Gold and Silver

2-20-2017

Tromping through the woods, snow crunching underfoot, leaving big oval tracks where the snow shoes grip. Sun low on the horizon, golden yellow light pouring between the bare trees enriching all their glorious colors: tan, sand, taupe, fawn, toast, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, camel, caramel, coco, coffee, coffee and cream, rich, glowing, golden brown. They all are dazzling and warm in the yellow sunlight. The warmth is an illusion however, the shadow sides are dark, cold, ranging from whitish gray to black. Of course, I can pick which side to gaze at until the sun slips below the horizon, then the whole woods will sink into frozen winter darkness. But for now I can close my eyes to face into the sun, feel its week radiant heat penetrate the 8 or so sun minutes of space and earth’s long angled atmosphere to warm my face and light up the trees with its golden rays. The sky above is still pale blue, the leafless branches, silhouetted against it. I notice the half moon hanging quietly above it all, watching gracefully over the wintry landscape, waiting for darkness to shine her bright sliver self. Half a moon hiding behind and peeking around the illuminated branches as I walk. Silver moon and golden sun, white snow, glowing trees. Peace.

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Sunset on the Mountain

2-18-2017

Snowshoeing with a big group this week. I take up the sweep position, I like walking with the kind of people who end up last in the back. Its also much quieter when you’re removed from the main group. We all start out together, but quickly spread out to enter the woods trails (in the summer the mountain bikers use them). Our group hikes down to the bottom of a small saddle between two peaks and then up the other side. By the time we emerge back onto the ski trails, they are empty, the lift having closed some time ago. Its is just us and the sunset. We have a spectacular western view, with the sun sliding behind the sister peak we started out on an hour or so ago. The sky is a soft blue up high and fading into a fuzzy pale rainbow effect above the north eastern mountain ridges. You can see all the faint colors layered hazy and indistinct, pale blue darkening to purple, fading to red, bleeding to orange, shifting to yellow, turning to the palest green just above the dark mountains across the valley. As we descend we loose sight of the western sky, but watch all the subtle color changes as this side of the earth turn away from our fiery star. We come around a sharp corned and have another immense view of the west. Layers of bright orange, dark yellow, fluorescent pink, deep red, bruised purple, and where the sky peeks through the layered clouds, pale blue and palest yellow. These clouds reach out gently above us like giant fingers and fade to dark indigo toward the east. As we descend further, the colors deepen, strengthen, then fade away to darkness by the time we return to the base lodge. This is one of the many reason I enjoy snowshoeing!

Snowflakes

2-16-2017

This afternoon, my husband and I went on a short snow shoe hike together in the field across the creek from our house. We followed the edge of the creek where I showed him the beaver oasis where they have made several cascading ponds, then climbed a hill up to the forest line. Another partly sunny day, it was actually peaceful and romantic, doing outdoorsy stuff together. We found a small bird nest in a bush near the ground, still perfectly formed, and with some undisturbed fall leaves resting inside. We also discovered a small paper wasp nest starting to disintegrate in the punishing winter weather. There were all sorts of tracks, none really identifiable from the distortion of repeated melting and freezing and wind blowing more snow into their indentions. We stood on an eroding bluff above the creek and contemplated the beauty of the narrow hollow we live in, admiring the mountains that close in either end. But the thing that intrigued me the most on this pleasant meander were the lazy snowflakes. They were just floating around, not falling, just hanging out and meandering like we were. These snowflakes were slowly dancing in the air, not to many, because it wasn’t actually snowing, but throughout the whole walk if you looked up into the air you could see these happy little snowflakes flitting around without a care in the world. How joyous!

Tracks in the Snow

2-12-2017

I pull into the driveway and get out of the car, happy to be home from work. Looking out across the yard I see what looks like giant squirrel tracks in the snow. They are everywhere like a hundred giant squirrels were running through the yard. Closed examination doesn’t solve the mystery because the wind is blowing and has obscured the finer details inside the tracks. I go inside and tell Jonathan what I found. He smiles wide and laughs, and explains. Earlier in the morning, two mink had appeared in the yard and were having the time of their lives playing and roughhousing with each other in the snow. He followed them through every window as the circled the house, ran up into the woods only to reappear on the other side of the house still enraptured in their game. They were the happiest mink anyone has ever seen, chasing each other for many minutes. Before finally disappearing into the woods. Later I went out the fill the bird feeders and followed some of the tracks in their meandering rollicking, frolicking course, seeing in my minds eyes those two capering mink so joyful just to be!

Wise Old Tree

2-11-2017

Top of the mountain at sunset, white frozen snow blanketing the ground, bare brown trees reaching intricate lacy branches skyward. Up here all is bathed in glowing soft yellow light, the valley below is cast in deepening blue shadow. A shining golden sphere hangs just above the ridge. Sun rays make the snow almost hum with golden glory, and the brown trees absorb and reflect the golden light revealing all their luxurious chocolate, coco, coffee, caramel, and cream hues. I feel warm and cozy inside although the temperature is plummeting. One tree stands apart, ancient, bark-less in death, its trunk and core of its main limbs all that is left, still strong. Its polished wood shimmers like satin, is as soft and smooth as silk, the grain of its passing years as distinct as a map, showing anyone how can read the language its wise secrets. This tree stand luminescent in the golden light of sunset. How many more season will this tree stand majestic, giving shelter to raccoons, birds, and others? How many snow and and ice storms, how many rain storms? How many more golden sunsets? Enjoy what you have now while you have it to enjoy! Listen to the wisdom of the trees! I bask in the golden sunlight until the sun disappears and the top of the mountain is now in blue deepening shadow. Time to get back down to the lodge!

Good Morning

2-5-2017

Dozing, wanting more sleep, knowing I need to get up NOW or I will be late to work. One peacefully slumbering cat curled at my tummy using her mind powers to change my mind and stay with her. Drag myself out of the warm soft, snugly flannel sheets, groggy as feet hit the cold hard floor, legs don’t want to go downstairs, but have no choice. Blearily notice two cats on the window sill, attention on the bird feeder in the front yard. Stumble by, headed for the coffee pot, brain slowly interprets “squirrel” after glancing out the big picture window. So I turn around to take a better look. It is always amusing to watch the cats watch squirrels! This one is a small, shivering red squirrel perched on the porch railing. It makes a perfect picture: rusty fluffy tail twitching body and head bouncing with every taunting squeak, silhouetted against the blue snow of early morning twilight. Both cats are ready to pounce, tails swishing in agitation, whiskers and ears at standing rigid attention, hind legs tensed, fur ruffled, lips smacking, eyes following every nuance of that teasing squirrel. I step closer to see the whole scene. On the ground beneath the feeders are blue jays squabbling over black oil seed scattered on the snow. There among them, almost glowing in his brilliance against the whiteness of the snow covered ground, is one bright vibrant red cardinal. I stand mesmerized until he flies away meeting his orange beaked brown mate in the bare trees across the road.

All Caught Up!

1-29-2017

Driving through a snow shower, along a state highway, following a wide, shallow, fast flowing large creek/small river, winding through mountains along the valley floor. The sun breaks through cold grey lazy clouds shining down with dazzling sliver sunlight. The flurry of flakes disappears and the mountains are strong solid majestic and in shadow. Monochromatic dark blue to black, snow covered, layered rock ledges, bare trees, and evergreens. The mountain top is cirque like, convex, creating the shadow that covers it down to the valley floor. Swirling, blowing, boiling clouds of snowflakes shroud the ridge, translucent, vaporous. The lavender grey squall line clearly visible as it engulfs the darker mountain top, roiling along the ridge line out of sight behind me.

1-30-2017

Riding in the passenger seat motoring down the mountain on a state highway, one side of the road a steep rocky and tree covered cliff up out of sight, the other side a opens out onto a deep wide bowl valley. We are headed to friend’s house for dinner, heading north east, sun behind us somewhere obscured by the mountain, shadows thickening into darkness. Through the leafless tree branches that whiz by at 55 miles per hour, I get a quick glimpse of the thinnest sliver of a crescent moon shining silver in an indigo sky, all that’s left of the laughing disappeared Cheshire Cat. One star glimmers above the moon, shimmering in perfect harmony with the darkening expanse, last rays of sunshine fading behind the earth. I crane my neck, twisting in my seat against the seat belt, to have another vision of this glowing sliver moon and glistening sliver star before they are hidden from view as we glide around another curve headed down into the valley.

1-31-2017

Indulgence! One caffeine free Pepsi, one bag of Garden of Eatin’ Red Hot Blues (made with non GMO organic blue corn), one toasty glowing fire in the wood stove, four sleeping cats, one lap-top computer sitting, of all places, in my lap, and all the time in the world at my fingertips! Life is good on this frosty, frigid, overcast, snowy winter morning in our little cabin in the mountains!

February 2017

2-1-2017

Slowly backing into the icy snow lumped driveway in the dark, I look over at the day lily garden that surrounds a drainage trench in the front yard. There are a couple of metal wire (tomato) circle stands haphazardly leaning where I never bothered to remove them from the flower bed last fall. They look neglected and dejected, reminders of dead plants in a cold dark season. The snow has completely covered the mulch and dead leaves of last summer’s lilies, smoothed over the evidence of winters harsh killing frost. The snow itself is frozen over solid on top, ice blanket covering the earth. In my mind’s eye I see this bed in full bloom in July and August, lilies standing taller then me and covered in tubular flowers bigger than my head. A smile crosses my face as I realize the sleeping potential of rebirth laying in wait beneath this frozen landscape. Hibernating, resting, saving up its energy, waiting patiently for next spring.

2-2-2017

Swirling snowflakes, light, fluffy, flitting, flurrying, drifting around on minuscule air currents. Bright sunshine pouring down from the open bright pale expanse of sky, setting each flake ablaze with silver white sparkling frozen fire. Glistening, and glittering snowflakes from nowhere, takes my breath away.

2-3-2017

Lounging on the sofa, drowsy and daydreaming, warm fire and a softly snoring large cat sprawled on the back of the couch behind my head. Deceptively warm yellow sunlight shines through a window, sun low just above the horizon. A drifting light catches my attention, drawing my eyes to the wall across the room, many tiny bright concise rainbows swing back and forth across the area, thrown by the late afternoon sunshine hitting the prisms hanging on the porch for this mesmerizing yet short lived effect. Fill the house with delicate spinning rainbows and its hard not to smile.

2-4-2017

Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, 10 people tromping, stomping, through the icy crusty snow, up a tree covered hill in a single file line. Snowshoes making teeth marks, ski poles making holes as we push ourselves through the bare forest up the narrow bike path. Heart pounding, breathing heavy, head sweaty, feeling overheated even though the temperature is less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit We are following the top of the ridge line, looking down the back side of the mountain through the leafless ash and maple trees. My house is somewhere down there in that valley, but I know its hidden by a hill. Up we climb, dragging, puffing, crunching, up, up, some more up. Steps slow as legs tire, arms work harder with the poles to pull ourselves up. We break through the tree line at the top to an open flat area on top of the world. The view is spectacular. Mountains all around, topped with golden sunlight shimmering from the setting sun. Valley in purple shadow, snow tinted blue, dark roads snake through the town below, windows glowing warmly, tiny figures moving far below. The climb was completely worth every step!