about to some mountains even more!

    1. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your stopping by.

  56. jaajaabor says:

    what a lovely post !!

    1. Thank you so much for visiting, and sharing your thoughts.

  57. Miss P says:

    Such glorious photos. Thank you for sharing and giving me the chance to escape in my mind through your pictures for some moments.

    1. Dear Miss P,
      I love the idea of escaping into a moment or a place through a picture. Thank you for sharing that lovely thought with me!

  58. Genie says:

    WoW, that’s so beautiful and inspiring.

    1. Hi Genie,
      Thank you so much for stopping by, and sharing a really generous comment.

  59. rfljenksy says:

    Where was the house on the mountain. or in the mountain. Amazing.

    1. Thank you, thank you! The house was built into a cavelike overhang. There was a little chapel and animal pens that were actually built right into the mountainside.

      1. rfljenksy says:

        Humans never cease to amaze me.. did you actually visit this place (I’m guessing so) .. how do they get to this house? I’m so fascinated. I’ve been following a homesteading page and some of the houses are AMAZING.

      2. It amazes me that in Switzerland you just hop into a little cable car and take the escalator to the top of the mountain. We did that, and then we hiked in to this place that is actually a very old house and is now a hostel for hikers and climbers. I have a strong nesting instinct, and seeing little houses, cottages, and unusual homes always makes me wonder what it would be like to live there.

  60. bulldog says:

    Damn.. you’re good at this…

    1. Thank you! Takes one to know one. I appreciate the follow, and look forward to following your blog, which is top notch.

  61. Kate says:

    Made me want to climb a mountain (or at least a reasonably sized hill). The variety of pictures is amazing, you look at the idea of a mountain from so many different perspectives. Can you imagine sitting and writing from that little house with such beautiful views? You’d feel like you could do anything.

    1. Hi Kate,

      Thank you for your visit, and for sharing your wonderful thoughts! My artist sister would go with a group of friends to paint the Mendenhall Glacier, and they’d all be facing this impressive landscape, all painting this huge big picture. But Con would see worthy subjects in the underbrush, or the beauty of a pine cone, and focus on trying to capture the smaller picture.

      And I LOVE the idea of a mountain writing retreat. My fantasy is to go away for a couple of months each year to work on a novel, exploring the landscape and culture, while also focusing on writing. A villa in Tuscany, a Swiss chalet, a thatched roof cottage in the English countryside. I actually went to England twice to gather local color and folklore before I wrote The Keeper of the Crystal Spring, and to Italy for inspiration for my novel Real Troopers, which is set in Tuscany. But the purpose was always to research, not to write. That’s definitely on my to-do list!

      1. Kate says:

        We share a fantasy. I’d add Scotland, particularly the island of Islay where they have the most amazing beaches and this amazing community garden full of fresh food including the most perfect looking strawberries. The majority of the roads are single track and you often have to stop driving because livestock is blocking the way. When you pass another car the driver almost always will wave hello.

        In terms of England, I’m a Yorkshire lass and hence naturally biased to a white rose way of thinking.

        The other part of my perfect dream would be cooking for guests. I love having lots of guests, and lots of food all done from scratch. There’s something beautiful about sitting down to eat your own creation and share it with friends and family. My little cottage would need a large kitchen and ideally a large dining room table.

  62. adinparadise says:

    What a fabulous post, Naomi! I love the quote about tripping on molehills. It’s so very true. Your photos are awesome. It’s hard to choose a favourite, but I’ll plump for the last one. Amazing pic. 🙂

    1. Hi ad,
      Thank you so much! I love that last photo too. It is so Beatrice! I sure appreciate your sharing your very kind thoughts.

  63. All the shots are absolutely breathtaking and fascinating Naomi!!
    Wow, you have a great eye!!

    1. Hi Pablo,

      So good to hear from you! Thank you for your generous comments. I had fun pulling this one together. Finding good photos of mountains is like looking for a bad photo of a beautiful woman. It can happen, but there are so many lovely photos to choose from!

  64. I totally agree, life is like a mountain… And your pictures are the best!

  65. Thank you, Maggie. I appreciate your comment. Your blog is rich with rugged majestic mountains of Norway.

  66. Naomi–The captions were perfect for the meandering trip through your beautiful travel photos.

    1. Thank you, J.A.! So nice of you to stop by!

  67. Beautiful place!!! Really great shots!!!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by. This post was really one of my favorites to pull together.

  68. Jamie Dedes says:

    … and I enjoyed this: the second time around actually. It is filled with fun and fantacy and again, a bit of a message.

  69. These should be bound in a book. Such exquisite pictures and great advice.

    1. That is such a very high compliment! Thank you so much.

  70. Wow, Naomi, great photos and captions. What a lovely trip through your site. 🙂 Paulette

    1. HI Paulette,
      Thank you for your visit, and for taking the time to share your thoughts. Best wishes, Naomi

  71. themofman says:

    Great series of shots.

    1. Thank you! I appreciate your stopping by.

  72. Stunning and awe inspiring!

    1. Thank you so much!

  73. Wonderful photographs and like the 4th one.What mountains are in the background (it can be glorious) ?

  74. Hi Mary,
    Thank you for your generous comment. I am not sure exactly which mountains we were looking at, but I can tell you that we were looking down into a fiord in Norway. Norway has some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen.

  75. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have
    truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case
    I will be subscribing in your rss feed and I’m hoping you write again soon!

  76. restlessjo says:

    Wishing you joy this Christmas, Naomi 🙂

    1. Dear Jo,
      Thank you so much. A very Merry Christmas to you to, and a Happy New Year filled with wonder and joy.

  77. By the looks of the photos, you are definitely on the right path. Well done photos, well done life.

  78. badfish says:

    love all the photos, and especially the words!!

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