Treading lightly the path to enlightenment.

Posts tagged ‘weather’

In Days of Winter

Sumac Snow

 

In these, our bitter days of winter,

As bare trees stand, their feet ice cold in the snow,

Above our heads icy North Winds blow,

And from my eaves hang frozen crystal splinters,

 

 

Stalagtite Ice

Let us then retire to our rooms.

Where we’ll sip hot tea and clasp our hands

And know the warmth of love still stands,

While overhead, the Winter Rage looms.

 

Blizzard of ’18

 

No embers of wood, nor burning coal,

As their fire radiates its heat

Upon our faces, upon our feet,

Can, as the heart, so warm the soul.

 

 

Embers

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

Spirit Of Frosty

Our Holiday Greetings

Our Holiday Greetings

It occurred to me just how much I admire Frosty The Snowman, and his philosophy on life. Well, life as it is to an inanimate object, or in this case a fictional character who is also an inanimate object. This is personification at it’s best, I suppose.

If you’re not familiar with the children’s tale, here are the Cliff’s notes:

Kids build a snowman and find a silk top hat to put on his head. The top hat has some magic in it, and this animates the Snowman, whom the kids have named Frosty. He springs to life exclaiming “Happy Birthday!”. Yes, it’s a Christmas-season tale, but it is Frosty’s birthday, after all.

Frosty plays and has fun with the kids until he begins to melt. The story is based on the song, I think, and the animated cartoon special picks up the story where the lyrics left off.

In the song, Frosty waves goodbye as he melts, says “Don’t you cry!” to the kids, and “I’ll be back again someday.”.

In the TV special, one of the children is heartbroken at the thought of Frosty’s departure, and adventure ensues as the little girl tries to get a six-foot snowman to the North Pole before he melts.

In the song, the lyrics state “Frosty the snowman knew the sun was hot that day. So he said ‘Let’s run and have some fun now, before I melt away.'”

Now there’s the spirit I admire. Frosty has this little window of life, knows he’s terminal, and instead of spending all his time worrying about how he can be cured and prolong his life, he decides to enjoy it before it’s gone.

 

The cartoon special takes it further, as the little girl becomes obsessed with “rescuing” the snowman from his natural demise. He’s fine until the human tries to “save him”. Only when pitted against or seen from the human girl’s perspective does Frosty’s limited existence become viewed as problematic. They spend their last days together in agony. Problems getting transportation, a magician trailing them, trying to steal the hat, the girl starts suffering from hypothermia following the snowman into the arctic. Ultimately, circumstances conspire and the girl is forced to watch Frosty’s destruction before her very eyes. *

I’m adopting Frosty’s original spirit. Life will come and go whether it’s on a snowman’s timeline or a human man’s time line.

I say let’s run and have some fun!

Before I melt away.

Seek Peace,

 

Paz

 

* Calm down. The girl isn’t real, she’s in a cartoon. And Frosty is magic. Before the kid stops crying, a freezing wind blows Frosty back together and he comes back to life, exclaiming “Happy Birthday!” once again. Happy ending, although it does prove the fruitlessness of the child’s work and worry.

A Warm November

It was an uncharacteristically warm November this year, with just a single passing snow shower. The flora and foliage stretched the show out, held over for a couple of weeks.

Season's Colors

Season’s Colors

The trail has a warm autumn glow in golds and browns, tans and rust, splashes of crimson and the bright green die-hards.

The apple is nearly empty, sporting only the hangers-on. A crabapple feast awaits deer and rabbits on the ground.

The Crabapple

The Crabapple

Bounty!

Bounty!

A morning frost gives way to a foggy day. November always contains an element of gray, dappled with muted tones of summer past.

November Sky

November Sky

 

 

 

Morning Frost

Morning Frost

Ground Clouds

Ground Clouds

It’s an exciting season, as the world around us evolves daily. Now, without leaves, we can see Maggie’s pond from the top of the hill, through the trees. A change of scenery, like the biggest stage play ever. Swapping backdrops, changing out props, set decorating, as we prepare for the new opening: the glittering, frosty Winter Show.

Now the sun races from us. Walks after work are out of the question as darkness falls two hours before home time. Weekends are premiums, and we’ll ply the trails twice a day, morning and sunset.

The strawberry plants display bright red leaves against a background of deep, green lichen and mosses, looking like early holiday decorations.

Christmas Colors

Christmas Colors

My Throne

My Throne

The Passing Days

The Passing Days

Leaves are still piled high in places. We had a long fall period with no frost and little wind or rain, so the leaves held on and we have a bumper crop! It was, however, windy on the day of our Leaf Pile Party. So windy we couldn’t get the pile high enough to beat last year’s record of 56 1/2 inches. We’d barely make four feet and the brisk wind would take the top of the pile off.

Against The Wind

Against The Wind

Pilers

Pilers

Big Enough

Big Enough

Alas, November is behind us, in the books.

Now December  bears a resemblance to November. Grass still green, remnants of leaves and leaf piles continue to blow across the yards and trails. Bit by bit the underbrush loses a few more leaves, pales a bit more, leans towards lying down for a winter’s nap.

The smell of snow is in the air often these days. Christmas is just not the same without a good snow cover.

In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the unique opportunity to stretch out our fall, autumn, early-winter days. To observe all those colorful things on the ground that would typically be hidden about now. To wait another week before we dig out the snow boots, the big suit, the gloves & hats box.

For some of us, perhaps those who don’t read calendars, it makes no difference what day or month you call it. Sure the mild days are easier than the wet or windy or cold days.

But then, each one is a work of art. A thing of beauty. One of a kind. Another blank page in our Wonder Book.

For some, it’s just a good time for a nap.

One Tired Puppy

One Tired Puppy

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

Tuesday, 5:52

February Sun

February Sun

Tuesday, 5:52 pm

The road is covered with an inch of icy, snowy stuff. The sky is pink on this day of the Full Snow Moon. I’m writing blog posts in my head as I drive. The voice in my head changes from my own to the great narrator voices, reading my post aloud. First it’s Anthony Bourdain and his comma-specked lilting tone. The voice morphs into Peter Coyote, then Sam Elliot’s slow Texas drawl. He could read the phone book and keep us transfixed. A car 200 feet ahead spins a full 360 degrees in Interstate traffic. Fortunately we’re all moving at 28 miles an hour, so we stop and watch. The car comes to rest broadside in the middle of three lanes. A near-miracle, it hit no guardrails or other cars.

Tuesday, 6:02

The air is about twelve degrees. The defroster is on high and can barely keep up with the ice on the wiper blades. Now Bill Curtis is reading my blog aloud, I’m writing about how exciting it is to be driving home in the light after three months of darkness. “6:02 pm”, I start, “That’s 18:02 if you’re in Europe. Is it easier for us to add 12 hours or for Europeans to subtract? Maybe we have the jump on them because we use the am/pm nomenclature so often.”

Tuesday, 6:08

Starting again to write a blog post. Someone in a hurry passes another car on State Highway 7. He’s crowding the oncoming traffic and someone in a white Jeep starts to swerve left to avoid a head-on crash. “Why would you pull left?” I ask the dashboard aloud. “Always pull right.”  I’m trying to think of the names and voices of other great narrators, great tones. Jack Palance. The ubiquitous Mike Rowe. Carl Sagan.

Tuesday, 6:12

It’s my own voice again. The post is about driving home. I’d quote the time and begin to formulate thoughts then something would disperse the thoughts and I’d start again with a new time. The whole while I hear voice-over artists speaking my words. Now it’s Dennis Leary, and his tone doesn’t fit. Now I can’t stop thinking of Dan Rather, who has a good voice but you just don’t think of him as a voice-over artist. It’s getting dark now, and the Snow Moon rises on my left, accompanied by brilliant Venus in the evening sky.

Tuesday, 6:21

The Moon and the Evening star (which is not a star at all, but a planet) shine brightly. I’m thinking of a walk tonight in the full moon. A Snow Moon Walk like my son Ryan and I took two or three years ago. The moon is so bright it casts deep shadows on the snow. It’s bitter cold, twelve degrees. I think about a post called “Moon and Star”, about a personal philosophy. It’s about constance and change. It’s about the fleeting impermanence in our lives and about the cosmic constant of the universe and its occupants. It’s difficult to think of the entire universe as transient, but it, too, shall pass as all things must.

Tuesday, 6:34

It’s dark. It’s cold. It’s February. Andrew Zimmern’s voice begins reading my post. It’s a good voice, but predictable in its gait and inflection. Still, a good voice. The road is empty. Everyone’s home already, apparently. I begin to compose again. “Tuesday, 6:34.” I’d start, “and I hear the voices of narrators reading my latest post.”

 

Be at peace,

 

Paz

Off The Grid

This is the first in a 3-part journal entry, followed by The Storm Approaches and culminating with The Storm Strikes. -Paz

Wild Space

Wild Space

Forked Lake, Adirondack Mountains.

I grew up in “The Park”, and after living 50 miles south of it for 30 years, it still feels like home. The Adirondack Park is so big you could put Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Glacier National Parks inside it, and have 800,000 acres left over! Of the remaining large, intact tracts of land areas, the Adirondacks ranks among the top three globally.

Two hours on the main road, a couple miles on the secondary road, another mile on the dirt road and we’re at the lake. Then we load our boat, The AquaMarie,  with camping and fishing gear, and ply the waters to reach our camp site.

There’s no road to the camp, not even a logging road. On the south shore of the lake, there’s a foot trail that leads to camp sites on that side. Around the north shore, where Joe & Bowin camped, there isn’t even a foot trail. Like the original Adirondack frontiersmen, French Louie & Trapper John, if you can’t cross this lake you’re bushwhacking over a mountain to get out of here.

And leave the cell phone in the car. The High Peaks Region is one of those rare remaining respites from cell towers and signal. We are truly off the grid now.

As a kid, my dad would pack us all (our dog Buddy included) into his boat, The Honey Doll, and we’d pitch camp on Scout Island on the Sacandaga Lake for a couple of weeks in August.

Camping on an island was great fun as a kid and teen. Like Robinson Crusoe, but with tents and outboard motors.  Now here I am, four decades later, boating to our camp site with my son, Ryan.  This place is so much more remote. The lake is an ancient vestige of the last ice age, its water is clear as glass, and it is bound by rocky shores. There are no sandy beaches. While it reaches depths of 40 feet at its deepest, there are boulders strewn about in the water. No water-skiing, big power boats or jet skis here. The boat launch can barely handle our little fourteen-foot Magnum fishing boat.

Rocky shore at camp

Rocky shore at camp

We started this annual thing, Joe & I, as a “Camporee”, inviting folks from work to join us for an off-site get together. The first year we had a good turnout, a half-dozen campers and some day visitors on Saturday, enjoying a wood fire and grilled foodstuffs. That was when we held the Camporee at Moffitt’s Beach, where you can drive your air-conditioned SUV right up to the “driveway” of your camp site. You can “rough it” in a tent, pitched alongside the pop-ups, travel trailers and RV’s.

Since moving the Camporee to the remote and desolate Forked Lake, it’s been down to the true core of adventure-seeking wilderness lovers; Joe & his son Bowin, Me and my son Ryan, and our dear friend Sparky. It’s become something of an intimate affair, all the more special because the experience is shared by just the few of us.

View from the bow

View from the bow

We’ve lived, however briefly, like a little tribe out in the piney woods. We caught fish to feed the clan. We visited each other’s camps for dinners and breakfasts. Joe & Bowin fishing from their Tracker, Ryan & I on The AquaMarie, we’d catch up to and pass one another during the day, sharing fish hot spots and sporting our catches.

During the day, it’s outdoor sporting at its best. Boats and fishing. A contest for first, largest and most fish. One appreciates the lack of phones ringing, televisions playing, lawnmowers running, cars & trucks passing. It takes a little while for the brain to adjust. There are chores at camp, but few real responsibilities. No gardens to water, no houses to paint, no stairs to build, no dog to feed.

 

Forked Lake Sunset

Forked Lake Sunset

 

As the day draws to a close, we make dinner plans. Tonight at Joe’s camp, tomorrow at ours. Joe is serving up loose meat sandwiches, cooked over a wood fire in a cast iron Dutch oven. It’s a mix of venison, some pork, and a ground-up leftover hamburger from lunch. Is it the air, the activity, or the lack of a fridge and pantry to raid that makes all food taste so much better when camping? Served simply on rolled bread, your hand as the plate, it was the best thing I’d tasted all day.

After dinner it was probably around nine o’clock (I have no time piece with me. We tell time by the position of the sun when we’re in the bush!). Ryan and I boarded the AquaMarie and turned on the running lights, and made our way across the lake under a full moon.

Waxing gibbous moon

Waxing gibbous moon

Back at our camp, Ryan and I found that Sparky had arrived late (hitherto he was MIA, and we wondered if he’d make it this year).  Following our best homo habilis manners, we started a roaring fire and commenced to stare at it for several hours. Loons on the lake let out their calls between dives. Across the water, the sounds carry from other camps. As the moon raced across the sky, the sounds and the visible camp fires dwindled until all fell silent.

Bed time, and tomorrow is a full day in camp.

It would be the best rest of this year.

Next chapter: The Storm Approaches

 

Be at peace,

 

Paz

 

Warm Winter

Kelly Station in Winter

Kelly Station in Winter

Three degrees Fahrenheit. 13 inches of ice on Canada Lake. Wind chill minus 10.

We label and measure each aspect of the season, our only sense of understanding. Or is it an illusion of control?

Wind moves through layers of clothing. As Chuy & I walk past pines, the wind is louder, buffeting the full branches laden with inches of powdery snow.

The frozen crystals splinter down upon us, peppering the face like tiny ice bird-shot, blasted from Winter’s shotgun.

Joe & the boys

Joe & the boys

We scoff at the readings on the thermometer. We boast of colder winters survived. We revel in the tales of hours and whole days spent suspended above lakes and ponds on a foot-thick floor of frozen water. We retell the tales of the biggest catches, the deepest snows, the thickest ice.

We think ourselves brave and bold as we dress in layer after layer, bundle ourselves like fine art prepared for shipping.  Some of the smarter ones will stay inside on a bitter day.

Snow on Pines

Snow on Pines

Up in Alaska, people live above the Arctic Circle. Never thaws. Permafrost they call it. It’s “winter” year round. We marvel at their lives, we wonder about their sanity. We are awe-struck by native people, having lived and fished and died here for thousands of years. Why? When humans crossed the Bering Sea land bridge, why did they stop here? Just another thousand miles and they could be living in seaside Seattle. Two thousand, and they’d be in Baja California. What enraptures us to live with the snow?

The Blizzard Lunch

The Blizzard Lunch

Out in the universe, the cosmos laughs. 3 degrees? You call that cold? Out here where there’s no atmosphere, there’s NO heat. NONE. Not zero or below zero, but what we humans have labeled “absolute zero”. Not a single calorie of heat energy. Relative to our thermometers, that would be about 450 degrees below zero Fahrenheit!

There’s something about being out there in the cold, particularly when I’m alone, that makes me feel that much more a part of the universe. Most of it is cold. Planets near stars are warm. Some of them very hot, of course. Hundreds of degrees. the sun itself, not the hottest star either, has surface temperatures measured in the millions of degrees.

But mostly, the cosmos is a big, empty, heatless space.

Browsing

Browsing

So, our three degrees today, all 3 of them, are way ahead of the universe’s curve.  It’s almost like a heat wave. Great to have a warm winter.

Pumpkin Patch in Winter

Pumpkin Patch in Winter

Next time you’re out there, shoveling a path to your door, skiing down a hill, boring a hole in the ice, if you think it’s cold…

I feel warmer already.

 

Be at peace,

 

Paz

 

 

 

December 30 first

December 30 firstAll around lie the remnants of summer and fall,
These dry brown grasses, the tall and the small.
Each conifer stretches, the low and the high,
Each stretches, in vain, its limbs to the sky.

The sun hangs low in it’s arc, non-chalant,
Neglecting her earthbound petites enfants.
Cold comes to slumber and lumber around,
Packing the earth to hard frozen ground.

Smoke from chimneys dances and twirls,
Having never seen the summer world.
I shutter the window, and put logs on the fire,
As I patiently wait for the year to expire.

As into the pink night sky sets the sun,
Another year ends, as another’s begun.

August Piece

August slips through my back door lush and green,

An unremarkable event on the season-changing scene.

She feigns summer convincingly by day,

But by night, thoughts of summer quickly fade away.

Ironically, she is a metaphor of herself.

Inviting Autumn in, making room for

Summer on her pantry shelf.

Paz

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