Archive for March 2012

FRIDAY’S FLINT FACE

March 30, 2012

Today’s experience reminds me that my life isn’t quite as “important” as I thought it was.   I had prepared well for this morning’s class;  it was the first time I’ve been out of the house all week and I had had a lot of time to think about the lesson.  One of the verses we would study uses the word “flint.”

Great!   I remembered that when my children were, well, “children,”  they came indoors one day with a grayish sort of rock, several inches in length, telling me they had found some “flint” outdoors in the yard.  I had thought, how would they know?    But they brought in some other rock, I think, and made us all go down into the basement, struck the flint, and sure enough,  little sparks flew off.

How interesting!   I’m not sure if I was more impressed with the flint or with my kids who could recognize flint lying around outside.

So of course I needed to find this rock and take it in to class today for an Object Lesson.

No deal.

After all,  that little incident was a few decades ago.   It’s likely that I saved that flint rock somewhere;  it’s not likely that I’d actually find it.    (Who took the flint!!??)

I talked it over with my son, the pharmacist, and together, with his “chemistry” training,  we decided a Bic lighter does indeed use flint, and a broken Bic lighter would be an ideal way to reveal the flint for my class.

I could find one of those.   Don’t ask.   We don’t smoke.  I don’t know where it came from.

So this morning, with a notebook full of carefully hand-written notes,  the Bible with the “right” translation, and my perfectly broken Bic, I was all ready to lead our little class into a study of the Flint Face…

Only when I got to class, I arrived empty handed.    I had left everything at home.    I suppose I was fussing about my sore throat and taking the right hot liquid with me…etc., etc.,.. I just forgot the rest.

And that’s when the “teacher” began to learn the biggest lesson today.    A lifetime of experience,  of accumulation,  of preparation, of careful planning….all that turned out to be not needed.    Not so important after all.

Here is the verse that was included in our lesson:   (Isaias 50: 5, 6, 7) –  “The Lord God  has opened my ear and I do not resist.  I have not turned back.    I gave my back to those who beat Me;  I gave my cheeks to those who plucked my beard.   I have not turned my face away from buffets and spitting.   The Lord GOd is my Helper; therefore I will not be disgraced.   I have set my face as flint,  knowing that I shall not be put to shame.”

These words,    of course,  are the words to be spoken by the Messiah, when He comes,  spoken throught he prophetic words of Isaias.   We talked about most of these words, but especially the meaning of “setting ones face as flint.”

Flint is hard.   Stone-face.  Unresponding, uncomplaining.  But more so,  flint makes itself useful when it is struck, and struck hard.

The thought of the beautiful and loving face of Our Savior being struck was a difficult one.   It was a most difficult lesson altogether, but it was one that unfolded itself to our thoughts and questions, word by word,  as we needed it.  The words carried us along.

The notes, the book, the Bic with its “real” flint that were all left behind this morning seemed as nothing, compared to what we were actually all reading and learning together this morning.

It’s Friday, now,   when we customarily meditate on the Wounds of Christ, the beatings, the punches, the cords, the pulling of the beard, the spitting, and then the Wounds of the Crucifxion that He willingly went towards.   And this Friday, this day, we look to the next few days called Holy Week,  when all this really happened, a couple thousand years ago.

My best plans are not as important as my present experience with the Crucified One, unfolding, day be day, as I need it.

THE SWORD OF HELL

March 29, 2012

I’m not quite myself today.

 

The hellish vapors rise and fill the brain

Till I go mad and  my heart is utterly changed

“See this Sword,”

the Prince of Darkness

said to me.

For me he beats the time and gives the signs

Even more boldly I play the Dance of Death.

And:

 Thus heaven I’ve forfeited

I know it full well

My soul, once true to God,

Is chosen for Hell.

   Who is the author of this “lovely”  poetic confession?

It is none other than Karl Marx. 

He knew what was happening to him.     He could feel the surge of power and inspiration seeping into his soul, and he could not and would not stop it.   He could perceive that his words were given the power to raise up dictators and tyrants and powers that ultimately killed a hundred million of their own citizens, and  counting.   His words still give power to people, institutions, bureaucracies, and states who fill their brains with “hellish vapors” promising glory and might and power and domination. . . .

Domination over you and me.

It is said that there are only two things in the world today that are impeding the total domination of such Evil:  the United States Constitution;  and the existence of the traditional Church and its teachings (and, perhaps, those Christian churches derived from the original Church).

Those who wish to Preserve and Conserve traditional teachings and values are in a battle for their lives.

There is spiritual warfare going on around us all the time.  Good versus evil.  The  Holy versus the very…unholy.  Our souls are the prize; our souls, one of us at a time.    I’ve often thought that if humans could see the spiritual beings and battles that exist among us, we’d be scared out of our minds.

 

 

 

 

RECONNECTED

March 28, 2012

I’ve been working at this.   “Reconnecting,” after a six-week absence, to all the things that are important to me in my home life.   First and foremost,  the foundation of it all –  is Orderliness:

Ha!    That looks like the wrong picture to show “orderliness.”   I didn’t say it was a cinch!    I said I was working at things.

So, today, that was my dining room table – and 2/3 of the mail that I still had to go through.   Every piece of paper had to be looked at, defined,  decided about,  categorized,  placed properly.    I think I did it.

And as I was doing it, I thought how important it is to be orderly.    Every once in a while I descend into “spontaneity.”  “Freedom.”    “Spur of the moment.”   Ad hoc, responding to things as needed.    But I always know that I’m accomplishing less and letting some important things slide off my schedule.

The two modern saints I most admire, St.  Anthony Mary Claret and St. Francis de Borgia, were supremely organized and orderly about their daily life.   They were each in their own time responsible for a heavy schedule of administrative duties every day.    They needed to see many people every day.   They had to keep their own living quarters and possessions in order.   And they never abbreviated their prayers throughout the day, at appointed times.   (Psalm 118:164 – “Seven times a day I have given praise to Thee.” )    And they found time to study and meditate on God’s word for the strength and wisdom that He might give them.

(I do hope they are enjoying Heavenly Rest right now….)

I thought of these men today.   Are those piles of several weeks’ worth of mail any more than these men had to deal with?    What would they have done?    Dispatch!     And, Do!

Before I left for my unexpected trip to the mountains,  did I really find this difficult?    Was I becoming reluctant to do my daily duties?   Was I taking the responsibilities and privileges and joys of my life for granted?    I had to be without “my life” for a while, and now I can see it with fresh eyes.

I love the work and the problems and the duties and the responsibilities that I have.

I think I’ve become reconnected.

 

RECONNECTING

March 27, 2012

Don’t mean to be unfriendly,  but I’m in a recovery mode.

No talking.

 

It’s wonderful reconnecting with all my favorite things at home, but right now I need to reconnect with my throat.    It’s busy doing things that don’t feel very nice and it’s not paying attention to all the good things I’m doing for it.

A little more time…..

And a serious appeal to St. Blaise.

 

 

 

I-80 GOOD-BYE !

March 25, 2012

I’m home.    It was a tough trip!

In a few days the Blue Cruze drove from this….

….to this….

From Blizzards to Spring!!   The days in between had become one long difficult “day”  of  sadness, seriousness, and sickness.

The sadness came with what I’d experienced.  The seriousness came from what I’d observed in this past month.  The sickness….

Well, you just have to laugh:

One week ago I left those mountain blizzards accompanied by that prickly-cactus chokey throat virus that I seem to get after each visit with Cooper.  Heading home, for about a couple  thousand miles I was feverish:  hot in very cold places and cold in very hot places.   I was blurry-eyed and I just wanted to sleep, which I seemed to do while driving through Wyoming and Nebraska.

Never question a crazed driver:

  I needed to gargle with salt water, according to Hubbie’s perennial remedy for a very sore throat.  But I needed something cold on my throat too.   Much to the surprise of a young man in a McDonald’s somewhere in Nebraska, I stumbled in and asked for “An ice cream cone and three packets of salt, please.”    Fortunately, I didn’t have to argue with him.   At that point I probably didn’t look like a woman he should question.

Two minutes later, with one hand coated white with melting ice cream and the other hand trying to pour the salt into a bottle of water,  I think I was able to accomlish my goal while the strong, warm Nebraska wind blew all the ingredients into my clothes and car and possibly my throat too.

The effort exhausted me, and a few exits later I was looking for a place to park my body which had already fallen asleep.   It was daylight.  There was a big truck stop ahead.   And an empty place in the parking lot.

My coughing woke me up and I struggled to understand how my car’s clock appeared to be two hours “fast.”

I was making no progress at all that day…I still had three states to drive through.

Never argue with a Tom-Tom

At long last, sometime after dark, I was approaching Davenport, Iowa.   It was then that my GPS system led me OFF of I-80 and directed me to my destination via country roads.    I disagreed.

I disagreed and ended up LOST in Davenport!    Believe me, that’s a big enough city to get lost in and a big enough city to have spots you don’t want to be lost in!    I fought my way back to I-80, defying my Tom-Tom,  only to find myself back on the Interstate, missing all the Davenport area motels that had been my goal for that night.

Sick, frustrated, overtired, and grumpy, I finally saw a few lights in the dark  distant miles ahead.     Three more motels!!     No one could possibly know about these motels in the middle of nowhere!

Room for me?    No!  No!  And, No!

Seems a nearby nuclear power plant had an “outage.”    They had flown in workers to take care of the problem.    And they had housed them in all the available motel rooms.

As I was having a brief meltdown of my own in the parking lot, a kind lady came out and told me that one of the workers had gotten sick, and they had a room available after all.  I didn’t want to know about the “outage.”  I didn’t even want to know about why the worker was sick.    I just wanted his room!

I got it.  Had a good night’s sleep.   Had a good visit with Hubbie’s Illinois cousins the next day.   Had an increasingly hopeful and exciting drive the next day…ever nearing Home.

Home.   With Spring blossoms and flowers and warm air…..   and all the things I need……

Deo gratias.

(I-80) EMPTY AMERICA

March 20, 2012

(Apologies for the “plain-ness” of these photos.  All the best ones from today are stuck in my  phone camera.  I’ve had no cell  coverage for two days!)

I’m making progress across our country. . . .

Yesterday’s driving was hours and hours of vast, empty spaces.       All day long I was usually just about the only one on the road, maybe one or two other cars in view sometimes.

Hours and hours.

Today was a whole day of similar scenery in Wyoming, nine hours of driving and, breath-taking beauty.     I’d come up over a  long hill and see ten or twenty miles ahead of snow covered mountains with a narrow ribbon of highway stretching out ahead of me.    Sometimes I was totally surround by moonscapes with no other sign of “planet earth.”   I saw so many geological formations, I found myself wondering:    What…?     What…?    What’s that called?   How’d that get there?

One time I heard myself saying “mmmmmm”  as though something very delicious and  pleasurable had come my way.     Indeed.

I crossed the Continental Divide at 7,000 feet and felt so small when I thought in terms of where I was on a whole continent!

In these past two days I’ve seen more cattle and antelope than people.

Tomorrow will be Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois, so I will continue to drive through very sparsely populated areas.    Our country is mostly EMPTY !!

Then, in two more days, I’ll be at home, in my neighborhood of a few hundred people, a few miles away from my town of maybe 25,ooo people, near a city of about a half a million people.

Downright urban overcrowding!!!

(I-80) BREAKING AWAY

March 20, 2012

One of the pleasures of being a grandma is those tiny little hands reaching up to you to be picked up, accompanied by hopeful little smiles and squeals…..   I thought I’d always love the memory of those little up-stretched hands.

But this morning it was so “tragic” –

This morning Grandma was going away.   “Grandma”  said   “Good-bye” — two words that just didn’t sound good in the same sentence.

Cooper.    Mommy.    Daddy.     The heart doesn’t just leave them behind.   The heart tears itself away.

Love is like that.

Real love includes the pain of life’s events.    All of them.   

   Some day it won’t be like that.   God gave us the desire to live together as families, among friends and loved ones.   And some day that desire will be satisfied and all who love our Heavenly Father will be together, forever, in peace, in joy, in love, in communion with each other.

But for now  we have the example of the Holy Family to show us the way and the help of the Holy Spirit to help us change into the kind of people who belong to them.

God grant us true hope that could inspire our patience and perseverance.

(I-80 – CA) LAST DAYS, COME TO AN END

March 19, 2012
 
I thought I’d slow down a bit for a few days, but it looks like I’ve taken off one whole week.  

  This was my road to church this morning.   Son-In-Law kindly offered to drive me there and back since the Blue Cruze is not quite equipped for slippery mountain roads.    The snow plows do a wonderful job, but miles and miles of curves and inclines on these winter roads present a driving challenge unfamiliar to us “flatlanders.”

Everything here in the mountains has entered a new phase.   I can return home now because I’m not needed for this phase.

Tomorrow I will begin the long drive eastward.    I should feel eager and happy to return home after this very long month, but instead I’m feeling a new appreciation for the hardships of this world and for the evils of the last half of the twentieth century that bear down on all of us and that sometimes break into our very own private family life.

I arrived here at the beginning of this month slightly injured, battered and bruised from a not-so-gentle reminder, most likely from the Guardian Angel I have, that this trip is not without hazards.  Carrying boxes and suitcases happily into the car, I ended up sprawled out full length on my driveway, wondering “what just happened here?”    And then, “Oh.   This whole trip could be full of dangers and unexpected hurts.”     I’m vulnerable — on my own.    I need God with me at every moment.   “Without Him I can do nothing….”   as the beautiful old hymn goes.

Halfway through the month, soon I as stopped limping around, I then  began coming down with the “bad cold”   that finally took me out this past week.   Once again,  I’m vulnerable.    I’m not the strong one.   I have no bright ideas to offer.    I  might be merely a vessel that can carry the One to any that need Him, if I’m even strong enough for that.

This little family of my Daughter out here that called for my help is entering a new phase, as I said.    But so am I.    At the very least, I’m entering a new understanding of what prayer is.     I’ve prayed much,  I’ve prayed strongly,  I’ve prayed often…..I’ve prayed until I understood that the “answer” to prayers is irrelevant.    The “answer”  is not the point of prayers, not ultimately.

From bad falls to bad colds to bad situations, we have all given evidence of human weakness.    But apparently it’s in our weakness we can sometimes feel the Power that is there hearing our prayers.

“He is there and He is not silent,”  in the words of Francis Schaeffer.

We should still pray for “answers.”   We should still pray for every reason there is.    But I just wanted to tell you that there is Something greater that waits for us to speak to Him, and He won’t always be silent.

 

(I-80 – CA) “…Tell God YOUR plans…”

March 12, 2012

Ha ha.

As the old saying goes,  “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”   Rather an irreverent truism.

Will be taking a beak from posting for a couple of days.   I’m  beyond exhausted out here and I’m feeling pretty sick.    I need to shut down extraneous activities for a while so i can concentrate on the reasons I’m out here.

In the last post I hinted at an interesting activity that should have occurred today.   I was nearly,  almost, a lttle tiny bit glad that the event was canceled.

This would have been me today:

Behind the dogs, that is.    Daughter and I were looking forward to a little dogsledding in the mountains.   Turned out (thanks to God)  a storm moved in at 9,000 feet, with high winds and snow, and possibly white-out conditions.

Not good for dogs.

And other people who don’t know enough to stay in out of the storms.   (Maybe that isn’t “laughter” from God, but a benevolent, fatherly smile    Tell God your plans.)

Maybe next weekend.    Or next winter.

It would have been fun.

(I-80 – CA) SATURDAY SIGNS

March 10, 2012

Well, after that last “darkly grateful” posting,  I can lighten up a little bit and  show you some “signs”  on our Saturday morning walk today:

That’s us this morning:  me to the left (ha!),  Cooper in the middle,  and for those of you who can read signs in the heavens, “Our Lady’s Blue Mantle”  over us in the beautiful sky.

There are many signs all over this place, and I thought how disctinctive the words of signs are to different geographical locations.


This one is very common on these roads and menaces us when we’re driving at frequent intervals.   I’ll write about black, gray, and white sometime.

Whenever you get behind the wheel of a car,  you’re constantly  reminded you’re taking your life in your hands…..or so it seems to a newcomer.     Although I love the kind of humor called hyperbole,  I’m not sure this is it.   With a ten percent grade, uphill and downhill, wherever you go on these curvy mountain roads, the what-ifs are always present in your mind.

But today I found other things along the road that did make me smile.   Some of them were actual signs:

The little white sign on the side of this garage says:  “WATCH FOR FALLING SNOW”   (from the roof).    Not sure how common that is out here to warn your guests,  but it seems to be serious:

I wonder if that house had a similar sign before its own avalanche.

It’s a beautiful neighborhood here.   The architecture of the houses seems to grow out of the surrounding forest.    I wondered what it would be like to be a home buyer and choose from these kinds of lots and homes.

I guess there’s a variety of possibilities –

Yep.  That’s a For Sale sign on top of the rock.    We’re on a mountain top.  You could own a “Piece of the Rock.”

Cooper and I came around for another view of this unique real estate offering, just to be sure:

There are “sticks” all over too.

You can count about a dozen “sticks” in this view.    They’re signs too, for the snow plow drivers.  They range from six feet to about ten feet high and tell the driver just how far he can go to the edges…..  They each have a colored stripe at the top, blue, red, yellow. . . .  ….Like some elongated alien croquet game.

Just a sign of how bad things can get around here…for driving.

The best sign of all for me, though,  was that bright blue sky that bore down on us, the beautiful blue mantle….It’s the sign I needed today.

We walked around and around and came back down this way in view of that same mountain that points us to home.

Thanks for walking with me.    Look up!

I’ll have a surprise activity tomorrow to write about –  and if I come through it in one piece, that will be a sign that I’m not completely crazy.

(I-80 – CA) SATURDAY Grateful Update

March 10, 2012

The Church tells us that each day of the week has a special remembrance.   Today is Saturday.   This is the day when we remember that darkest day between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.    Only “blind”  faith could have gotten the Disciples through it.

Only faith and consideration of the wordsand example  of the Mother of the Crucified One.

Mothers and sons have a unique relationship.   The mother of this Son has a unique position to know and to understand…On that dark day,  on the darkest of days,and  on our individual dark days, she indeed has insight and perspective — and she was given to all of us at the foot of the Cross.   A mother who would know…..

I’m a little bit in those storm clouds in the picture above, right now.    That’s why I’m way out here near the West coast, in the mountains.  And now I’ve received disturbing news from my family in Florida, dire and dangerous and very uncertain….and a  request to go down there to lend more help.   I’m a “bi – coastal helper”  maybe.

I’m a bit overtired.  A lttle bit sick with a sore throat.  My daily work from home has found me and seems to be relentless.    My mind, which is usually such a comfortable refuge to me, can speak to me now only in fragments, so I feel a bit disassociated from my self.

So it’s with a very grateful heart that I thank all of you who have been praying for me and for the un-named, un-described situation that brought me out here.   God knows it well.   There seems to be a foundation for strength and help that we are drawing on.    Something good is affecting us.

We could not go on without prayer.

And I wouldn’t want to go on without the example of the Mother of Christ, on that first Holy Saturday and on this Saturday.

 

 

(I-80 – CA) THOUGHTS ON A MANHOLE COVER

March 6, 2012

The corner of …   whatever.   Doesn’t matter which turn you make.

Cooper and I had “no particular place to go”  this day, but unlike the rest of the song Hubbie liked we weren’t “ridling along in my automobile.”    Just ambling along the forested  mountain roads in Cooper’s neighborhood, feet and stroller.

Interesting things come up when you’re just “being where you are,”  rather than busy doing something.

For Cooper and Grandma it was a manhole cover that came up.   And Grandma’s chance to teach Cooper what manhole covers are for!

Jumping on, of course!   Stomping on!    They make the most interesting sound when your shoes hit the metal.  Cooper giggled and giggled at the new sounds his feet were making.  He laughed at the sheer joy of stomping his feet.

Cooper’s got about twenty years to learn all the new things he’ll need to get on with his adult life.   I’ve got about twenty years to learn new things, yes,  but more importantly, to come to terms with what I’ve learned and to understand and assess and reflect on what my life has been — should God think I need that much time.

Begining a life;  ending a life.

The sheer joy of discovery.

(I-80 – CA) ONE DAY A WEEK

March 5, 2012

I want to share this with everyone I know and care about.    I think it’s because I want you to be happy too.

I set out one day on this long, sloping mountain road:

Actually, it was quite a long downgrade with many curves.    About 30 minutes later I was still driving and trying very hard to keep the camera out of my hands:

 I know that no matter how many photos I show you,  I’d still feel that I had left out “the best one.”

Another fifteen or so minutes more of driving and I reached my goal:There were three of these copper doors, each with lovely scenes embossed into them.    These two are the center doors of the original cathedral of Reno, Nevada.   I couldn’t wait to see what was inside.

Now, I can’t show you what was inside on that day, because what was going on was very holy,  very serious, very reverent, and breathtakingly lovely.

But I went back the next week, when nothing formal was going on inside, and I could take pictures and not disturb the few people who were there inside, praying.

When you open those copper doors,  and if you look slightly to the left,  you can see this:

I’ve done nothing to the lighting.  Indeed, I don’t have  my usual photo editing software with me, so the pictures are exactly what the camera has seen, without improvements.

Some of you may recognize the outline of the white glowing statue.

And closer up:

It is a very valuable and rare reproduction of The Pieta by Michelangelo Buonarroti, the original housed in St. Peter’s basilica in Rome.   This cathedral in Reno is privileged to have it.   I’ve never seen the original,  but this reproduction held me spellbound for quite some time.  The love.   The pain.    The horror.   The reason.       Some….man…carved…all this…and recreates this scene from our history.

I stepped back for a while and looked at the other things inside the cathedral.    All around me I saw beautiful art work.   It was similar to being in a small museum, but the art was chosen for its special meaning, each piece telling the story of our salvation by the hands of a Loving God.

Over to the right was an important scene:

It’s a serene scene of the Holy Family.   This is the Family we are gathered into — if we so desire it.    Foster Father, Mother, and Christ our Brother.    The excellence of the expressions on their faces inspire us to like holiness -and to thoughtfulness: can we live worthy of belonging to them?    They know how;  they know the way;   this scene presents to us Jesus the Way.

Those of you who can recognize doors like this — and who know what’s behind them — know the power that Jesus our Savior brings to each one of us:

I wish I could take all of you into this quiet and beautiful place of worship.

I wish you could have smelled the sweet incense – a physical reminder of our prayers rising to God.    I wish you could have heard the singing, peaceful and celestial, a beautiful and fitting enhancement to the holy Service to God that goes on for us — at least one day a week.

Yes, it is a “rule”  that we must take part in such a thing on a certain “one day a week.”   That whole day, Sunday, is holy and lovely.    But what could keep us away from our weekly service to God when there are reminders like this cathedral of the beauty that is worship!

 

(I-80 – CA) MELTED JELLY

March 5, 2012

DAY 5 of the snow shoveling……Melted jelly … formerly known as my muscles…..

 

I think I’m mostly done with the shoveling.

That gigantic 15′ x 10′ deck is four-fifths clear of snow.   Today when I was shoveling down that snow drift  (actually it was a snow drift on top of a snow drift),   I was dressed in those new heavy duty serious mountain snow boots, heavy pants and — short sleeves!   That hot, bright sun was bearing down on everything.     I understand that being 6,000 feet closer to the sun shouldn’t make the sun feel any different from home.

But I fail to understand why I was out shoveling SNOW when I was working up a sweat in BARE ARMS.

I’m going to let the sun duke it out with what’s left of that snow drift.

I have no more strength in my arms and legs.    I have other things to write about.

 

 

(I-80 -CA) BEAR HUTS AND IGLOOS

March 2, 2012

Shoveling, shoveling, shoveling  —   oh, I already wrote that in the last post.

I suppose if Someone can send us  a blizzard  for three days, then it’s only fair that it takes three days to shovel up after all the snow.   I’m only shoveling the necessary things.      The above picture is my “pathway” to the Bear Hut.     This is a small but necessary structure that the mountain houses have around here.  It’s the place where the people place their garbage, built strong to keep the bear out.

(I’d feel much better if they called these “Raccoon Huts”  or “Squirrel Huts,”  but, no, it’s for bear.   Some of these huts are built of stone and mortar.  Very strong.   Very big bear.)

Here’s a close-up –

Both the storm and the snowplows have thrown snow up against the Bear Hut, even higher than the drifts.   The snow I’m working on on the upper deck,  at intervals all day,   has three distinct layers:   about 20 inches of fluffy stuff   (the words “light” and “fluffy” will be forever divorced in my mind);   another 20 inches of a middle layer of heavy wet snow;  and a bottom 12 to 15 inches of compacted snow, pressed down by the weight of the upper layers into pre-glacier-like coarse ice.      There is an art to removing these layers:  work on the hard heavy layers until the purple spots start forming in front of your eyes   (very Dr. Suess-like moments);   and then work on the lighter upper layers until the spots go away

However, the snow thrown against the Bear Hut has been compacted by direct wind and snowplow power, no layers   It’s compacted into hard cement like chunks, suitable for making an igloo.

Once I dug a pathway to the Bear Hut, I thought I’d put the shovel down and try my skills at building a wall suitable for an igloo.   These chunks are only one to two feet long — but heavy for my weary arms.      I know I’m not going to be hired by any Eskimos soon.

Just as I was about to wonder, once again,  why my daughter and her little family choose to live in such a place,   I looked up from my work and saw their back yard:

And that’s why.     Beautiful mountain forest…..

And the occasional bear.

(I-80 – CA) “SHOVEL READY”

March 1, 2012

Although “shovel ready”  turned out to be a disappointing exaggeration in American economic news, I can tell you out here in the Sierra Nevadas,  “shovel ready”  is a term of survival!

It started out with a beautiful scene looking down from my loft.    But that snowy scene quickly and persistently became what the people up here politely call “a winter storm,”  but by any fair dictionary would meet the definition of “blizzard.”

I shoveled and shoveled yesterday, but the blizzard didn’t go away.   This morning we woke up to this:

 I get to re-do my shoveling task — and then some.

Fortunately, Daughter took me out to get some serious winter-mountain boots.   Scientifically designed for 40 Below….

Black and white, tough elastic laces.   Serious boots.   I shoveled the stairs leading down to the driveway — for no apparent purpose,  unless you have some kind of hip-waders on, or whatever it is you need for walking in deep snow.

I wondered about my new Blue Cruze out there – you know, the one I wouldn’t let out of my garage this winter because “the roads are dirty”?     Actually the high winds of the blizzard uncovered it for me….not that I can get inside of it easily.

 Note that the Blue Cruze is parked INSIDE a car port — and still collected all that snow.

Now there’s a method to shoveling this much snow.    I discovered the easiest way, the quickest way,  to begin removing this snow is to use your shovel as you would a canoe paddle.    Canoe paddle.    You hold it as you would a paddle and push through the snow in a  backwards motion,   scraping off the top foot or so of snow,  whatever you have the strength for, and then you turn around and shovel down the regular way.

Down through the layers of snow.

 

DISCLAIMER:        I noticed after I posted this that “WordPress”  is allowing some advertising in these posts by linking certain words to a commercial site.   You don’t have to click on those links,  and I have reworded some sentences to avoid those particular links.