29 December 2016

Crisp Sunshine - Missoula, Montana

"As the years pass, I am coming more and more to understand that it is the common, everyday blessings of our common everyday lives for which we should be particularly grateful. They are the things that fill our lives with comfort and our hearts with gladness -- just the pure air to breathe and the strength to breath it; just warmth and shelter and home folks; just plain food that gives us strength; the bright sunshine on a cold day; and a cool breeze when the day is warm."

28 December 2016

Six and Snow - Corvallis, Montana

New snow.
I am again six years old.

The seduction of untrammeled snow is akin to the fresh possibility inherent in the first page of a brand new notebook - new horizons beckon!

26 December 2016

All I Want For Christmas- Corvallis, Montana

All I want for Christmas is my two pyrohy...okay, it ended up being four. Let's just say it's been a very good Christmas, especially on the heels of being sick all week! 

22 December 2016

Restless For - Missoula, Montana

"The restlessness and the longing, like the longing that is in the whistle of a faraway train. Except that the longing isn't really in the whistle—it is in you."

19 December 2016

Quiet - Missoula, Montana

"We must believe that there are places where tranquility exists and nature is given back her power to speak..."

17 December 2016

Baby It's Cold Outside - Missoula, Montana

Before the wind chill factor, we've warmed up to minus 6 degrees Fahrenheit (aka minus 22 Celsius) - but a scoop of Sweet Peaks' new Boozy Eggnog flavour will keep you warm. (And you thought we were done with Sweet Peaks until spring - hah! WE are made of sterner stuff!)  If you ever want to guiltlessly try every ice cream flavour on the Specialty board before selecting your scoop(s), I highly recommend borrowing a 9-year-old for your accomplice. (Yes, we really did this! Of course, law-abiding person that I am, I made her skip the Boozy Eggnog and Flathead Fireweed Cherry.)  Children are indeed a delight to spend time with - especially when you can sugar 'em up, then take'em back!

16 December 2016

Awakening Snow - Missoula, Montana

"You wake up on a winter morning and pull up the shade, and what lay there the evening before is no longer there - the sodden gray yard, the dog droppings, the tire tracks in the frozen mud, the broken lawn chair you forgot to take in last fall. All this has disappeared overnight, and what you look out on is not the snow of Narnia but the snow of home, which is no less shimmering and white as it falls. 
The earth is covered with it, and it is falling still in silence so deep that you can hear its silence. It is snow to be shoveled, to make driving even worse than usual, snow to be joked about and cursed at, but unless the child in you is entirely dead, 
it is snow, too, that can make the heart beat faster when it catches you by surprise that way, before your defenses are up. It is snow that can awaken memories of things more wonderful than anything you ever knew or dreamed."

14 December 2016

13 December 2016

Seasons Turn - Missoula, Montana

"But so the seasons turn, and so they must, by nature's own design. The fields must fall to fallow and the birds must stop their song awhile; the growing things must die and lie in silence under snow..."

- from The Winter Sea, page 365, by Susanna Kearsley

12 December 2016

Winter Sport - Westside Lanes, Missoula, Montana

"One of the advantages bowling has over golf is that you seldom lose a bowling ball."
 -Don Carter (1926-2012)

That, and it's slightly more pleasant to play when the thermometer dips below freezing. 
Just as long as you take it easy on the fancy footwork.

10 December 2016

Finally: Real Snow - Missoula, Montana

"In all the world
There’s nothing like
The sound of falling snow –
The only noise
I’ve ever known
That makes the clocks move slow.

The only sound
That sweeps away
The din of city streets,
And wraps around,
In soft embrace,
’Most everyone it meets...."

You can read more delightfully candid children's poems here - perfect snowy day activity!
(Bonus treat: Check out Dr. Barbara's  random musings here. With the fatuous 'New Year Resolutions' on the horizon (sorry - have I mentioned I'm a goal-loather?), I was particularly buoyed by her "Productivity Rules" post.  
(Clarification: said loathing applies to the bureaucratic defining of SMART goals, which process bewilderingly grates as French-manicured fingernails on the chalkboard of my otherwise simple life. Enough said; I can't talk about that today!)

09 December 2016

Frieze Frame - Wilma Theatre, Missoula, Montana

"You see - the moulded whimsy of a frieze 
on a portico keeps us from recognizing, sometimes, 
the symmetry of the whole... 
but now and then the name of a street,
or a street organ weeping in the twilight,
will remind us in a more vivid and more
truthful way than thought could resurrect
or words convey... 
And in that hour, the soul
will miraculously sense the charm
of past trifles, and we will understand
that in eternity all is eternal..."
-Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), The Tragedy of Mister Morn

08 December 2016

Nostalgia Slough - Missoula, Montana

Winters of my early years featured a ritualistic layering on of socks and thermals and outerwear and toques and winding and winding and winding of a very looong hand-knitted scarf until only your eyes showed. This allowed you to see what there was to see once you waddled out the door for a long snowy ramble - in below-freezing temps  you welcomed because you'd begun to sweat by the start of all that winding - across fields, around frozen sloughs, and through barbed wire fences thanks to an older sibling who held the strands apart so as not to let your snowsuit get snagged. Good times.

All these years later I realize sending us thus adventuring was a valuable tactic for preserving my mum's sanity while preventing cabin fever amongst her brood - and, of course, with the underlying intent to instill in us a sense of independence and confidence in our own capability. (Yah, that''s what Mum was thinking about by the time she was shooing little Number 7 me out the door into the brilliant Alberta winter sunshine and snow.) Modern patois labels this 'free-range parenting'. In our era, it was commonly called, 'Go outside and play until I call you in for supper'.

The pictured mini melange of grass and ice reminds me of the bunchy grass edging a winter slough. Ah, nostalgia! Days I wouldn't trade. It may not keep your eyelashes from frosting on a day like today, but it sure makes for a toasty heart.

07 December 2016

Pipe Dreams - Missoula, Montana

"I doubt I'll ever retire, but if I do, I see myself as the little old Parisian lady pushing her trolley from the supermarket to her apartment. 
Everyone needs a pipe dream." 

- Catherine Martin

06 December 2016

Beginning To Look A Lot Like - The Wilma Theatre, Missoula, Montana

"In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!' "

05 December 2016

Stillness - Missoula, Montana

"I like this day; 
I like that sky of steel; 
I like the sternness and stillness of the world under this frost." 

01 December 2016

Willow Leaves 2 - Missoula, Montana

They cluster
with green grass
defying encroaching winter fade
still-vibrant variegations
flung from
wanton willow tresses
stripped now
And waiting


30 November 2016

Willow Leaves 1 - Missoula, Montana

Loving the lean lines of the willow leaves strewn about a lawn I cross during my lunchtime walk.

29 November 2016

First Snowfall In Town - Missoula, Montana

"A wet autumn morning, a garbage truck clattering down the street. The first snowfall of the season, blossom sized flakes falling languidly and melting on the ground, a premature snow fall delicate as lace, rapidly melting."

25 November 2016

Spoons - Corvallis, Montana

Who knew that spoons could be dangerous?
Or that what I'd be most thankful for post-holiday dinner was not leftovers but the old world craftsmanship of Thomasville furniture - which solidly held when The Best Husband Ever flung most of the entire 6 feet of himself across the length of the extended dining table to (successfully) snatch the last spoon of the second round?
(Which proves your grandma knew what she was talking about when she admonished you can't go wrong over the long haul by investing in quality furniture and clothes.
And it also proves that we're rather serious about our party games.
There was talk of a Spoons Champion travelling trophy for the next gathering...)

24 November 2016

Giving Thanks - Corvallis, Montana

Today, I am thankful for nachynka on my plate - and even more so for the brothers who baked it and brought it from the Great White North!

23 November 2016

World Without End - Missoula, Montana

This one's a little obscure: Heedless of appearing daft (welcome to my world, by the way), you are leaning over a faerie lake - well, actually a fist-sized depression in the sidewalk - having stopped to gaze at the smallest golden leaves of autumn, suspended. 
And then you notice the miniature reflection of overhead branches, contributors to this gilded wee marvel. 

22 November 2016

Cattle Guard - Livingston, Montana

"Over the cattle-guard's rusted-pipe parallel lines
weeds growing through, gatepost designs
geometrical triangle forms
and I'm almost home..."

- from Cattle Guard by Tony Parsons

Click the above text links to read the full text of this poem - and many others - featured at The Starlite Cafe.

21 November 2016

Jet Planes Waiting - Neptune Aviation, Missoula, Montana

Morning comes early when you can't hardly sleep due to anticipation....but flying is always fun! I don't think I'll ever not experience a thrill at the moment of liftoff. We take aircraft flight as a matter of course but, when you stop and think about hurtling through the air at hundreds of miles an hour to arrive in the past (we're headed west), it is still an astonishing feat of engineering. As the snail said when he got to ride on the turtle's back: Wheeee!

20 November 2016

Go Griz... - Missoula, Montana

Yesterday was a gorgeous day for college football under the Big Sky - as attested to by 26,182 fans in attendance at Washington-Grizzly Stadium - even if the hometown Griz lost bitterly to their cross-State rivals, the MSU Bobcats.  (Sigh.)

Consolation prize: 412,067 pounds of food were collected for key food banks in each team's city.

18 November 2016

Freshening Charms - Missoula, Montana

"...each mile of the river's length presents fresh charms, and the thoughtful mind is awed and purified by the contemplation of these, some of the grandest works of Nature."

- George Bird Grinnell, quoted in Last Stand, p. 25, by Michael Punke

17 November 2016

Cradled - Missoula, Montana

"how can i ever
breathe normally again

after having been cradled

by the kind of sorrow
so silent, that it nourishes

after having been swept

by the kind of joy
so absolute, that it wounds."

Sanober Khan, from Turquoise Silence

16 November 2016

Enduring Design - Livingston, Montana

"The more you overdesign something, the quicker it dates. 
When you're dealing with high-value assets, they can't afford to be fashion projects."

(And isn't the definition of 'high-value asset' all a matter of perspective? To some viewpoints, this obviously refers to a private jet or superyacht. But in rural ranchland, the assumption could right fully be made that we're talking about miles and miles of fencing - definitely an asset AND high-value!)

15 November 2016

Super Leaf - Missoula, Montana

Well, those of us snuggled under cloudy skies missed out on the luminous glory of last night's supermoon. So here's this red maple leaf from me, instead; I've been saving it for just such a sad scenario. You'll just have to tap into your inner Canadian (you know you want to have one, so dig deep!) - think gratefully polite thoughts and be happy with this.

If the elite inner-Canadian technique doesn't quite work for you, click here to bask in the grand glow of John Solvie's supermoon capture over the Las Vegas, Nevada, mountains, and here for more views from myriad clear-sky locations worldwide. 

Or you can just wait until 2034.

14 November 2016

Vast Secrets - Livingston, Montana

"...Father John had come to love the quiet vastness and the way the plains revealed their secrets when you happened upon them unexpectedly - the swell of a bluff, the cut of an arroyo, the patches of sagebrush and pink, blue, and yellow wildflowers."

- from Shadow Dancer by Margaret Coel, page 2

(Minor disclosure: Regretfully, this photo is not from a weekend jaunt to Livingston, but delightfully left over from an earlier trip. Because it's almost the season for delightful leftovers...)

11 November 2016

Imperfect Beauty - Missoula, Montana

"...No one but you had sufficient audacity and eyesight to find those clearings where the shy humiliations gambol on sunny afternoons..."

-from Prospero To Arieln, by W. H. Auden (1907-1973), Selected Poems, page 139

And isn't that one of the glories of autumn, that the benevolent sun beams through rusts and imperfections, these hallmarks of transformation, morphing the subject into a thing of bright beauty. And, oh what we miss when we credit these as anything less.

A rather fitting rabbit trail of thought on Remembrance Day, that arrives at thankfulness.

10 November 2016

A Little Sunny - Missoula, Montana

"The Indian Summer of life should be a little sunny and a little sad, like the season, and infinite in wealth and depth of tone, but never hustled."

 - Henry Adams 1838-1918)

09 November 2016

Season Change - Missoula, Montana

What a relief to finally be past that last season - the seemingly never-ending, agonizingly rife-with-drama-and-petty-accusation election season, that is.

Here's to unfettered enjoyment of the remaining glorious weeks of autumn!

08 November 2016

Lands And Grooves - Fort Missoula, Montana

You may be educated in interesting terminology when you show your slightly odd photos to select people at the office ("select" being those who do not have small children and/or a puppy, so as to avoid, er, generous reciprocal photo sharing of images that actually include people in the photos - Egad! What are they thinking!).

Per my ex-military colleague and, the curving pattern visible in today's photos (and in James Bond movie intro footage) consists of  "...lands & grooves. The lands are the raised areas between two grooves. A rifling pattern of eight grooves with also have eight lands. Firearms can be manufactured with any number of lands and grooves in their barrels.  They can also spiral either left or right.  A few of the more common rifling patterns are 4/right, 5/right, 6/right, 6/left, 8/right, and 16/right."

This view is from the back of a Civil War model 1861 3" ordnance rifle, manufactured 1861, serial #15, muzzle-loader, which was converted to a breech-loading salute gun.

Hayes and Amalia Otoupalik donated it from their collection, in memory of his twin brother, Josef Otoupalik. Head on over to Fort Missoula to take a look for yourself and read the rest of this item's history. The weather is still lovely for brisk meandering.

07 November 2016

Sky Fall - Missoula, Montana

"The sky was a brilliant blue, falling to the earth around them.
Sometimes he had the illusion here, on the plains, that he was moving through the sky."

- from Shadow Dancer by Margaret Coel, page 3

04 November 2016

Clinging - Missoula, Montana

"Excuse me if I'm clinging on to life, but my parents wove me from tight thread." 
- Jeanne Calment (1875-1997)

(Yes, the lifespan dates are correct. 
Check out the hyperlink in Jeanne's name.
She's an extreme example of why not to purchase property from a little old lady who insists on the provision of a life estate, which allows her to continue living in the property until her death. True story. )

03 November 2016

Pear-Fection - Missoula, Montana

"There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat." 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Yes, this is an Asian pear, of the home-grown, Montana variety - the best kind of proof that it pays to be on the good side of the right people at the office.)

01 November 2016

31 October 2016

Aspen Dusk - Missoula, Montana

"The light is amber, the air still... Soon, the hooded blue of dusk will fall, followed by the darkness of night and the sky writing of the stars, indecipherable to us mortals, despite our attempts to force narrative upon them."
- from The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg

30 October 2016

Simply Temporary - Missoula, Montana

"Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature." 
- Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471)

28 October 2016

SciFi Fungi - Further Down Grant Creek Trail, Missoula, Montana

A guy walks into the doctor's office.
A carrot stuck in one of his ears, a cucumber in the other ear, and a mushroom stuck in one nostril. 

The man says, "Doc, this is terrible. What's wrong with me?" 

The doctor says, "Well, first of all, you need to eat more sensibly." 

(Aaaand that's all the silliness for today! 
This mushroom was intensely interesting - the velvety-looking texture (of course I didn't touch it!) of the top combined with its swooping curves brought to mind a manta ray swimming. But the layered sections and lines also could inspire fantastic design for an intergalactic spaceship. 
Any other dreamy fungi thoughts out there?)

27 October 2016

Autumn Mushrooms 1 - Along Grant Creek Trail, Missoula, Montana

Q: Why does Ms. Mushroom go out with Mr. Mushroom? 

(Profound thought for the day, I know!)

A: Because he is a fungi (fun guy)! 

26 October 2016

And Then We Were Two - Greenough Park, Missoula, Montana

"Social media has given us this idea that we should all have a posse of friends when in reality, if we have one or two really good friends, we are lucky." - Brene Brown

25 October 2016

Recycling Hope - Bitterroot River, Hamilton, Montana

"You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen."