Listening To Silence

1-2-2018

Standing on the porch, twilight dusk filling all the shadows to darkness. The air is still, trees are calm, the world seems to be holding its breath against the penetrating cold. I stand and listen, the only sound beyond my own heart beat and breathing is a muffled constant soft hushed hissing sound, like white noise. I realize it is the flowing water in the creek muted by the covering of snow and ice. The water flows all winter under the ice, but it too is silenced by the oppressive cold. I stand and listen to the impressive silence, no creaking of frozen branches, no musical tones of wind chimes, no soft skittering sounds of small burrowing rodents or wandering night creatures. Nothing but complete silence. It is breath taking, this numbing cold silence, while the brilliant stars come out and twinkle in my eyes one by one.

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Happy New Year

1-1-2018

I had a long critical think on whether or not to continue this blog. I started it partly as a new adventure, but mostly because I wanted to remind myself of all the beautiful little things in live that make it worth living. There are so many magical moments we overlook, never notice, or maybe see and then promptly forget. I want to be a part of the beauty and magic, touch the whimsical, dance with the ephemeral, be one with the greater universe.

It is difficult keeping up with a daily blog, living life tends to get in the way of sitting down and writing. Often, on various adventures for work and play, I am nowhere near a lap-top or reliable internet.

Three years ago, when I was chronically depressed, I started a small diary of magic moments. I needed to keep track of something small each day as a reason to continue to the next day; I eventually gave up keeping the diary. I looked through that book a while back and saw several weeks in a row where I had written “nothing special happened today”. I then remembered how I would go to sleep at night telling myself that tomorrow would be better, it had to be better because today was the worst day of my life. The next day would then become the worst day of my life. I know it sounds melodramatic, but it is a vicious cycle, and it is hard to break free of it. You have to go a little crazy, change your behavior and attitude. Antidepressants and therapy were essential.

I went off the antidepressant in March, with the understanding that I might have to start it again when the sunlight dramatically decreases in the winter. However, so far, so good. We are past the Solstice, so the days are getting longer, I am more active outside this winter than in years past (even with the polar vortex), I am practicing yoga and meditation on a regular basis, and feel good most of the time.

Yes, September and October were rough, but I am healthy, strong, courageous, and grateful. Its okay to have a few blue days once and a while, and sometimes depression is a normal response to the crap life can throw at you. You feel it, accept it, you let it go, and move on. You don’t wallow in it, perpetuate it, or let it define who you are.

I guess this is what these little magic moments are for me, my definition of the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. So I will keep this blog going. It may not continue as a daily event; the last couple of months it has been more like an every other week event, however I still believe in the magic of the world around us. Touch the whimsical, dance with the ephemeral, play with the spirit of nature, surround yourself with magic, and be one with all creation.

Year In Review!

12-31-2017

2017 was generally a good year. Last December I decided my New Year’s Resolution for 2017 would be to have more adventures. I believe I have lived up to that resolution. When making it I knew that not all the adventures would be grand ones. I wanted to have small adventuress, ones that happen in every day life that make it interesting, fun, and stimulating. Of course when one is purposely trying to find new experiences, looking for Hobbit Adventures, one runs into misadventures as well, and there have been some of those too.

The adventures stared last December when I cut my hair, yes it was an adventure for me (my hair was waist length and had not been cut since 1994), and that set the tone for the year! I now have a shaggy pixie bob which I still love a year later.

Next I started Flippin’ Gypsy on Etsy. I make colorful, whimsical, scarves, hats, jewelry, and decorations. I have only sold one thing so far, but I’m having fun with it. I have a ton of ideas too, so I’ll keep it going this year.

Other small adventures include: this daily blog, becoming a snowshoe guide for Windham Mountain, raft guiding for Beaver Brook Outfitters, and moving my summer base camp to their property. As a Beaver Brook guide I did several overnight trips in the Hudson Gorge, staying at campsites I had never camped at before, guided a paddle trip across Lake George, one across Sacandaga Lake then hiking to Fawn Lake, one from Blue Mountain Lake to Raquette Lake and hiking into Sargent Pond from Tioga Point, working at the Thurman Canoe Center and guiding several paddle trips down the Hudson from there, guiding a high water trip down the “Lower Gorge” of the Hudson (a section I had never seen before), and guiding a raft trip down the Sacandaga River. I made some wonderful new friends and rekindled some old friendships working there as well.

Other small adventures include, in no particular order: all the solo walks, hikes, and paddles, seeing the middle of Kaaterskill Falls, seeing North South Lake frozen, hiking to Westkill Falls with my husband, paddling Brown’s Tract with my friend, paddling Lake Durant, checking out several state parks I had never been in for paddling potential, bike riding with my mother, jumping off the big rock into the creek, breaking trail in 3 feet of fresh snow with snowshoes, riding the chairlift, buying my own snow pants, playing in the waterfall at the end of South Inlet on Raquette Lake, jumping off the big rock on Blue Mountain Lake, knitting everybody’s holiday gifts, snuggling with the cats, lounging in the hammock in the sun with absolutely nothing to do, hammock camping (the best!), planting and harvesting the garden, walking across the trestle at Railroad Rapid (no trains on this track), participating in a protest march in New York City, practicing yoga on the porch every morning before rafting, seeing a moose at my tent twice, inheriting a raft and two duckies and using them, doing flips off jump rock on the Hudson trip, and many many more!

The three grand adventures were the whirlwind trip south for July 4th to run the Shenandoah with friends I hadn’t seen in over 10 years, the raft guide reunion on Blue Mountain Lake, and the epic trip to South Carolina to see the total solar eclipse with my sister which included kayaking from the swamp out to the ocean.

Misadventures, preventable: twisting my ankle while rafting back in June (still not back to normal yet), scraping my foot on a rock while swimming in July which didn’t heal until September when I quit getting my feet wet (left a cool scar), burning my foot with boiling water while camping in September (also scarred), getting eaten alive by insects in SC (I broke down and bought some actual Deet repellent), receiving several tic bites and having to go get the Lyme prevention antibiotic, all the times I froze my tush off in the rain because I wasn’t dressed warm enough, getting slightly lost in the woods on top of Windham Mountain while solo snowshoeing in a snow storm as night was falling, almost flipping my raft in a hydraulic in high water and having half my guests swim.

Misadventures, beyond control: having the well water go red and silty all spring and summer (I carted water from the Adirondacks home every week for us to drink), loosing my grandfather last August at 96 years old, I love him and miss him, being diagnosed with breast cancer and then lumpectomy surgery to remove it (early detection saved my life!), and getting bronchitis 3 times in 3 months.

So now that 2018 is here, I think I will keep a good thing going, my resolution for 2018 is to keep having adventures, take the back roads, try new things, take a walk on the wild side, keep life stirring, lively, provocative, intoxicating, groovy, and full of zest. Even the little things in life are worth enjoying!

Deer In The Yard

12-30-2017

Pulling into the driveway, home from work, the twilight fading into winter darkness. I see large shapes moving at the far end of the yard. I stop the car mid turn, letting the headlights stop their sweeping arc and illuminate the garden and field beyond. A group of White Tailed Deer is nosing in the snow foraging for meager sustenance. Several grown females and a couple of yearlings notice my car and move away. The first bounding into the trees with white tail high, flashing a warning, the next few trotting quickly, the next couple no longer excited by my small “threat” walk off and disappear into the dark forest.

Moonlight On the Snow

12-29-2017

Crystalline darkness, purple haze, dark trees trunks and clattering branches, so cold that breath turns solid and falls like glitter into nothingness. Frigid black sky dome pierced with blue burning stars, their tiny light reaching across the cosmos to twinkle in my eyes. A large cold moon rises just above the hill, casting purple shadows across the glowing snowscape. Reflected moonlight on the snow is almost as bright daylight, but softer and much colder. The air is blue and purple and the ground is glowing while the big crystal moon rises higher above her domain. Reach out and touch the darkness, the blue moonlight shining on earth and above, become the moonlight, shifting shadows, and dizzy dreams.

Christmas Lights Under Snow

12-28-2017

Driving through town after dark, snow covering the tree branches and shrubberies. Christmas lights cheerfully aglow on people’s houses and in their yards. When the snow covers a bush with lights on it, the colors shine through the snow as a muted glow, a circle of soft radiant light, emanating from the depths of the snow. Gone are the individual bright sparks of colored bulbs, replaced with hazy spheres of glowing color, like mystical orbs, or fairy lights in the forest. The first time I saw Christmas lights under the snow, I didn’t realize it was a pretty accident, but thought it was a new fangled light display. Silly me! Mother Nature wins again!

Sunset Snowshoe View

12-27-2017

The snow shoe tours that I help guide at Windham Mountain are billed as a sunset tour. The guests get a package deal of snowshoe rentals, lift ticket, guided sunset hike, and a dinner at the upstairs restaurant. People seem to love this idea; the size of the groups of participants have ranged between 12 and 50 people, but average about 20 or so and ages have been all ages between 7 and 70+. I like being the sweep guide because I don’t hike very fast and there is almost always someone who is struggling to keep up with the main group, so I can go at their pace. I make sure the guests in the back are having just as much fun, it is not a race after all. Those of us in the back actually spend more time on the mountain enjoying the view! I also make sure no one gets lost or separated and that we all make it down safely even though it gets dark before we are off the mountain and back at the lodge.

Today was a first tour of the season, a special Christmas break tour on a Wednesday, instead of the usual Saturday evenings. It was another cold grey winter day with a pewter sunset over dark mountains. What was spectacular was the view of the valley with the town of Windham all lit up with Christmas lights twinkling merrily in the night with darkness creeping slowly and silently up the mountain side, the sky and snow covered ground mirroring the dark blue of infinity as the last of the sunlight faded away. Mesmerizing!