Lake George

7-18-2017

I’m on another Hobbit Adventure, traveling through and filling in some blank areas on my own personal internal map of the world. I am guiding 23 teenagers on a 3 day canoe trip across Lake George! It’s an amazing sunny warm day, the kind of day summer is supposed to be full of, but this summer has been miserly on delivering. Excitement reigns everywhere, bubbling out of all the participants, babbling into the clear blue sky and sparkling blue water. Loaded down with camping gear, we pull off the beach and paddle into the mayhem that is Lake George: wind, sun, colors, and sounds accost us from all the pleasure boats, motor boats, pontoon boats, tour boats, boats dragging para-sails into the clear bright sky, boats flinging water skiers tither and yon, jet skis whizzing, and multi-million dollar waterfront mansions in private developments. Here we are, bobbing up and down on the whims of the waves, watching the world go by slowly, to the rhythm of canoe paddle blades slooshing through the water.

Reading In The Creek

6-23-2017

One of my absolute favorite summertime solitude activities is to float in the creek and read. There is somewhat of a ritual to this. First I do some sort of dirty, sweaty yard work. Then around 2 or 3 pm when the sun, humidity, and heat are at their fiercest, I pack a beach bag with water, a snack, sunscreen, sunglasses, reading sunglasses, a sun hat, a beach towel, and a magazine or two. I cover my hair with a bandanna, place the inner tube on my head, and walk half a mile up the road to the nice swimming hole at the far bridge. Once there, I precariously climb down the rocks to the water, then gingerly make my way a little upstream to the three foot waterfall and the deep pools around the big rocks. The water here is clear and cool with a green blueish tint. The rocks underwater in the current are slimy with algae and ones in the eddies are slippery covered with fine mud red silt and clay. This year one boulder that stands 4 or 5 feet above the water has a hole deep enough to jump into. Standing quiet and still before jumping, I have seen many small and several large fish who dart away in response to a wave of my arms! After jumping a few times and swimming around a little, I settle down into the inner tube with my reading glasses and a magazine, usually Discover, Sierra, or American Whitewater. The tube floats lazily around in circles in the big eddies surrounding the river boulders. If I bump into shore or a rock, I kick off and continue floating. Eventually the tube runs aground sitting at the top of a shallow rapid, where I will just sit and keep reading until I feel like pushing off into the eddy again. Sun, fluffy clouds, blue sky, floating in cool fresh water, bird song, and the sound of water rushing over rocks. This is a perfect summer pass-time!

Warm Breeze In The House

5-17-2017

My husband has gone to work. I have the house to myself, so I open every window to the sunny warm spring day! I work in the yard and garden, wearing skimpy shorts and a bikini top (my typical summer attire), slathered in sunscreen, head covered with a large floppy sun hat that shades my face and neck. I am a sun worshiper through and through. Later in the afternoon, after I have mowed the lawn, I go inside to fill my water bottle and drink it, I feel a teasing, tantalizing breeze. Looking through the window I see branches with small new florescent yellow green spring leaves gently waving in the sunlight. I let my gaze drift around the house; papers rustling on the table, pollen and dust moving through a sun beam, curtain swinging in the bedroom doorway. I realize I am standing in a gentle wind tunnel, with a warm breeze traveling through the whole house. For the first time this year, all the windows are open, and a summer like breeze is cooling the sweat on my skin, and ruffling the fur of a cat sleeping on the window sill. I am in love.

SUN!

5-16-2017

FINALLY! It has stopped raining, it isn’t overcast, and it’s warm! Sunshine and blue sky! Spring is here at last! After morning yoga I fall into the hammock and just soak up the radiant heat from the sun. There are a few clouds roaming around, so after a while, one crosses over the sun and I get up to work in the yard. I stay outside all day working in the garden. I plant seeds in starter boxes, and cover the garden area with ground cloth. I haven’t done much with it the last couple of years, so this year I want vegetables! I bask in the warm sun shine all day, tracking it as it moves across the hollow. I even take my two mile walk up the road and back to see what spring is doing through our little notch on the mountains. I am unbelievable happy to have the sun back! My soul sings, my heart leaps, and my spirit soars!

Epic Snowshoe

This magic moment is long because the moment was several hours long adventure in my own back yard.

3-16-2017

Bright beautiful golden sunshine streaming from a clear cerulean sky. The woods are calling! I bundle up, sit on the bottom step, strap on snowshoes, and start walking up the hill behind the house. Breaking trail, each step is an incredible feat of prowess, as I am sinking knee deep in the fresh powder. I take several steps and stop for a mini break, then several more steps and another mini break. Uphill is physically challenging, every step has to come straight up to clear most of the snow before moving forward. If not the snow bogs down the snowshoes and sinks my feet deeper and tries to pull me over. These are high stepping marching baby steps. Odd movement combination; takes me many near misses of falling down to get the hang of it.

Eventually, what seems like a hour later I leave our property, climbing higher up the hill. There are four of five ledges where the bed rock is exposed, old and tree covered, but cliff like in their impedance to uphill travel. At each ledge, I follow along the bottom until I find an area eroded enough to gain that ground as well. Soon my legs are physically exhausted, I can feel the muscles tremble with exertion. I take many breathing breaks. The cold air feels good against my sweaty skin. I need to find the delicate balance between covering exposed skin to protect it from the freezing air, and shedding layers so as to not overheat my core with this insane workout. Drinking from my water bottle, I notice the ice crystals forming in the liquid, they slide by my lips and melt in my mouth.

I am standing completely alone, near the top of the ridge. I have to stamp down the snow so I can turn to see where I came from, my snowshoe prints meandering through the trees looking for the easiest way through, and disappearing into the forest. I turn again to see ahead, flat smooth snow, creamy white and striped with blue tree shadows. I scrutinize the cliff ledge I have been following, I see a possible way up, but decide my legs still need to get me back home, so I don’t climb any higher.

Further along there is a hemlock stand, I head for that. Climbing over a down tree, I notice a line of small tracks in the snow, traveling straight through, the prints themselves are unclear, just indentions in the snow where the animals feet sank. I believe it may be a coyote, they like to go in a straight line and often travel alone. I startled a coyote out of a thicket once on a snowshoe walk down in the creek. She took off faster than I could blink, tawny brown and grey, big dog and powerful. In that moment I was astounded by her wild beauty, later I was thankful she decided to run away instead of holding her ground. I would have lost that fight.

I tromp into the group of hemlock trees, shaded area is definitely colder. Tamp down the snow to look around, then gaze upward toward the sky. The dark green black branches of the hemlocks almost shine with glory against the impossible blue sky, most of which isn’t visible through the tall thick evergreen branches.

I take a step forward, loose my balance, try to compensate by shifting weight, feel my ankle and knee start to painfully twist because the snow blocks my feet from moving, so I let go and fall face first flat into the snow. That did not hurt, but now I am practically buried. I try to push myself up but my hands just post hole deeper into the snow. I try pounding the snow to pack it down, but my hands break through again. I try rolling around making my body shaped hole bigger (and deeper), I try sinking my knees in so I get get purchase with my feet but you can’t stand on tip toe with snowshoes on. Eventually I am able to roll completely over onto my back, then sit up. From there, with a great effort of rocking back and forth, I was able to get onto my feet in a squat and promptly fell over forwards… So again I rolled over and repeated the rocking trick, and this time was able to get just enough forward momentum to get on top of my feet but without falling over again. Then I had to stand from the squat, oh my aching leg muscles!

So I march myself over to a tree with a old branch knob in the perfect position to act as a seat and take another break, drink some more actively freezing water, and look up again. These bare branches are black against the brightness of the bluest sky. They make amazing intricate random patterns zig-zaging, criss-crossing, and waving in the blowing wind that is swooshing through the hollow. Snow drifts down dislodged from its height, swirling in the wind and sparkling in the sunlight. Its cold crystals sting as the hit my face and melt. I hear branches rubbing or maybe tree trunks rubbing against each other. It’s a rhythmic moaning creaking sound, soft and subtle, that quietly stops as the wind dies away.

I decide to continue instead of turning back to home. Once I see an easy way down, I can just go down to the road and walk home that way. High stepping stop, stomp, stomp, breaking trail, my tracks behind me fading into the distance. I come upon a giant white pine in the middle of a small clearing. The diameter must be over 4 feet wide. The lower branches in a whirl pattern around the trunk are all dead but bigger around than my body. Up high the branches are alive and reaching for the sky. How does a single tree grow to be this huge? Why wasn’t it cleared when this area was farmland 100 years ago? Fighting the desire to climb, I push on. Maybe I can come back later in the summer to try climbing this giant.

Now I am seriously looking for a way down, I have been traversing at a downhill angle searching for a less steep area to descend. I see a red house and the road and am completely surprised to realize I have gone half a mile and am at the new bridge. Wow! I though I had traveled about half that distance. It is late afternoon now and the sun is headed toward setting, the temperature already dropping. The tree branches loudly crack menacingly as another gust of wind blows through. Finally, a slope I can safely descend. Still I end up sliding (kind of like skiing) down a significant portion of the descent. Back on the road. Pull the snowshoes off and head home. Exhausted, elated, enchanted, my ephemeral spirit continues to fly through the snowy forest.

Silver Sun

2-26-2017

Driving to work, running late, as usual. Actually not speeding, there are ice patches on the road from everything melting yesterday and refreezing last night, and snowflakes in the air. The sky is a light grey and white swirling low cloud. Scattered snow collects on the ground in random low spots, between bare trees, and along fence lines. A flock of crows scatters off the road into a field as I drive by. I notice the sun, hanging oddly in the sky beside the steep mountain side. It looks like a glowing silver sphere through the foggy haze covering the mountain top. It is not bright, I can look directly at it without eye strain. Its edge is rather fuzzy, indistinct, blurry, a child’s surreal watercolor painting of a silver ball thrown far away into a dream world. This silver sun looks almost unreal, as if I could reach out and touch it like a theater prop. As I am contemplating the unusual light of our closest star on this overcast morning, the clouds close in, the mysterious vision disappears into the grey void, and I turn into the parking lot.

Dreaming of Spring

2-21-2017

It was an unseasonable warm day today: short sleeves, no hats, sunshine, snow melting, sap running. I know this is only a false start to Spring, but I always enjoy the warmth to its fullest! When I get home from work, the jeans come off replaced by a short skirt, and a tank top replaces the long sleeve shirt. I took off my shoes and dug out some flip flops, then found a book and my reading sunglasses. Poured myself a tall glass of ice tea, then went out onto the porch, pulled a rocker forward to the rail to be in the sun, sat down, and Relaxed! Book in hand, glasses propped up my head, ( I didn’t think I was actually going to read the book, too excited), feet on the railing pushing the rocker gently back and forth, head back against the cushion, eyes closed, soaking in the sunlight like a sponge, singing to myself “making vitamin D, do do do”. Every inch of exposed sun warmed skin vibrates with anticipation of real Spring. My private inner imagination movie is playing endless clips of amazing whitewater footage (of course I am the hero raft guide who saves the day) as I listen to the swollen creek roar down the hill. My soul’s battery pack is recharging with this glorious solar energy. Deep breath, taste and smell of wet thawing snow and earth, hear the drip, drip, dripping off the roof, feel the warn air caress my skin and the radiant rays tingle my face, blinding white sunlight dazzling my eyes. Spring is almost here!