The afternoon sun started to sink behind the trees and the wind rustled the coloring leaves. I took in the turn of seasons and thought how perfect it would be to go into the woods today. Instead I swiveled left to right and right to left in a faux leather chair as my fingers pressed print marks on to the polished glass covering the laminate conference table. I waited for a financial planner who would assess my capacity to live without a real job – one of those employment situations with insurance and w-2’s. He joined me dressed in the obligatory consultant attire of grey suite, white dress shirt, and blue tie and after pleasantries began the questioning. He did not have a drill Sargent or interrogating lawyer approach, but rather a quiet and unassuming demeanor. The inquiries seemed reasonable, almost rote: What was my monthly income to expense ratio? Did I have any foreseeable changes in my near future, like getting married, inheriting a big estate, or a move to a foreign land? His questions were met with an easy response. Then he asked: How many more cars will you buy in your life time?
My eyes widened as my brain slammed on the breaks. How many more cars would I buy? I felt a swift slap of reality: life is finite and so is your car-buying future. The question also drove home the reality that my finite life continues to shorten. Continue reading →
Rhubarb plants swell in weed-like proportion with leaves capable of sheltering small mammals. The spring flowers continue to materialize days short of the summer solstice. Lilacs burst. Skunk Weed pole vaults from most every ditch. Flowering salmon berries promise sweet harvests ahead while the Sitka Spruce hangs with new buds inviting culinary harvesting.
Sitka is not in the part of Alaska where melons grow to the size of hot air balloons, nor where one cabbage is large enough to feed an entire village; however, it is a place where solid growth abounds both in nature and in the people. Continue reading →
The water came up quick and close as we seemed to skim just over top of it before landing on the really, really short air strip. It was January and as the wind started blowing cold down south, I found myself hopping a plane, and then three more for an island…the island of Sitka, Alaska. This spot in southeast Alaska has a harbor of calm waters and a string of towering snow capped mountains. The day I arrived the air was filled with fog and rain. It was quite a shock to look out two days later and see huge mountains flying straight up. I could talk for pages about the weather–the wind, the rain, the stunning sunsets over the water–but it is the nature created in part by the weather that has enveloped and grounded me while simultaneously lifting me up.
When the radio stopped working in West Texas, I was pretty certain that the universe was testing my resolve. I mean, the desert expanses and border patrol vehicles whirling past could keep my interest for only so long. The inconvenience was soon forgotten as Big Bend National Park took my attention. Between the mountain hiking that swept my breath away—from beauty and elevation—to the Rio Grande that offered a hot spring with a view of Mexico, I was enchanted. I darted around the park like a kid in a candy store. I thought Texas was only about oil and cowboy hats—and it is that too, but not entirely. Continue reading →
The days filled with sun and blue skies have given way to wind and rain…a lot of rain. For those of us (aka: Me!) contemplating the next camping move, the rain is not exactly an ecstatic premise. However, the thirsty lands of our country’s fruit growers, nut purveyors, and cattle ranchers are drinking up the rain and everyone is talking rain with broad smiles. (Well, maybe not the folks who got stuck on the Bay Bridge when it flooded.) Continue reading →
Are the camping gods good to me, or what? Over six weeks of being on the road and camping out more than camping in at friends’ houses, I experienced TWO nights of rain. Two. A few sprinkles here and there, plenty of sub freezing temperatures, and winds to make you double check the adhesive of your hair piece, but no real ‘weather.’ I made it to California where the seasons alternate between nice and really nice and I watch the weather drama in Wyoming, Illinois, and even North Carolina play out on the TV versus the tent screen.
Tonight is the November full moon. Each month the moon is named to correspond with the time of year or the events that generally occur. The Beaver Moon was named by the Native Americans who noted the beavers getting ready for winter by busily cutting down trees and securing their homes. Of course it could have been for the frontiersmen who hunted beavers for their fine pelts. Unfortunately, the haberdasher for these beaver top hats and the like used mercury in their production. Not very sustainable for the hat maker, that is. But it did give us the term The Mad Hatter.
As I stared out at the sandstone mountains of southern Utah, the Ranger tried to explain how this land looked over eight million years ago and how in that time, the land we stood and gawked at with its towering red rock spires and grey rock canyons was transformed from a vast plain to a deep canvas of undulating colors and textures. She told how the Colorado Plateau shifted, raising one area and forcing another to drop hundreds of feet. She explained how the Virgin River slowly carved caverns into the mountains as the deposits of silt and sand compounded again and again to create raised ledges and heart plunging cliffs.