"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."
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!
"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."
"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..."
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!)
"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
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.
"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!' "
"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."
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...)
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.
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!
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.)
"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
(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!)
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.
"...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...)
"...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.
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!
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 FireArmsID.com, 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.
"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. )
"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
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?)
"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."