27 November 2014

Holiday Cheer....? - Missoula, Montana

Oh, the indignity!

To his credit, Maestro was a very forbearing feline model for varied costumes, under the supervision of my youngest niece, during the pie course of our early Thanksgiving gathering. (Yes, the reindeer was only the beginning....)

Gotta love a good cat!

26 November 2014

Holding Fast - Missoula, Montana

"...test everything, and hold fast to what is good..." - Paul the Apostle, from 1 Thessalonians 5:21

25 November 2014

24 November 2014

Overlooking East Missoula, Montana

“The oaks and the pines, and their brethren of the wood, have seen so many suns rise and set, so many seasons come and go, and so many generations pass into silence, that we may well wonder what ‘the story of the trees’ would be to us if they had tongues to tell it, or we ears fine enough to understand.” - Author unknown, quoted in "Quotations for Special Occasions by Maud van Buren, 1938

Patient Wanderers - Missoula, Montana

“It has been said that trees are imperfect men, and seem to bemoan their imprisonment rooted in the ground. But they never seem so to me. I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!” - John Muir, July 1890

22 November 2014

Frosted Morning Bridge - Missoula, Montana

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost...."

21 November 2014

Tamarack, Close - Missoula, Montana

Comparing tamarack branches to those of an adjacent green conifer, I noticed the tamarack's distinct needle bunches. On a sturdy and fortunate tree, annual shedding and regrowth may cycle for hundreds of years. On the Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks site, retired Livingston biology teacher Lori Micken chronicles ages of some of these stately trees: "Years ago I felled a larch that had died in a fire that raged through the Swan Valley some time in the early 1900s. I counted 350 rings, putting the tree’s origins back to the time of the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia. The fire-scarred behemoths still living in the Swan Valley must now be nearly 450 years old. Ancient tamaracks estimated at more than 900 years old have been reported in some parts of Washington."

20 November 2014

Tamarack Trail - Missoula, Montana

I've long been in awe of the tamarack's golden beauty - ever since my juniour high earth science teacher explained how the needles of these bona fide conifers turn yellow in the fall and then drop off, to regrow in the spring. No such a magical tree existed on Alberta's rolling farmland! 
In several sections of the trail up University Peak, our footsteps quieted as we walked the cushy carpet dusted with seeming gold-strewn magic.