The Original Mind of Imagination

Waiting for Her 1st Homemade Browies

Waiting for the 1st Brownies She Has Ever Made

Walt Disney once said, “Every child is born blessed with a vivid imagination.”

No truer words spoken. A perfect state-of-mind to enter life: full of curiosity and void of bias or preconceived notions of race, politics and status. Ahead, only the beauty of life waiting to be discovered.


Halloween Magic for the Young

Halloween Magic for the Young

Then the battle begins. The real world slowly creeps in and starts to chip away at the power of our imagination. Seeds of the uninspired are planted. Warped prejudices and materialistic thought take root, separating the mind from the simple beauty of life.

For some, this pure “original mind of imagination” is lost and in its place grows a closed stagnate mind, angry and frustrated with life. Therein lies the danger of getting older.

Horse Ranch on the Minam River, Wallowa Mountains

Horse Ranch on the Minam River, Wallowa Mountains

Conversely, there is not a better recipe for success of a child than building dreams, as inspiration and imagination keeps the mind evolving.

Last month I had a birthday, a day to celebrate my parents. They still inspire and not a day goes by where some lesson or dream created as a kid is re-visited, another reminder as to how lucky I am.

Parents and I at Lane-Riley Pond

Relaxing at Lane-Riley Pond

A day to celebrate their commitment in creating a world where imagination never disappears into despair, even in times of frustration or sadness.  There is no specific moment where the lessons they taught crystalized, instead a lifetime full of memories and experiences.

Our "Freakies Cereal" Ad in the Wallowas Amid the Rain...

Our “Freakies Cereal” Ad in the Wallowas Amid the Rain…

The above photo is one of my favorites. It reminds me of family and the importance of keeping a positive and open mind, no matter what the circumstances.

The photo was taken when I was 10 years old in the Wallowa Mountains on vacation. Often, our vacations would include a little chaos whether something broke, someone got lost or something forgotten (I was pretty good at such things). There would be a sigh from my parents followed by a little laughter, and then they would make-do.

Pine Lake Adventures on Horseback

Pine Lake Adventures on Horseback

On this trip we took pack-horses up into the Eagle Cap Wilderness for a week of camping, and the normal fine summer weather of Eastern Oregon turned on us.

Steady rain the first night set the stage when at two a.m. a scream from my sister woke us all as water poured into our kid’s tent. Mom and Dad stepped out into the rain, saw the problem, and motioned us to pour into their tent where we slept for the remainder of the week.

The weather that night was just a precursor for the rain and chills that swamped us during the week.

Best Living Room in the World, my Mom and I couldn't help smiling when we were suppose to frown...

My Mom and I couldn’t help smiling when we were suppose to frown…best living room in the world

Three days into the trip, US Forest Service rangers stopped by expecting to rescue us, instead my parents rescued them with hot coffee and a fire under our makeshift shelter. A shelter I still refer to as the best living room we’ve ever had.

My parents had a knack for creating something beautiful when the situation called for the opposite.  We still talk about that cold and rainy week spent in the Wallowa Mountains, and unanimously consider it to be one of the greatest vacations we’ve ever had.

Along the North Skokomish River

Mom and Dad on the Staircase Trail

Mom and Dad, in the words of my 1980’s self, you both rock.

While it is a part of life to deal with bleak and sad moments, I know I can count on a seed of possibility to bloom in my mind when such times arrive. You’ve taught me difficult times often hold the rare opportunity to find and create something great.

Sisters and their horses bringing home dinner

Sisters on Their Horses, Bringing Home Dinner

As Walt Disney stated, every child is blessed with a vivid imagination but Disney also added that life can often zap such a gift before it can truly blossom.

The sadness and senseless violence we hear about in our daily news is derived from the fear of the unknown, the result of closed and unimaginative minds.

Brundage Mountain Ski Vacation, McCall

Brundage Mountain Ski Vacation, McCall

Fortunately, amid all the negativity we see around the world, it pales in comparison to the greatness and creativity of its children.

It is in the eyes of my nieces and nephews, the eyes of the children of my friends around the world; great minds full of dreams with ideas ready to lead.

The 'Rents and The Future

The ‘Rents and The Future

I give thanks to my Mom and Dad who fed my imagination, and along with family and friends who helped strengthen it over time.

The emotion and meaning behind the words I’ve written here hold something no language can describe. Instead, look into the eyes of all those you’ve touched and you will understand what I mean.

Happy Birthday Mom and Dad to the lives you have created.

On Hood Canal ~ Taking the Canoe to Hoodsport

On Hood Canal ~ Taking the Canoe to Hoodsport

Best Smile in the World...

Best Smile in the World…

217 Comments on “The Original Mind of Imagination

    • Thank you Maria ~ one great thing about photography is the power to capture & hold memories. Great thing about life is family and friends…put the two together and I’m pretty happy. Cheers to a great summer.

  1. This was touching. A reminder to us all how it’s not about the adversity that touches us, but how we react to it that counts. What a beautiful reminder of that concept.

    • Thank you Gunta, it was good to look back and see how the choice of being happy is a real choice. The one thing life is sure to do is bring adversity and for the small stuff, shaking of the head and a smile should do. Cheers!

  2. Beautiful post and sentiment and such a lovely tribute to your parents and your friends, Randall. The open faces and all the happy smiles work like magic, like healing something inside me. ❤ Childhood memories are so precious and you have made sure they cannot be forgotten. Your childhood was so different from mine in a different part of the world and still your images echo the true values of lvd, family and friendship.
    As a child I was having fun and a good time, now I'm more obvious to the impact of memories and the art of creating them in a positive way. Aren't we blessed to have been brought up like this. So many are not.
    Lost of love, and a big hug to you and your beautiful parents ❤
    Dina x

    • Thank you Dina ~ there is something powerful with childhood memories as they shape our values and how we perceive and live life as an adult. As with you, the simple concept of having fun exploring and living an adventure with family is something we should forever be thankful for, the power of love indeed. Wish you all the best!

  3. Coming back, friend. My iPad is not showing your images. Must go to my laptop ….. ❤

  4. Wonderful article Randall! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  5. Randall- This was so incredibly lovely. Your parents are indeed fantastic people and they must be so proud of you. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Shannon – thank you very much, and the best part is that this post could cover all the parents of my friends in Pendleton. We were truly lucky growing up with such people around us for inspiration. Cheers and wish you and everyone a great summer (see you at the Pendleton Round-Up I hope!). Let’er Buck 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing your family with us Randall. Clearly they’ve inspired your imagination, creativity and love for family and nature. You are lucky to have such good role models and seeds planted. blessings to you and yours, Brad

    • Thank you Brad, it is a great feeling to have such inspiration from my family, a synergistic energy among us. Fortunately I think there are many such parents all around ~ I think biologically we are set up this way ~ and as long as our imaginations run wild, inspired kids will keep this world moving forward. Cheers ~

  7. Treasured memories …. I especially like that you and your mum were smiling when you were supposed to be looking miserable. I recall rainy days on vacation were the best in my family too!
    Such connection and love all around.
    Thank you Randall! May we never loose our ability to imagine and love wholeheartedly 🙂

    • Running around in the rain can be a rush anywhere, a little sense of freedom. Thank you Val, it sounds like you and your family also appreciate the little surprises life throws around at times.

  8. Wonderful series. It brings back memories of my youth. The family would go on vacation every year about this time. We would meet up with my dad’s ham radio friends in the Colorado Mountains. Each family had kids the same ages and we would ride horses, fish and explore old mines. I’m not sure anyone does that type of vacation anymore.

    Parents should let their children be free with their imaginations. Our daughter had a wild imagination, and was considered weird, and we were considered weird for allowing her to be a free spirit, but we knew we were giving her an enriched environment. She is a genius, but we think a lot of that genius was cultivated by allowing her to use her imagination. She grew up multilingual, in a multicultural environment with animals, gardens, books, art, music, dance and theater instead of television. I see so many parents today that sit their children in front of the TV or video games as baby sitters instead of encouraging them to play and use their imaginations — our daughter thanks us for allowing her to grow up as a weird, free spirit, especially when she gets frustrated with how unimaginative and boring so many of the people her age are.

    • Agree, there is something about vacations where our imaginations are allowed to stretch out and run free. Getting out of the comfort zone is not easy, but it add a spice to life making it memorable and as with your daughter creates a free spirit. A mind able to create something unique no matter what the situation will have more options of happiness. Congratulations Tim ~ I admire parents like you very much. Cheers ~

    • The memories along with the photos made the words flow pretty freely. Thank you very much Hien.

  9. R.
    Several of your posts have brought tears…emotions brimming with smiles, memories happy and some not-so but cherished for what they were and are just the same. Reaching out….for the tissue box.

    • R.,
      To be able to bring tears with a post (happy or not-so-much) is a compliment that holds weight like no other, I think you understand this well. Thank you very much ~ R.

  10. Thank goodness for all our beautiful moments and the photos that leave us with these memorable moments. Priceless pictures.
    Shine On

    • Yes, combine the memories of the past with photos of the past, and it feels as if it was yesterday. Well said, and wish you a great summer ~

  11. Beautiful tribute to your parents! Thank you for sharing such personal and precious memories with us.

    • Memories, in a sense, make up all the lessons we will ever need in life ~ you’ve created great ones with your kids. Thank you Dana.

  12. Randall, this is such a treasure trove of heartwarming memories! Your photographs say so much about the cherished moments you have spent with your family, as do your loving words. Thank you for sharing them with us. Happy Birthday to your parents!

    • The memories of all the great vacations and times together with family is something else ~ part of the magic of life. Thank you Madhu for your words, it was nice to be able to find a place for these photos into my writing. Wish you the best during the summer ~ take care.

  13. Oh, Randall, what is it about your thoughts and images that leave me with tears in my eyes? I “feel” your emotion, that which is just not able to be committed to the written word, and that is what is making me tear up. How fortunate you are to have such memories, and to be molded by two people who refused to allow this world to bring them down. I so enjoyed your post, and darn if I am still not tearing up. Bless you, my friend, for sharing such a personal story with us. I am so touched. (((HUGS))) Amy ❤

    • The personal stories are always the hardest to share, but this one sticks out within our family so much ~ and to also have photos of such a time made this post cathartic. Cheers and thank you Amy very much.

      • You are ever so welcome, Randall. The pleasure was truly all mind. 🙂 ❤

  14. What awesome and interesting memories! Congratulation – you have really nice family! So inspiring post. Bye. Kamila

    • Memories are the best ~ especially when we can relive them when needed. Wish you well and safe travels Kamila.

    • Thank you Ssgt. Leslie (and Lizzy as well), there is nothing like creating memories with those you love. Cheers to a great summer for you.

  15. A fantastic post Randall! Tricia and I are about to board a plane back to Europe after visiting my parents for a couple weeks. Your post hit home. Thanks Amigo! 🙂

    • Love this, I’m heading back to the States in a month and there is nothing quite like re-connecting. Memories serve us well, when running around the globe it is nice to stop and think of home for perspective. Cheers Shawn, wish you and Tricia safe travels and continuous adventures this summer!

  16. Randall you look like you had one of those amazing childhoods surrounded by love and laughter. I had one of those too and I feel blessed. We had camping weeks down by the river (not as picturesque as yours). Lots of laughs and many adventures as a family. Your family looks gorgeous. Thanks for sharing a piece of you which helps me understand why you are so grounded. Family is everything.

    • Aren’t the memories always there? A feeling that never goes away, no matter where you may be in life. That is the one thing I really feel blessed with, the laughs and adventures that made life special and continue far into the future. Agree, family is everything. Just having this understanding makes life a bit more simple 🙂 Cheers Kat, and thank you.

  17. What a wonderful series of images.
    And yes, I grew up in a world filled with creativity and imagination too. But much of this seems to have gone as computers and modern technology become the ‘norm’.

    It takes conscious effort on modern day parents to revive and encourage crafts, being in nature, and choosing the alternative (to modern technology). It also takes time as many of todays parents both work long hours and fill the out-of-work hours with chores.

    • Modern technology does hit the vacations hard these days, but I still think the “getting in the car and just going…” is still there. I still am amazed at how much planning my parents must have done for our trips. As a kid, it was simple: “wake up, 3 minutes to pack and then get in the car to an adventure.” 🙂 Thank you Vicki.

  18. What a lovely post, Randy. Family’s beautiful, in more ways than one, and you obviously have some special parents. (DON’T you slip for a minute and take them for granted!! They are unfortunately a rarity in this world.) The wet one was the best vacation ever because of the attitude your parents held – mom, esp. And I love how you take us from the gray to the sharp white winter – of course a photographer’s trick. =)

    • Wonderful comment Diana ~ and agree, will never take them for granted…although I’m sure there was a time or two in the past, thank goodness for unconditional love 🙂 The bonding of vacations and being together sure do create something special ~ Thank you and I think your son would say the same. Cheers.

  19. Randy, I suspect this is a better gift to others than you will ever realize. What great memories for you and your family. I enjoy your posts more every time. Keep them coming. Thanks. kh

    • After all the Mother’s & Father’s Days I’ve missed since being over here, this was an overdue tribute to them ~ and so many memories. We’ve had a few ourselves (I was just searching for photos of our bike trip to the Oregon Coast with Allan the other day). There is something about great family and friends that makes Pendleton pretty special… Cheers Kevin, and look forward to catching up with you soon.

  20. Hello Randall,
    I hope all is well with you in HK. It was wonderful to see a new entry from you today.
    I believe your family is very touched by your tribute to them. It’s wonderful to know you’ve all been so loving and supportive of each other.

    Warm wishes,

    • Thank you Takami ~ yes, back in HK now and great to be able to get back to WP again 🙂 The support for each other was strong when we were young, and to my great surprise grows stronger every year! Lucky indeed. Wish you well ~

  21. A wonderful tribute to your Mum, Dad and family, Randall. It is such a gift to have good memories and these experiences together. A bond that cannot be broken. Great photos. Knowing people who never experienced this growing up, I am very appreciative of my family.

    • Having such memories is something I too feel lucky to have experienced, as you say many do not. Experiences once had can remain strong for so long, especially with family involved. Thank you Karen ~ such positive thoughts and always wishing you the best.

  22. You are a blessed soul!!! Keep up the lovely work. Your photos are so crystal clear and truly do capture precious moments and memories. May you and your family continue to uplift and elevate all those who come in contact with you. This was very lovely, as well as very creative and a sign of the beautifully nurtured imagination of a child that is fully intact. Bravo!!!

    • Those moments and memories can have such an impact, and something I am grateful for and very happy to see in the world today. Thank you very much for your nice words Donna ~

    • Thank you Charlotte ~ your description of my Mum’s smile is perfect, it lights up the day for me. As I see with you too, there is nothing quite like the support of family who appreciates the different paths we may choose. Cheers to a great summer for you!

  23. Ah, staying imaginatively vivid as we get older. The older we get, the more responsibilities we have and the more we think practical to survive and support others dependent on us in this world. I suppose that’s when life zaps the innocence of our imagination before it can grow and soar. Time is of the essence, but if we try and make time to reflect on what has been and what could be in the future, we open up our mind once again and see the world like we’ve never seen before. When we reflect, we think, we hope and we dream.

    What a lovely write up about your family camping’s adventures throughout the years. It certainly looks like it has always been a fun experience for all of you. I suppose your parents wanted all of you to experience life and nature for what it is and see the true beauty of this world. Lovely captures too.

    • So true Mabel, the pressures of life often can overwhelm the creative, imaginative side of our lives as practicality sets in…but as you say if we reflect and with caring parents/friends/family, then “we hope and we dream.” Life becomes beautiful. Thank you and wish you a great winter (hope you’re not too cold). At least your days are getting longer while ours are getting shorter 🙂 Cheers ~

      • “Life becomes beautiful.” Life becomes beautiful when we let ourselves free and see the world as it is, and think how we want to think. Life, is beautiful. Life is beautiful with nature and all those who matter around us, every single day.

        It is cold here in Melbourne, much colder than last year. But spring’s just around the corner. Enjoy summer and sunshine, Randall. While it lasts 🙂

  24. What a great testimonial to your parents. You are very fortunate to have them still. Beautifully written and great images as always.

    • Thank you Ron ~ yes, the older I get the more I understand the incredible life/commitment they gave. Makes loving life that much easier. Cheers.

  25. “Best smile in the world” ~ I hope you remind your mother, every chance you get, of the love you have for her smile. You two have similar smiles, Randall. Full of joy. You both radiate true happiness and contentment for life, which makes it easy to want to be part of your space.

    Thanks for sharing your family photos and memories with us. I understand where your heart was and is when referring to the best living room you’ve ever had. Oh, the memories of similar “less than stellar moments” you’ve resurfaced for me. Haha. My theory has always been to make the best of those moments. Giggles the whole way, I say. I mean what else are you going to do, right?!

    Each photo of your family new and old show such masterfully skilled hands. Who was providing the photography back then? Your abilities run in the family, it seems. Stunning. Right out of Time magazine, Dalo! My favorite photos are of the horseback riding and your sisters bringing back fish. Fantastic. Cherish the photo of you and your parents. You look like them both. Smiles. Hood Canal…I hope I have a photo of me doing the same thing one day. Perfect.

    Enjoy your summer, Photographer Philosopher Extraordinaire
    (Good to see you!)

    • My Dad did much of the photography in this post, I always was in awe of his Canon AE-1 and the slideshows we would have during the year…and those slide shows are still a lot of fun (although digital now). My mom’s smile always makes me feel good, even when I am on the other side of the world, and always nice to remind her how great it is 🙂

      Miss those great horseback, hiking and camping vacations ~ but there are new ones to have when I get back to the States this summer (hiking), so very much looking forward to those days. Enjoy your weekend Aud and have an incredible summer of adventure!

      • I rode this summer while in Colorado and had forgotten how beautiful it is to be lost in those moments. Man, do I love seeing life so close. Dalo, please enjoy your summer and your moments.
        Your dad must be proud of you!

  26. I really appreciated this post, I love seeing old pictures. It’s full of “history” ! I can see that you’ve had happy moments with your beloved ones 🙂 Thanks for sharing this personal moment with us ! Enjoy summer 🙂

    • Agree with the feeling of nostalgia that old photos can bring out, and even more so when they are of places and families that bring old memories back as if it was happening all over again. Thank you ~

  27. Your parents must have been so happy to read this. It is interesting that you write and photograph so beautifully and creatively and come from what appears to be a very functional family. Thanks for telling your story.

    • It was nice getting some feedback from my family on this ~ as always a bit strange for me to bring family into a public forum such as this, but it was great to relive the memories. As for a functional family and my writing/photography, I think I headed out to Asia to envelope myself in the chaos out here, and dis-functionality of business and red-tape that makes life interesting 🙂 Cheers ~

  28. What a great tribute to your parents and family. Being out in the open nature, one cannot help but activate your vivid imagination and make do. Parents are really good in igniting the children’s senses. Your photos bring back of our family’s “field trips” and i can relate to the rainy season. Your family is stunning,R! Enjoy the rest of your time with fam. P

    • There is something about being out in nature with those you care about ~ gets us back a little bit closer to that original mind of imagination, which is always a good thing. Enjoy the weekend and wish you well P.

  29. Nostalgia can be so beautiful…the charm of childhood never fades and pictorial memories are a treasured blessing! Your parents seem to be awesome examples of love, affection and adventure…No wonder you are such a loving son Randall! Thank you for sharing those endearing and memorable moments with us.

    • Absolutely agree, there is a feeling that comes from the heart when able to look back at moments in childhood and/or with great family and friends and sharing such adventures. The one aspect of life I will always treasure is the simple places we’ve been and made memories that can last forever (preferable with photos too!). Cheers Balroop, and thank you.

  30. What a wonderful tribute with so many truths. We spend a childhood learning lessons and it’s so important to have good families to learn the right ones.

    • Childhood is the time to learn to love life, and enjoy what is around us ~ and you are right, good families make this easier. Thanks Lyle ~

  31. What a lovely post Randall. bloggers don’t often share photos of their family moments and this was a really nice view into what’s made you the person you are today. I feel much the same about my own parents and 4 brothers, and sad for those who do not have such rich connections in their lives. It becomes even more important as we age. Thank you for sharing this slice of your life – it must have made your parents incredibly happy to see it!

    • The feeling was a bit mixed when I started to write about the original state of imagination, and realized that I wanted to bring in my family and our experiences/photos into my blog, but for me it was a perfect piece of timing. A way to give thanks to my Mom and Dad, and then to also share that with my sisters (and nieces & nephews). We are very lucky to have been born the USA where being able to create such connections without the stress of just surviving as we see throughout the world, which makes me even more thankful.

      You in a family full of brothers, and me in a family full of sisters ~ I think we could share some pretty interesting insights into family life 🙂 Wishing you a great weekend.

  32. A wonderful post, Randall. I can see how you grew up to be the person you are now. Still much of the original mind alive and well, just fine tuned by your journeys 🙂 I lost my mom in my teens, but my dad has been the anchor for me wherever I’ve been on this earth. Here’s to a beautiful summer for you, hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy your loving family!

    • Thank you Tiny, I think one of the biggest battles we face as we get older is losing that sense of questioning and inventing ideas that can build an imagination. Travels and getting out (even if just for adventures down the block) is key ~ wish you well.

  33. Tell your mother I love her.
    I was brought near to tears by the truth of your writing, on multiple occasions… but this time, there is that SMILE. I need no words, I just watch the pictures over and over again.

    That smile says everything. Now I nearly know why you became the wonderful person you are.
    Happy Birthday, once again.

    • Wonderful comment Luana, and my Mom will be thrilled to hear from you. There is something about having a true smile that reflects a life well lived. It tells a great story of a life lived, and the life to be lived and shared with all those around you. I think you know this very well with the life and adventures you’ve created for your son. Thank you ~

      • There is something about having a true smile that reflects a life well lived… exactly that is why I said I love her :). BUT there is a lot more and it has to do with how she is as a person. Seeing you smile by her side then, made such an effect on me!

        Regarding me and my son, I am just trying to do my best – and I always wish I could offer him more.
        Have a nice Sunday my dear. Wish you all the best.

      • Yes, a true smile is something worth finding in life ~ rare and special. Wishing you a great day as well.

      • True smile belongs to … true people.
        Integrity. That is what I found in the smile of your Mom.
        No wonder it now makes part from your own heritage.

      • Integrity, I like that ~ a smile can say a lot about a person. Take care.

  34. Beautiful moments, great photographs… and I truly think that a pic is worth a thousand words… as the saying goes… You have a lovely family… Blessing to yours and to you!. Sending you all my best wishes!. Aquileana 😀

    • These are the simple moments that can really help define a life, and in this case you are certainly correct – a picture is worth thousand words or more. Wishing you well Aquileana, thank you.

    • Thank you very much Annie ~ something about photos that can transport back or to the places I see is why I value them so much.

    • Thank you Adrian – always great to take a trip back to the past, to not only enjoy the time but appreciate the photos themselves 🙂

  35. Good to see a post from you, are you? Hope all is well 🙂 I love the old photos and these are wonderful treasures to remember by for many years to come. I wonder, if the younger generation now, will ever enjoy the fun adventures of being in the great outdoors without technology gadgets (no smartphones, TV, laptops, tablets, social media, etc) but just enjoy being in the presence of family and friends and having a good time?? 🙂

    • It was a nice break away from social media that I enjoyed, and it seemed appropriate to reminisce about summer and the vacations and relaxations of the past. Nothing quite like taking time to get away and see the simpler and truer pieces of life (family, cultures and friends). Thank you and wishing you a good one!

  36. It’s such a great thing to have so many beautiful childhood memories to treasure. What a great tribute to your family. I especially love that “First Brownies” photo. Pure delight! A wonderful post, as always! :))

    • Thank you Jeannie, that first photo was one of my favorites ~ I have this series of photos of her making her first brownies and then to watch her looking at them as they baked took me back to when I use to do the same with anything I made (or rather my Mom made with me there to lick-the-bowl). Cheers to a great day.

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