Driving Into The Storm

5-18-2017

I drove down the mountain this evening to see a friend. We hung out for a couple of hours knitting and talking while her youngest child tried very hard not to go to bed: “I need to use the bathroom, I need a glass of water, I need to tell you something, I need to say goodnight to the gold fish, I’m too hot and itchy to sleep” She got increasingly creative. The humidity had increased to uncomfortable as a storm was brewing. We had three wonderful warm sunny days to build energy that promised to make a wicked thunder storm. As I got ready to leave, thunder was rumbling in the distance and lightening flickering behind the trees, noise and light coming from the direction I would soon be traveling. The storm was over the mountains and quickly headed this way.

As my car finally attained the main road, the wind kicked up buffeting my vehicle, and spewing new green leaves, flower petals, and litter across my path. The first tiny preliminary rain drops fell, spattering on the pollen coated windshield. Lightening arched across the night sky, illuminating the landscape with strobing electric blue light, the mountain (my home) a dark silhouette on the horizon. The pursuing darkness was blinding. Another couple of miles down the road and the sky opened up dropping a deluge, slowing my progress, wind pushing the car around, so that I had to hold tightly to the wheel. Lightening everywhere so that the darkness was almost effervescent. The bolts streaked across the whole sky, too numerous to count, blanketing blue, purple, white, and pink through the roiling clouds. Searing thick pulsing electric bolts hit the earth, revealing black mountain tops solid against the shimmering boiling strobing purple night sky.

I actually got a little nervous at the ferocity of the chaos erupting around me because I knew that kitties at home don’t like thunderstorms and I wasn’t there to comfort them. I however, love the thrill of experiencing thunderstorms: seeing lightening dance in the sky and the pink sparks and flames shower upward where it hits the earth, hearing and feeling the tremendous thunder shock rattle through the house, smelling ozone in the air from all the electricity, the tingling sensation of electric air, the humming sound rocks make right before lightening strikes, the sudden chill of gusting wind before the hail starts, the immense power and surging energy unleashed, sudden, random, and violent. Then when the storm passes, the perfect peace and tranquil quiet that follows after mother nature has blown off all her steam.

This storm passes quickly, as most thunderstorms do in the mountains. Ten miles down the road, headed up, I drive out the other side. Rain fitfully sputtering, steam rising off the the wet pavement, giant frogs all over the road soaking up the heat. I try not to run over them. Back at home, the rain has washed the pollen away, refilled the rain bucket, cooled of the oppressive humidity, and given all the plants a drink. As I step out of the car, the stars are visible through the last high wispy trailing clouds. Inside, the cats greet me lovingly, and we all climb into bed.

Turkeys

3-30-2017

Coming home from work, thinking of all the things one thinks about while driving, lists of things needing to be done, lists of groceries and supplies needing to be purchased, lists of projects whose next stage needs to be accomplished, lists and tasks. The winding road follows a creek, steep hill, wide field, creek, more fields, forested hillside leading up the mountain. I notice an odd grouping of black lumps in the far field, and slow down. Looking more closely, I realize they are wild turkeys, maybe 50 or more. I pull over to the side of the road and watch. From this far away, individual features are indiscernible, but I can see how the group interacts and behaves. They are slowly making their way across the field, picking and pecking at the ground and each other when one get too close to another’s personal space. Although they are in several smaller groups within the bigger whole, the individual turkeys wander from group to group as some walk faster and slower than others. An altercation breaks out, one turkey runs wings flapping akimbo, another chasing it, neck stretched out, head down, sharp beak at the ready. It’s over just as suddenly. Off to one side and separated by enough space to enhance the show are three males. I can tell they are males from the display! Tails open, spread out in layered feathered fans, wings down, pointed, dragging on the ground. Strutting around in circles, surveying their domain. I’m impressed, even if all the other females ignore them and keep on foraging.

Bird in Flight

3-21-2017

Coasting down the steep hill near my house, bare grey tree trunks swishing by in a blur against the snow covered ground. As the car swings around a corner, the forest gives way to an open field that slopes steeply down to the creak, a wide open expanse of blue grey white snow mirroring the monotonous low grey sky. A single large black bird hangs suspended over the open expanse, below the level of my car. The quality of evening light obscures all details, casts no shadows, this bird is a moving silhouette, its stark blackness standing out from the surrounding fuzzy grey world. Three wing beats, a dip to one side and it glides away, blending into the grey trees at the bottom of the hill along the creek edge. I too can glide away over the fields, fly into eternity, with beating wings, beating hearts, and raucous call from the wild spaces in my soul.

Snowing Up

3-20-2017

Another whitish grey morning, overcast grey light illuminates an overcast grey landscape. Blustery, blistery wind throws biting stinging snow shards into my face and eyes as I carefully power walk for the car over the slippery, uneven frozen ground. Sitting in the driver’s seat, the heater blasting its first frigid air onto the windshield to defrost, the car is buffeted by ferocious gusts of wind. The sky itself seems mostly clear (it’s not actually snowing), but with an early glowing white color instead of blue; the sun is sleeping late today. Snow is swirling crazily, shifting one way, then another, then swooshing past in a furious gushing torrent. I start the drive to work. Passing an open field, I see the wind drunkenly running around tossing snow into the air ahead of itself. Snow devils, whirlwinds, mini tornadoes of snow spiraling up, long tangled tresses of streaming snow hair whip up from the field, diaphanous white sparkling veils of snow billow around up into the air, twirling gauzy snowy fabrics swishing in every direction at once. . Old man Winter’s gypsy daughter is dancing with abandon, throwing herself into the intense passion of the howling wind, embracing the chaos, deliriously loosing herself in the glorious glittering gale. “It’s snowing up!” I say out loud as the tremendous snow dance slams into my car, swerving me to the edge of the road and whiting out my vision. The mighty energy force of this tenacious dance is awe inspiring. I watch the wind and snow swing across the road and tumble up the hill disappearing between the dark trees. Wow!

Stream Frost

3-19-2017

Driving to work , numbing frigid morning, sun obscured by a continuous monotonous whitish grey sky. The kind of light that drains color, turns the whole world into a monochromatic grey-scale. Bare trees are tall black silhouettes against dark white snow, their leafless branches a random tangled blur of dark grey against the brighter somewhat illuminated sky and snow covered ground. The merest hint of shadows are indistinct fuzzy greyer outlines giving the snow a surreal quality. The field across the road is cold weak milky white, all its contours smoothed away becoming one with the sky and hills beyond. The diffused light confuses my brain with a powerful urge to go back to sleep because obviously I’m still in dreamland. Crossing a bridge over a flowing rippling dark blue grey creek, I slow down on the icy road and am mesmerized by the sinuous tendrils if mist delicately spiraling up from the slightly warmer water. Silently, persistently wrapping around every single little and large branch and twig, stem and trunk, of every brown grey blade of dead grass and weeds, bushes, and trees next to the gurgling dark water. There the secretive mist freezes solid into a thick frosty icing coating. These white frost crystals seem to glow dully in the morning half light, as if lit from within and the light scatters through the opaque layer of white ice frosting. Maybe its the life force of all those sleeping plants singing a song of spring, gently humming, biding its time, waiting for the perfect moment to burst out in its full operatic symphony chorus, but for now it is impatient, and trapped in the crystallized ice of winter’s grey and white freezing weakening grip.

This is what winter is supposed to look like!

Not surprisingly, I have managed to get woefully behind in writing the daily magic moment.  Such is life!  I will try to catch up again.

3-15-2017

Early morning, glowing yellow sun just above the horizon, obscured behind glowing silver grey clouds,. Driving slowly, the roads have been plowed, but are a frozen mess. The whole entire landscape has been turned into a winter wonderland, with sunshine trying to break through the snow flurries still swirling. There are piles of bright white snow along the road as tall as my car, undulating drifts in the fields, a frosty white coating on all the evergreen bows and all the bare branches of the leafless trees. Every building’s roof has a 3 foot thick layer of blue white snow settling in for a long slow melt. Cars are buried, large rounded lumps, some with windshield wipers sticking out like some sort of science fiction insect. People are shoveling out driveways, walkways, and front porch steps. A brisk gust of wind blows snow off the ground across the fields and road and quickly dissipates. I turn down the access road to the ski slope, and slow even more, I have my electronic gadget out taking quick pictures out the windshield of the winter magic happening around me. This is what winter is suppose to look like! We haven’t had this kind of big snow in several years!

Barred Owl

3-11-2017

Driving home form yoga class, taking the narrow steep road the goes over the hill instead of the longer one that goes around it. Dark overcast night, cold and breezy, I am climbing up the hill, headlights illuminating the trees above me on the incline. I notice something large on a limb just inside the circle of light. I slow down as I get closer and the grey lump morphs into a barred owl. I come to a complete stop and turn off the headlights, leaving the yellow running lights on. I open the windows and turn off the radio. The owl silently watches my car. I am sure the headlights have temporarily blinded it. It sits on the limb contemplating this annoying human who has disturbed it nocturnal hunting. In the dark the world is all shades of black and dark grey. The owl is fluffed up against the chill and its white and dark striped feathers almost glow in the darkness. I am in awe of its majesty, its beauty, wildness, and mastery of the night. I want it to call out but all it does is sit, still and silent. After a few minutes, or seconds, (its hard to tell how much time passes when time stands still), it takes flight. Just a flick of motion, wings open wide, fluffy legs askew, swoop, swerve, and gone into the shadows of the forest, all in absolute silence. As I turn my headlights back on and continue up the hill I think about owls calling in the night.