This week, the Full Snow Moon retires,
Eased from the sky by rosy dawn.
Soon, bright early sparkles all about:
On cold crystal surfaced snow pack,
Swirls in otherwise clear pale blue air.
From across the valley, above the ridge,
Revealed by morning’s first beams,
A Sun Dog watches.
Faded by strengthening rays,
He disappears to trails
Known only to his kind.
Mid-Winter finds us in a cherished, strenuous, comfortable, familiar rhythm:
Wake-up, eat, work, ski, sleep; repeat.
When it was “too cold to snow” last week,
Clippers left knee deep sharp crystalled snow.
Deep purple, then moonlit nights, keep the snow dry, durable, and deep.
Daytime air, half-heartedly, occassionally, flirts towards thawing.
Impossibly blue skies, encourage us to trails,
That begin by passing Summer’s Sunchokes:
Tubers that may taste even better after fully overwintering.
Gifts are given, some received.
Joy the moment unwrapped.
Some are in the giving,
Source of comfort,
Though never seen.
A couple of days ago,
the season’s first hard frost.
Now, blazing colors.
Hawk in flight,
lofted by air
and sunlight bright.
The view across the valley from the road to Alpe d’Huez, Isere province, southern France (photo circa 1973); site of a particularly grueling stage of this year’s Tour de France bicycle race.
Cancer survivor and leader of the US Postal professional bicycling team, Lance Armstrong will be racing up this 9 mile road alone, one step closer in his pursuit of an unprecedented sixth consecutive Tour de France victory.
Best wishes to Lance and his team, whose accomplishments should serve to inspire each of us to engage our personal challenges, large and small, with courage and resolve, knowing that it is individual effort, alone and in teamwork, that redefines “what is humanly possible”
Go Mellow Johnny, Go!
Bernie’s gilded boots,
worn no more, last step taken.
Now, back door sentinels.
This last pair of many,
first donned, same as the rest,
smooth and anonymous.
All worn, worn out,
through darkness and day,
cold and hot, wet and dry,
more comfortable unshod,
wore and smoothed leather lining.
creased, soaked, scarred, and scuffed,
skin, hide and sole.
Observers now, and evidence of,
a vital, irresistible habit of industry,
gapped only by well deserved sleep.
Responsibilities fulfilled shine these boots.
No longer partners in toil,
now, adornment to life well spent.
Left to right, Round Hill, Elk Hill North Knob, Elk Hill South Knob.
East Branch Valley
As they have for hundreds of years,
visitors and homecomers alike,
journey East Branch Valley
toward the heart of Elk Mtn Area.
a passage as they rusticate;
a harbinger of repose.
To those who dwell
in deep folds of shaded valleys,
along crests of worn ridges,
the soft familiar hills of home.
At dusk, I picked all the pears that I could reach.
Last night, the first hard frost.
Today, the air is crisp, the sky cool blue, paled by wispy clouds.
Yesterday, white, blue, and steel grey swirled,
animating the sky, hurrying, destination uncertain.
From across the valley, lumpy snow squalled from the mix,
sifting through cloud gaps like a sheer curtain
eased through an open kitchen window
by a bland summer breeze.
And I remember Eli telling me that an old timer told him:
“In these parts, you have to have as much as you need done for winter by mid-October
…after then, anything can happen “
The cool wet spring turned to Summer on 21 June. Since then, the days have been warm and dry, with very little rain.
The weather for the Fourth of July was stereotypically seasonable; hazy hot, and humid – the hottest spell of the year so far.
Many of us passed the days with music, friends and family.
Agreeable weather also obliges portions of days be spent in fields.