25 January 2013

Picnic Blanket, Pattee Canyon, Missoula, Montana

One of my big sisters (who shall remain unidentified so as to provoke family speculation) gently informed me last night that the pine bark shots were great, but tolerances allowed for maybe only one more photo in the series. This was her opinion even after I explained my inspiration gleaned from an Ansel Adams exhibit hosted by the Missoula Art Museum. A take-away from that viewing was that he didn’t care if several close-up photos were of the same foliage subject, each capturing a slight difference in detail or mood or shift of light. Apparently, if Ansel Adams liked something about a photo, he put it out there. And obviously, some people got what he was trying to convey because those series were up on display, provoking the rest of us to enjoy beauty in the quiet details. But I will heed the advice given, because my mum said I have to listen to my big sisters. Too bad the bossy odds are against me, with three of them and just the one me! (Now that might generate a comment - or three!)

24 January 2013

Lofty Moss, Pattee Canyon, Missoula, Montana

In the historical novel, “Every Fixed Star“, author Jane Kirkpatrick describes women in the 1800s harvesting a specific variety of moss, then soaking, shaping and drying it for winter food which, reconstituted in the middle of a cold winter, was considered quite tasty. Imagine that.  Actually, imagine it and then commence being very thankful.
Throughout the story, she also explores the concept of metier, a French word meaning vocation or forte, but with strong shades of finding work to which one is best suited. Having recently been through a fairly major up-heaving transition in my own life, I was drawn to the repeated reflection on metier in the lives of her characters. So far, I’ve come to think that, for many, the search is ongoing, flowing with times and seasons. And in the midst of these, we need to be fully present and give ourselves grace to appreciate the here and now.

23 January 2013

Bark Bite, Pattee Canyon, Missoula, Montana

One of life's little mysteries: Why are there random small nails tacked into a pondersosa pine along a U.S. Forest Service trail?  I mean, it's not like anyone would hang a yard sale sign out along a cross-country ski trail.
And one would hope recreational folfers, skiers, and hikers would think of the Lorax and be more kind to the trees.

Any other ideas?

22 January 2013

Ponderosa Cleft, Missoula, Montana

Under the right conditions, if you stick your nose close to the bark of a ponderosa pine, it smells like the finest quality vanilla - and makes you crave a snickerdoodle. I’m not sure if there’s a criteria for trees that readily evoke this fragrance - tallest, craggiest bark, exposed to sunlight - but recent controlled tests reveal no hint of vanilla present on a snowy, cold day. Later explorations showed the cookie jar was - alas! - empty.

21 January 2013

Snow Laden, Missoula, Montana

Sunday’s sunshine pulled me out of doors to check an item off my to-do list by driving up to Pattee Canyon Campground to see what there was to see. Driving roughly four miles up the road from a main thoroughfare put me in a different world - one of the fascinating benefits of living literally up against national forest lands. No town noises or street lights, the woods quiet all around except for the shush-shusshh of intermittent cross-country skiers. My walk back to the parking area was enhanced by soft reflections of sunset skies painted pinks, orange, and red.
Varied terrain and generous trails hold promise for many more explorations, winter and summer. To be accurate, late summer, after a hot spell drives the ticks further up the mountain. I get up there as much as possible in the winter to avoid all the bugs and miss none of the beauty!

20 January 2013

Side Road Shadows, I-90, Western Montana

Long afternoon shadows stretch across the winter whiteness, adding gentle drama and contrast.
Sunset this week, in Missoula,Montana, officially occurs successively from 17:23 to 17:29. Which translates to driving home in reflective daylight glow instead of in the dark - hooray! Since the sun is shining bright today, I better get out in it and store up some organic Vitamin D in my winter fat layer. Tarah! Off I go!