photo by Russ Klapatch
photo by Russ Klapatch

Though some of us prefer not to think so far ahead, many are looking forward to fly-fishing season even though there is still plenty of skiing to be done.

Photographer Russ Klapatch captures the quiet beauty of time spent on the river in his image “Narrowsburg”.

Russ will be displaying his work at Northern Light espresso bar in Scranton tomorrow, March 1 starting at 6:00PM as part of the Scranton First Friday festivities.

Though pretty far off The Hill, a visit to Northern Light is always worth the trip to visit neighbors Julie and Darby, get a great cup of coffee or tea, and to meet friends from the neighborhood, or to make new ones.

Snow Friends


Letting the dogs out just before dawn earlier this week revealed a dark shadow in the snow under the butternut tree; apparently a piece of limb had fallen in the night. Closer inspection revealed the unmistakable tracks of a running rabbit, intersected by the sweep of a wing in otherwise undisturbed snow.

A crime scene – a murder I thought, even though it didn’t involve crows. I then realized that though the rabbit gave his life, there was nothing sinister at work here. The dogs and I had inadvertently interrupted someone’s breakfast, maybe the owl who reports from the treeline beyond the yard, his lonely, mournful hoot often drifting through the night, dusk or dawn.

Above, these friends frolic in the bright sunshine, leaving happy tracks along with their human’s ski tracks; the joy of spending a cold winter’s day outside evident in their faces and tails.

In darkness or light, the snow witnesses, and at least until windblown or melted, records, the playful and necessary comings and goings of neighborhood beings.

Valentine Smiles


You can tell that some folks are just plain in love by how they smile when together.

Whether flying solo, or stupid crazy fond of someone, Valentines Day brings to mind various types of love. Romantic, unrequited, physical, platonic, convenient, blind, maternal, fraternal, or kindred amongst humans; unconditional as a pet shows for their master.

Some might feel comparing human and interspecies love diminishes or elevates one or the other. Truth be told, true love is a feeling we all get when the fact that we are all dependant upon each other becomes palpable in our hearts.

There is no thought that provokes bright eyes and a wagging tail upon the sight of a master. There is no thought when a mother’s gaze first falls upon her newborn. There is no thought when the recently breathless candlelit faces of lovers, mere inches from each other, lips subtly postured in the softest of smiles, gently regard each other.

Sometimes it comes in through our eyes, or starts in our head, but always, true love dwells in our heart, shines out our eyes, shows true in our smile.

Snow Rake


Retired decades ago as a hay rake, this implement now serves to indicate the snow accumulation of the biggest storms. Half-way to the axle: 6-8″; “dog snow”, good enough for cross-country skiing. Level with the axle: 12-16″; too much snow to work, powder day at Elk Mountain. Level with or above the seat (observed during the blizzard of ’93): to quote Bob Dylan “you ain’t goin’ nowhere”; roads impassible, setting cross-country ski tracks strenuous, hope there’s plenty of blankets and candles in case the power goes out, and that the cupboards are full ’cause it will be a good day or two to “lay around the shanty…”

Frequent consultation of the National Weather Service website today provokes alternating emotions of joy and concern as the forecast for Friday’s storm fluctuates from 90% chance of snow accumulating 2″ to 100% chance of snow accumulating 7-12″ or more.

Though we’ll need some more natural for cross-country skiing, the conditions at Elk have been excellent all week, and will only improve with whatever amount of snow we end up receiving.

Today is a good day to plan your Friday. Make sure you’ve got skis, boots, poles, gloves, hat, and plenty of food with you. If traveling, start your trip so as to arrive here before the roads get too snowy.

Plenty of music both Friday and Saturday again this weekend. There are worse places to have to hunker down and weather a storm than here on The Hill…