Aristides and Jane Pappidas moved from the Methow to Olympia about 18 months ago, but their connection to the valley remains strong. Aristides says “The Methow Valley was the best place I’ve ever lived in and while the visuals were and are and will continue to be spectacular, it was the people we met that made it so memorable.”
The people may be unforgettable, but it’s the dogs that seem to have captured Aristides’ artistic heart, since they are the subject of his photography show at Batdorf & Bronson in Olympia. The show, which runs through Feb. 4, is called “Methow Valley Dogs” and features ranch and working dogs as well as pets. “Methow Valley Dogs” was originally exhibited at Cinnamon Twisp Bakery in 2010 and it’s quite likely that many of you readers are the owners of the dogs in the photographs.
No one has complained lately about my fairly regular attempts to wring metaphors out of thin air, so I’m going to forge ahead here with yet another one. Consider yourself warned.
One evening last week I started skiing from the Winthrop Town Trailhead as light was fading, which meant that as I was returning from my ski, dusk turned into dark. I was classic skiing and couldn’t see the tracks, but as long as my skis were in them I was able to kick and glide right along. At corners and junctions, however, it became hard to find the tracks; I was relying on some sort of internal homing instinct to get back in the groove.
Just after I passed the pink flamingos (if you’re a Nordic skier you’ll know exactly what I mean), someone in a nearby house flicked on a porch light. The house wasn’t right on the trail, but the porch light emitted enough ambient light on the trail that I was able to faintly glimpse the classic tracks again. It was just a tiny glow of light, but it was enough to get me — literally — back on track.
Now here’s when I got all metaphorical, thinking about how sometimes all we need is some tiny glimmer of light to keep us going. And how easy it is to provide this light for each other. We all do this without realizing it — offer illumination to those around us. We often do it unintentionally, like the person who turned on that porch light. They weren’t turning the light on for me; they were just turning it on. I cost them no extra thought or effort; I caused them no burden. But a sliver of their light reached me and helped me stay steady on my course.
How simple it is, really, to provide a little radiance to others without sacrifice — to allow our own lights to shine a little brighter so that others may find their way.