Gratitude

snowy_goldenrod

I’m grateful that I don’t have to remember to breathe, don’t have to think at all about it.

I’m grateful that even when I once tried to hold my breath forever, a divine power overcame me, forced me to inhale, caused a gasp of air to rush uncontrollably into me, made me pant until my breathe calmed, until finally, it resumed it’s regular cadence.

I’m grateful to realize that I share this irresistible compulsion to breathe with every living being I’ll run into during the course of the day, on any given day of my life.

I’m grateful to know that for me and for those around me to be truly happy, to be blissful, to experience a true connection, we must share the common air; we all must breathe.

I’m grateful that this one activity, the foundation for all others, offers stark evidence that any of the paths we choose to navigate as individuals are engined by this one common, essential force, resident in all of us.

Testing

testing

Some of us have been waiting, patiently and otherwise, since March to see the ridgeline illuminated again. Earlier this week, one could hear the compressors in the distance, and see plumes of snow standing like white feathers into the night.

A ride around the mountain the next day confirmed, with patches of snow on the slopes of Elk, that the snow gun test went A-OK.

The Elk crew are busy setting and positioning additional snow guns, pulling and connecting air and water hoses in anticipation of cold weather soon coming.

If you’re on or around The Hill this weekend, don’t be surprised if, when the temperature drops to the proper point, the ridge comes alive with lights and the low roar of snow being made.

It’s usually wooly bears, or the leaves that appear and change color, or the course of geese in flight, that are the harbingers of the seasons. The appearance of lights on the mountain and the first patches of white on the trails, is the most reliable indicator, that soon, very soon, the ski season will be upon us.

Cold Breakfast

cold_breakfast

These girls are enjoying the last tasty blades of grass for the season. Already frosted a few times, and recently snowed on, this fodder will soon lose any flavor of Summer, wilt, and dry.

The Winter will run it’s course, tuck-in the meadows with blankets of snow, letting the ground rest for a few months.

The Delaware trail on Elk Mountain holds on to some of the snowfall from earlier this week. The weatherman promises a bit of a warm-up this weekend before temps drop back to seasonable levels.

It’s quiet now here on The Hill. Having turned their attention mostly toward their homes, folks are busy touching up leaky drafts, splitting and stacking wood, eyeing up what other projects must be done now, and which can wait till Spring.

Before it’s time for the snowguns to come on, it doesn’t much matter what the weather does: warm weather now makes those projects more doable before Winter sets, cold weather now heightens one’s ardor for the ski season.

Another couple of weeks from now, desires will turn to appropriately seasonable cold and snow, and acceptance that whatever projects are left, will still be there in the Spring.

Young Oak

young_oak

One of the last vibrant reds of Autumn is worn by this young oak tree. Anyone who spends time in the woods has probably noticed how many oak trees never seem to grow more than a few inches. Maybe it’s coincidence, or maybe these tasty shoots get eaten down to the level of the snowpack by those beings in need of a mid-winter repast.

This young oak was found as an acorn near the top of Elk Mountain, and after several years, continues on it’s way to becoming
a Mighty Oak.

It’s said that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today. Next time you find yourself with many acorns underfoot, scoop up a dozen or so and take them home. Put them in a bowl of water, and discard any acorns that float to the surface; the rest are viable. Then plant the acorns someplace where you can keep an eye on them for a few years. Maybe in the first year, or maybe in the third or fourth year, you’ll see the sprout of what will become an oak. Transplant and protect with a wire cage to give the tree time to grow past the size that it will be eaten, five or six years.

Growing an oak takes time. Choose carefully where you plant it, making sure that it’s someplace future generations will enjoy it.