Posted tagged ‘Snow’


November 6, 2019

Good thing English is my first language or I’d never be able to enjoy playing around with our words!

Banner snowflakes

I’m in a good mood today; exalted, really.   My soul “magnifying”  the beauty of our Creator and  His Creation.    The reason?    Snow!      The diseases in my body required a short rest this afternoon, so I had the opportunity to look out the window, which is when I noticed there was a light snowfall.

Each little snowflake a true little marvel.

They say no two are alike.      The molecules of water forming crystals in the cold  until they get heavy enough to precipitate . . . and  just fall,  right out of the air!   The whole air,  filled with these little crystals!   It didn’t have to be.      What human mind could have invented snow?    Only a Mind that is the Originator of beauty would invent a little detail like this.

On All Saints Day the Spruce Tunnel speculated a little bit about what makes a person a saint,  what is “sanctified,”  and what is “holy,”  the other word for saint?    Comes from God, the Creator, of course.    And there are many explanations, many instructions about how to be holy and please God.

 ( I Peter 1:15, 16  –  But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy:  because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.)  (Or:   Be holy, as your Father in Heaven is holy.)       

Many instructions, because it’s not a statement, it’s a mandate, and the guidance shows us some components of holiness:  knowledge, abstinence,  patience, godliness, virtue, love . . . .  courage, prudence . . .

So here are two heroes for our times when the new version of the Church is faltering as it turns to secular virtues of social justice,  immorality,  indifferentism,  and compromise. Today’s hero is Alexander Tschugguel:


A handsome young 26-year old from Austria who, along with his best friend,  flew down into Rome and removed the offensive pagan idols from out of a Christian church  ( in the Vatican!)  and threw the idols into the Tiber River  (as many of you have heard).

(Is it stealing, is it vandalism to clean out an offensive abomination from a Christian church?    No!   I think it was a spiritual  janitorial service.)

But these two young men were apparently the ONLY two in the whole world who actually took action!!!!

Many others have done similar things in past times.   But we can go all the way back to the Germanic regions of Europe in the 8th century to see another instance of destroying pagan idols:

Boniface anew

That’s St. Boniface, and that tree is no ordinary tree.   It was central to the worship of these Germanic pagans, and if you hurt it in anyway,  the god it represents will have the same effect as the South American Pachamama  idol;  that is,  the earth would react with destructive force and lightning would come down to kill anyone who disrespected it.*

As a matter of fact,  if anyone dared harm a sacred tree (the locus of the god)  the Germanic pagans themselves would . . .  do unspeakable things to the man who did it, usually involving disemboweling as the first part.

Knowledge?  Courage?  Godliness?  Love?    I think so.  St.Boniface,  in his love for these pagans then taught them the Source of all Love.   God is Love.  God is Love itself.

There are other saints, living quietly today:

Man Rosary

rosary in hand

Mind on God.    Praying.    Mind on the Gospels, via the rosary.

But there are also other pagans living today, even in the Vatican!!

laying down cross

Yep.  Laying down a cross (an empty cross)  onto the “mandela”-like cloth containing all  the objects of worship accompanying those Pachamama idols.

Quite a ceremony!    No Christian soldiers in sight.

We need another axe like Boniface wielded.  We need more acts like Alexander and his friend.



“In some causes,  silence is dangerous.”  St.  Ambrose



.*   Of course this sounds reasonable to me, a descendant of Vikings.  did not Thor wield thunderbolts?


February 10, 2019


Well, what do you do when a blizzard buries your front yard?

Snow angel toppers 280

You jump down on top of the snow and make snow angels!

(That’s Cooper and his Daddy – I think – several feet above their front yard, and beautiful  Donner Lake in the background,  with the High Sierras of California.)

When you have a blizzard burial,  you try not to let you and your friend get  buried —

Snow burial 230

But it makes it really hard to play on your  swing set —

Snow jungle gym 390

The swings are down there somewhere.

They’ll have to wait till Spring.

Snow porch 280

Cooper and Daddy  (I’m sure Cooper helped!)   dug out their front door and shoveled across their raised deck . . .  and I’m sure Daddy said, ‘Now, stand in front of the snow so I can take a picture to show Grandma.”

Oh, yes.  Grandma loves winter.    I’ve told you that before!   Even when I visited them one winter and shoveled three feet of snow off their deck so it wouldn’t collapse.  But it kept snowing and I had another four feet to shovel the next morning.

What that gives you is . . .  an experience to remember!



November 26, 2018

Sometimes, anyway:  Fall is Winter —

S leaf 370

We got the visit from Bruce this morning – Bruce the second winter storm of the season.   But I noticed this brave little proclamation.      A wet snowfall and strong winds have torn off this leaf and flung it down on my deck railing, sticking like an upright oaken sentinel, proclaiming to all that it is still Fall!

Out my front window I could see that I wasn’t going anywhere today:

S Thin Line 370

See that thin dark gray line going across the middle of the picture?   That’s our street.  Someone was able to make a track.   But my little car is not going to slip and slide and add tracks to that track!

It gets a little bit lighter after noonday,   pretty outside and cozy inside.

S deck and pond

We had a holiday, of sorts, today.  A Snow Day!

I love this snow!


November 18, 2018

(Sorry for the absence;  “body” failure again.   I’m getting better, I think . . .)




For my “record,”   that is.    We  have about one more month of official Fall on the calendar, but around here in the Far North I was reminded how wintry and short Fall can be.   Just a little while ago  I was washing my windows at a gas station  and having a little trouble . . .  the window washing fluid was freezing on the windshield!

(I thought they made that washing fluid with anti-freeze or alcohol or something,  something that doesn’t freeze.)

So with time passing so quickly,  I wanted to make a record of Fall things here on the Spruce Tunnel so I can remember what this year was like.

Here was one hint of the presence of Fall:

Fall Geese in sky

The geese are overhead practicing their V formations,  above  our local Big Ten university crop fields.   (This university started out as an agricultural college.)    I was in my car when the sky filled with V’s .   By the time I got my camera going this was all I could capture,  but believe me,  it’s an impressive sight.  A force of nature, replayed twice a year, for ages and ages.

(I know;    I’m not supposed to take pictures when I’m driving but . . .  I think I was stopped at a stop sign on those country roads for this picture. )

My own wild “bird” in the back yard:

Fall Blue Heron in b yard 370


A few weeks ago it was Harvest Time on the old back deck:

Parsley Picking

I grow my herbs out there where they’re handy to add to my salad bowls (or sieves, sometimes.)

I looked down and was surprised to see a  beautiful  “modern art” type view of the parsley:

Parsley dots

You must take beauty where you can find it.    Fortunately,  beauty is all around us,.

I cannot forget this Fall  harvest activity:

Pumpkin The apple orchard apples.jpg 370

My Recorder-Friend (see next paragraph)  told me about an apple orchard just a couple miles from my house.    My little family drove over there and picked galas,  honey crisps, and a new honey crisp hybrid developed by the orchard owner, who just happens to be an agricultural professor at out “local Big Ten” university.    The most delicious apples!   guess a doctorate in “apple growing”  produces good results!!

SAMSUNG     Because of kitchen work  and my own not-feeling-too-well this Fall,  my friend and I had to miss a few of our recorder practice sessions.  We tried to have as many outdoors in her gazebo as possible,  knowing full well the weather was going to “turn” —  “permanently”  for the late Fall and winter.

But we managed a few practice sessions, and as usual, my friend set a beautiful table for our après music tea time.

Fall Recorder Table

Simple, elegant, and oh-so-apple-y delicious!

There is much to do outdoors to get ready for our Winter freeze.    I tried this summer to Do As The Romans Do:


That is,  spread salt over vegetation (crops and fields) of their enemies so that nothing will ever grow there again.     Like moss.

Salted  bricks.  We’ll see next Spring if that worked.

Then there was Fall weather for sure:

FALL Day.jpg 370

Snow on fallen leaves.   It’s not neat.  It looks messy.   And it reminds me that I cannot (must not)  rake leaves right now.

(I will remember this Fall as a frustrating time of not being able to do one of my favorite activities: raking leaves.   It was not “advisable.”   Not yet.  Not this year.)

With snowfall one day and “warmer” weather the next,  the little forest behind my yard was strewn with “white logs.”

White logs 350

Now the serious holidays are coming:    Fall to Winter –  Thanksgiving to Christmas .   Football to football playoffs!

Fall to Winter;  days of darkness —   but here’s where I  live,  this is what I see when I take my long walks and I’m just about to return home:

Home and Heart Trees.jpg 380

See the heart?     The almost heart that the trees make?    That’s where I live,  for all the seasons.

Deo gratias.











February 28, 2018

“Music, a Meeting,  More Snow,  and a Reverse Lesson in Kindness)

(This posting will feel like  a disorganized mess because . . .  well, I feel like a mess right now.)


So,  this is me, recovering tonight:


Words actually say it better than this photo:   I’m having a quiet, relaxing evening in front of a soothing fire with a bright almost- full moon shining through the window behind me, and I’m so surprised to be able to begin my new knitting project – a thick, luscious white cabled sweater.

(“Every journey begins with a few stitches.”)

It’s a surprise because I have fairly badly injured my right thumb, slightly traumatizing, and I thought I couldn’t start my new knitting project,  but as it turns out,  because there are so many cables in it,  I’m not using the European style of knitting which would have put more pressure on my thumb.   So,  two fingers, not the thumb. . . .

I need the knitting, the fireplace, and the quiet right now.

I injured my thumb yesterday during a meeting in an office of our, uh,  professional advisor,  just a periodic meeting,  with Son by my side.  I couldn’t hide the bleeding which didn’t stop during that whole time, but I had to hide the shock my body felt and the growing pain.


You don’t give up any of your strength when you are kind to someone:

kind animals


It matters, it matters very much if you are kind to the people around you.     Thankfully,  I’ve been surrounded by kindness.   Our “advisor”  who kindly got up several times to give me wads of paper towels to soak up the blood (which I didn’t know what to do with – not thinking clearly).

And Son,  glancing at me once in a while in the office,  and then his kind attention and (distracting) conversation as we went out for a nice lunch afterwards;  and his helping with needed yard work which I couldn’t do, and patient conversation afterwards.

The kindness of these two men was not unnoticed, and I’m a bit embarrassed to say, but  it was very much needed.

And kindness today:


It was Recorder Practice today.    I didn’t think I could use my thumb.   It hurt.   I was unaccountably tired.  And I felt a little tense and shaky all over.   But I like my friend and I like playing recorder together with her.    So I went.     (“Music hath charms to soothe the “traumatized”  breast.”)    My friend kindly listened to my tales of woe and said we could stop when my thumb said to stop.

And look what was waiting for us after we played our music!

Table Whole 380

A beautiful table like this just doesn’t assemble itself.   My friend is an artist, with color and composition.   Those little  flowers grow on her property, and they’re called Snow Drops,  arranged beautifully.    They were so charming in the little crystal containers  that they actually soothed and cheered my body.


When you do something like this for a friend,  that is an act of kindness.     It’s actually a command from our “Master.”

(Ephesians 4:32)   Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

The Snow Drops bring me to another whole set of considerations:

Not too long ago I woke up to this outside my window – an Ice Cage!

Icicle Cage 250

Long icicles had formed across my house.   It was the aftermath of lots and lots of snow –

Snow Banks 380   –   I had shoveled the snow up into four-foot banks.

Snow BENCH 370

Everything was deeply covered .

But then the ice on the pond turned “green” signaling a change in the weather.

sea green pond 370

We had a couple days of very warm rains, causing the creek back there to rise into a raging river,  a couple days of flooded roads and detours,  and now,  though it’s “Indian Spring”  or whatever this warm weather is called,   we have some snow predicted.

A measly three inches.    Can I get back on my skis again?

Grandson Cooper has four to eight feet of snow predicted this week.    He lives right on the shore of Donner Lake,  here:

Donner Lake

And up in the pass?   Donner Pass:


It will be a white-out again.

Lucky Cooper!    He’ll be able to ski!



October 14, 2017

Computer Hell:


It started with a virus in my main computer.   After the computer was  cleansed and repaired,  it was somehow no longer able to contact the Internet.   For three weeks I’ve been working with interconnected laptops, PC, three keyboards, two mouses, two sets of speakers, rebooted everything, and one printer in there somewhere.    It was not pretty.

It was very disruptive.  My printing was one arrangement,  by communications were arrayed over a pattern of two or three computers,  and my class notes were scattered in six different places, including thumb drives here and there.   I did everything I could  to “fix” things, and then stopped trying.

For a week.  I tried once more, doing the same things I had been doing for three weeks.  All of a sudden my big PC,  my main PC,  found the Internet.  No reason.   Sometimes if you “do the same thing over and over and expect different results,”   it isn’t insanity!

But these computers can still drive a person crazy.


polar feet

I was once again able to search out the news.    “What’s happening around the world.”   Came across this interesting article from Russia which showed me what REAL trouble is!

polar at door

There is a small science station at Izvesti Tsik Islands in Russia’s Kara Sea that is manned by five scientists.    This photo isn’t their little building,  but it shows the Trouble.    They always  have problems with polar bears from time to time.

polar walk

But this year it seems a whole “tribe” of polar bears have come.  There are about a dozen “hanging around”  right outside the door, and the scientists haven’t been able to get out for days!     The bear have already eaten one of the scientists’  dogs.     The scientists have been using flares to signal for help.

Bear have always been a serious symbol to me of Life’s Lurking Menaces, ready to jump out at you from the bushes when you least expect it.   It wasn’t hard for me to put myself in the place of these besieged scientists.

I really wouldn’t want to live in a place where trouble is spelled:  p-o-l-a-r    b-e-a-r.

polar and car

They are strong and persistent hunters, they’re destructive,  and they’re omnivorous!  They’re just not cute:

polar not cute


(I found a picture of a man holding a cute little baby polar bear while the little bear was chewing his ear off.   I can’t show it because all the “red” spoils the whiteness you’d expect to see.)

So think about these poor five men in Russia; lift up a little prayer for them.   “Help is on the way,” the news article said.

Hope they can hang on until their Troubles are over.


February 2, 2017

Well,  I’m not!


This was my back yard a few nights ago.    So pretty.    I had a floodlight set up into the air so I could see the snowfall better.     We got only four inches, though.

Unlike my little grandson in the high Sierras:



This photo isn’t from his area,  but it very well could be.

A story from a nearby newspaper   . . .   (The San Jose Mercury News –   Do they still use the name San Jose?)  . . .   today discussed the  well over 100% of normal snowfall they’ve received this year.


Now, “the sky is not falling,”   and no “climate change connection”   and they’ve had higher snowfall amounts in previous years from time to time,  but nevertheless, when you get a big year,  you’ve got to deal with it.   You’ll still find people who are happy with all the new snow for skiing and snowboarding  –  after all,  most of the people up there chose to live there so they could have plenty of snow to play in!     But the news article today said that people are beginning to show signs of “enough is enough”   and “we need a break.”

Normal life has been disrupted.    Schools,  postal delivery,   electricity,  cell towers.      Firefighters have to use  metal detectors to find the fire hydrants!

And what happens when you open your door — and the door is still there!!


I just keep thinking about their weather forecast for the rest of this week.   About a foot more  by the end of the week;   and another two feet by the end of the weekend.   The comment that followed was that the winter sports snowpack will last into  July.

Great.     Cooper’s Mommy,  my daughter,  has a birthday on the Fourth of July.   This wouldn’t be the first year she’s gone both swimming and snowboarding on her birthday!









January 12, 2017


“Stopping by the woods  . . .    Lovely, dark, and deep . . . *

Yeah . . .   that poem.  


(For those of you who know some Robert Frost.  .  .)   I’m getting through it, though.

“. . . But I have promises to keep,  and miles to go before I sleep. and miles to go before I Sleep.”

 Nature spoke:


That deep, dark Scandinavian Funk jumped out and grabbed me just as I was getting rid of the  “Evil California Toddler Virus”  that settled in during the holidays.

How easy  to withdraw from everything and smoothly drift into those Dark Woods.   It attracts . . . .

But Nature spoke – and I remembered I have some promises to keep.      A few hundred books to read.     A mother, to be.   A grandmother, to be.     A teacher,  yet to be.   I’m a soul who hasn’t been called out of this earth yet,    into those deep, dark lovely woods.    Oh, man, I was tired!   Of everything.

And then I saw the bunny tracks.  

I was too tired to be out there on my driveway, to shovel the snow away, even though it wasn’t deep.      But there are those rabbit tracks!!     About three feet apart!    That bunny wasn’t tired on my driveway!    How absurd that “big me”  should be holding back when that little rabbit had used so much energy to get across.

See?  Sometimes,  and even for you, it might be just the smallest thing speaking to you from the Real World,  from Nature, and if you add a little humor, a little irony or absurdity,  you are snatched back into that Real World and you participate in a whole new outlook.

Well,  it can happen.   I know what being “trapped” is too — but here again Nature showed me what really being trapped is:


Just a moment later, after I enjoyed those rabbit tracks,  I saw this leaf.  The wind was blowing on it and it had left tracks too, but not what one would expect.

The end of leaf is trapped.   Probably in some under the snow.   Instead of making forward progress and “getting somewhere,”   the leaf has been going around and around in circles.

Mmm-hmmmm.    I could draw a lesson from that too.   I’ll just draw my own lesson;  you can draw yours.

I rejoiced with the rabbit.  I took pity on the leaf.   But both made cute tracks,  lovely patterns, and both left their mark that — they existed.


Robert Frost had a really, really good reason for writing that poem, and just because  that’s a common experience to us all,   it’s a good idea to read it again;  become familiar with it in your now new stage of life,  however long you’ve been living.

(Memorize it, for fun!    Ha ha!   No teacher making you do it!!!)

You can use a Search engine;  just type in “Stopping by  Woods on a  Snowy Evening.”

Or:   (more)



January 23, 2016


I don’t know what made me visit The Spruce Tunnel this day.  It had been a nice but challenging class this morning, but I was tired now  and very hungry,  and it was a cold, crisp day in the Far North.   But I found myself making the stop, thinking the  fresh air would feel good.

So unexpectedly I stopped the car and started off  down the familiar entrance pathway to the Tunnel.


No skis this time, even though it was winter.   And there were plenty of other  footprints to show others had  left their skis at home too.


I once did a photo-study of all the patterns made by boot footprints in The Spruce Tunnel.  Fascinating.   Sometimes you find interesting things when you look down, when you stop and focus on what’s very close to you.

I was wearing my warm fur-lined “short boots.”    But my friends say they look like bedroom slippers.


Well, hmmmph!   I bought them from the Boot section of the shoe store.   They’re boots!   They keep my feet warm!

I took a deep breath, feeling the (cold) oxygen fill my lungs.  It felt good all over.   I thought:  I could have been driving the car right now –  breathing stuffy, heated air.  I could have been home by now:  breathing dry air.   This was nicer.

I looked way up at some of the deciduous trees, bare now in midwinter.   Kept my eyes up there,  just like a kid would do,   until I was done looking.

It was peaceful, but it wasn’t quiet.     There were many interesting sounds:    little peeps, squeaks,  creaks,   lots of bird sounds.   “Someone”  was scolding me  as I walked through.  Maybe my peace was  disturbing his peace;  maybe a bird, maybe an irritated  squirrel.    Sorry, little critter –  I wasn’t intimidated;  you just sounded funny.

But I share this park with other living things.   I know.


I saw an interesting log.


Nobody’s home, I guess.

Questions, questions, questions.   What was I doing here?   What made me come?

And then another unexpected, decision:   of all the pathways I could have chosen to enter the Tunnel,  I chose this one, rather than my usual eastern approach.


I was entering now a deeper stillness,  when the “peaceful feeling”  becomes a little eerie.    A  peaceful feeling becomes a spiritual feeling.   The many duties and concerns that had kept my mind so busy fell completely away, and my mind seemed to become clear and open.  I thanked God for . . .   I don’t know.  I just felt thankful.

Whatever impulse had driven me here was a good one.

And then I discovered “why”  I had come.   An unexpected purpose.   And just
as I was wondering about the wisdom of being here, alone, in a great big park
with no other person in sight,  and with no protection (whatever that would
be),   I heard  two people up ahead.

It was a man and a woman.  They were enjoying the park together.  They seemed happy, although they looked cold.    When I got closer, and smiled to them,  they asked me if I knew how much further they had to go to get to the end of the trail.   “Not far at all.”

If I had entered the Tunnel from the other way,  I wouldn’t have seen them.  So . . .  glad I could help.

8.5 two eaglesBut then our conversation began.   The lady,  the wife as it turned out,  came over to me to show me the beautiful pictures of a pair of eagles that she had recently taken.  And nearby!    The eagles were obviously a happy couple too, impersonating a pair of lovebirds.  How interesting.  I was impressed.  Such an image of majestic strength –  and yet —  life, love, bonding, babies;  just like all life on this earth.    “Abundant life!”   “Be fruitful and multiply.”

The lady went on about  her pursuit of certain birds for further picture taking, an obviously well-liked hobby of hers;  and how often she just seemed to be “led”  to the location of certain interesting or rare birds.

I learned about their motorcycle riding and an accident, one of seven, was it?   And how they were so protected that they each had only bumps and bruises,  even though their motorcycles were trashed.  And how the accident led to the fortuitous discovery of impending blindness.

They both shared many other things, all the while expressing their thanksgiving to God.  It was evident that they lived their Christian faith daily,  at every moment.

I felt a little shy, and I shyly asked them if I could take their picture.

I wanted to remember them, to remember that this delightful encounter had really  happened.

Then it was time to go.   Just standing there had made us all feel the cold.   We said our good-byes and “God bless you”s.

There was the end of the Tunnel waiting for me, and I took one last look at the tall black spruces:


And further way up high:


The Spruce Tunnel is indeed a place of great beauty, deep feeling, and lofty thoughts.     I’m so glad I had made my unplanned stop here.    I felt different – and better – after the chance encounter with that happy couple.  Their bright happy spirits lifted me up and made a happy walk in the park even happier!

I’ll never see them again,  but I’ll always remember their effect on me.  And I hope I’ll try to have the same positive, unselfconscious faith-filled effect on others.

We who are believers  manifest Christ for the world around us.  We are witnesses to His love and to His Resurrection.   We show the world what Jesus is like.

Or so we should.

Leaving the Tunnel,  walking out into the wide world  —


Finding my way back into the “normal” world —   where I hope I’ll take this experience with me and I hope it will change me, just a little.




January 6, 2016

As I said in last night’s posting,  most of my Christmas decorations get packed away on Epiphany (today).   Looks funny around here.   Feels funny around here – so bare and plain and . . .   wide  open now.

Feels funny with those reindeer gone tonight, the reindeer I showed you yesterday.    Here’s where they were:



Oh, well maybe I’m the only one who rakes her snow . . .  but, you know,  the snow was hard and icy and —


—  I was cleaning up and cutting back the rose bushes too.  I had to rake up the mess of old leaves and little branches.

So there are wide open spaces now, inside and outside, spaces ready for whatever the new year will bring.

The Wise Men have presented their gifts to the Christ Child, and as I mused yesterday,  our best gift to give Him is — ourselves.   Our whole self.   A long time ago a man composed a prayer in which he acknowledged that everything he had,  he had received from God, so it’s only right that, now that he is a mature man and understands things,   that he give all those things back to God, to use however God wants to use them.

He returns all his personal gifts   so that they could be used by the Giver,  through him.    (id tibi totum restituo, ac tuae prorsus, voluntate trado  gubernandum  . . . . )

So I wondered about that today.   I wondered how to work all these thoughts into my new year as well as into my soon-to-be-restarted classes.   Why were we made like we were made?  Why are we like we are? Why do we have the characteristics that we do?  Why were we given so many gifts, so much potential?

What were we supposed to do with these gifts during this new year’s worth of time?   (Besides give them back to God to be used through us as He wishes.)

And then, via email, came the answer, from an email newsletter that miraculously appeared in my cell phone’s email when I was away, in the hospital with Hubbie,  during the worst month.  I don’t know how it got started, but the email newsletter, called Wisdom Hunter,  has often been right there, appropriately, when I needed it.

Here’s what came today:

Good Works

We have an assignment in 2016!     Specific good works that were assigned by God.    And though it was my desire (inspired by St Ignatius of Loyola’s prayer) to return all good gifts to God’s disposal,  I’m not just handing over a package of “stuff” — and He’s not just telling me to use these “things.”

There is power being exchanged.  One small life’s will power in exchange for all the Power of God, channeled back  through that small life.    Power that will see us through the completion of His good will, and all His assignments for us.

Whew!  Glad I cleaned up and made spaces for a whole new year!



February 16, 2015

8 days?   One of the longest silences The Spruce Tunnel has experienced.  Sorry for that.   If I listed all the bad things, difficult things, dangerous things,  frustrating and fearful things that have been going on here in such a short time,  it would sound like a “storm” has been swirling around me.   A storm made of elements bigger than I am.

Some of them will eventually work out well;  some will not.


I’d rather write about this storm, that swirled up and down my street yesterday, same weather front that millions of Americans are experiencing.   There are storms like this — and there are “storms”  of another kind.

I wanted to stay home because of my “storms.”     Shelter and hide.       It was looking too bad out there.   But I needed about three minutes of Wi-Fi, that’s all,  but it would be worth going out;   and it could be an adventure driving through the snow clouds that whirled around, driven across the street by strong, frigid winds.


I had to climb through these to get to my car.    Broom, shovel, scraper in hand,  “storms”  bring a lot of extra work just to be able to keep on going.

I didn’t know if these were snowbanks or snowdrifts along the side of my driveway —


—  but I could see some beauty in the patterns  —  even though  I had to battle the elements just to get into the car.    The icy wind found its way under my hat, through my scarf,  past my gloves,  and up into my arms  . . .   Bare skin!     Brrrrrrrr.

I adjusted all my “protection”  many times while I tried to uncover my car.    Just like Nehemiah’s strong young men  building the city walls of Jerusalem with a trowel or shovel in one hand and a sword to fight off the enemies in the other hand,  so I was trying to keep my scarf and coat on while using the scraper and broom.

When storms swirl around you, expect to get really, physically tired!

Once out onto the highway, though, I was astonished:    The roads were a little okay, but they were busy.   Lots of cars, lots of other people out in the storm.   All the parking lots I passed were filled!    Stores, restaurants, gas stations — all looked busy.

Everyone was going about their business as though there was no storm?


Here are the snowbanks along the side of the parking lot I was aiming for.   The snowbanks were twice as high as my car,  but I can’t show you that;    it was too cold to get out and do something as frivolous as taking a picture.   You can’t always do the things you want when there are “storms.”

In the midst of the swirling wind,  the sun came out, and this line of trees caught my attention as I came out of the store:


So, on the way home I marveled at how many people were out, as though it were any busy Saturday on a nice day.   They didn’t seem to be doing  anything different. . . .

And that made me nervous.

I’m seeing storms of all kinds,  surrounding us,  swirling around us,  threatening us,    and . . . life goes on.

There was a man in the parking lot that I was just leaving.   He got out of his car, began to walk, and a big gust of wind blew a cloud of icy snow into him.  He wore an overcoat, unbuttoned,  over a business suit.    The wind nearly tore his coat off.    He was not dressed for the storm.

He and many others had not prepared for the “storms.”    


I arrived home,  between wind gusts.   Things were calmer for a while.   Mission accomplished with the Wi-Fi.   I took home with me the memory of people walking around amidst the swirling clouds of snow, leaning into the wind,  grasping their coats close to them, but nevertheless,  going about their business.

I deliberately took into my house with me the sense of normalcy amidst the storm.

“Bias to the Normal.”     A survival technique.



February 2, 2015

While we were busy watching the Super Bowl  on Sunday,  our weatherman was busy steering 13 inches of snow into my little town.


Then,  as often happens the day after a blizzard,  the skies become clear and blue.  The bright sun cast beautiful dark contrasting shadows onto all the snow;   black tree trunks and branches  on a snow white palette.    Monochrome modern art.      I turned my cell phone on to get some photos, but by the time I remembered to take a picture,  the sun had moved away from my front yard.

But the sunshine delighted in my backyard too.   One patch and one branch.


That’s an untouched photo.    Did you know shadows can be so blue?

A few minutes later,  along the “shore” of my little pond,  the sun made a bright little chain as it got lower in the sky:


And now tonight,  the sun is gone,  but the snow is lit from within by my deck railing lights.

SAMSUNGAt just the right angle you can see a claw-like shadow on the floor of the deck.    The claw is a moon-shadow from a tree branch above.  A little eerie out there under bright moonlight.



October 31, 2014


“It was a dark and stormy night…” (*)  may be the opening words of the truly “worst novel ever written,”  but here in the Far North,   it really WAS a dark and stormy night.

Perfect!  for Halloween!

Dark.   Strong gusty winds.   Snow showers.   Leaves rustling and wind roaring through the trees.

Perfect!  for wrapping up in a nice cozy fleece blanket and reading a semi-interesting book about the settling of the old West.

Hallowe’en is for children, and it’s fun to help them have a good scary fun time. . .   Tomorrow is All Saints Day –  honoring the “all Hallowed” people whom we have this All Hallows Evening for.    Today was Friday, and we give thanks by remembering that Friday almost two thousand years ago when God made peace between Himself and mankind — so that one day, believing,  we can walk those hallowed streets of Heaven, hallowed ourselves,  with the Hallowed saints who came before us.

Life is good and full and filled with interesting holidays and holy days and seasons changing and duties to do and feelings to feel and pleasures to enjoy.   These “dark and stormy” nights remind us of all the variety that comes our way.   Do it ALL!            (Happy Halloween!)

Bar wavy

(*)  —  Opening lines of novel  Paul Clifford  by author  Edward Bulwer-Lytton  


April 14, 2014

Gee whiz.     Around here in the Far North  we’ve got “Spring forward and Fall backward”  to remind us about the change to and from Daylight Saving Time, and a third one:   “Fall in Spring” !

Our weather forecast map:

Fall in Spring weather map

And  here’s a photo-report from my cousin in the Far, Far North this week.  “Traffic”  on her street:

Traffic for Lois

Maybe that’s “Winter in  Spring.”

Her deer are diligently keeping watch over the maple sap,  which, I assume,  is diligently trying to run:

Maple watched by deer

All that area is covered up with snow right now.  Spring didn’t quite make it there yet.

Well, in spite of that weather map,  it really won’t be winter for us.   A few inches of snow?     That’s just Fall.

As in “falling leaves.”


That photo was taken a week ago.  All our beautiful snow melted away and exposed the autumn leaves that had fallen after all that raking last…well, last time we had “Fall.”  There’s nothing to do but to do it all  over again.


We’ve had some pretty,  sunny days to do the yardwork,  but sometimes I wonder if I’m just on the edge of possibly maybe beginning to feel that sustained yardwork is for younger people.    Like the teenagers down the street.



I lost count after thirteen “barrowfulls”  of leaves and sticks,  but who’s counting anyway?   It’s not like I’m complaining.    I really do love the outdoor work – free exercise, you know,  without gym fees.

And yardwork is a good way to keep track of things.    Take inventory.  See what’s  going on in the lawn department:


Swirly holes.  All over.


Looking for last year’s acorns.   Going to have a good crop of squirrels this year.

Spring.    Anticipating new life.  Passover.   Anticipating the Messiah to the ones who brought us news of the Messiah.    Easter.   To the ones who acknowledge the Messiah –  and the certainty of New Life,  just as certain as Spring weather will come.


March 12, 2014

Well, it’s not exactly Spring, yet – but this is getting a little “silly.” SAMSUNG

“2-4 inches”  of snow in the forecast becomes 7 inches.    Time to take out the yardstick again – and the snow shovels and mittens and tall snow boots, and patience…patience enough to go 20 m.p.h. on the roads when you need to get someplace.

This is NOT a complaint, however.    The ski trails will certainly be refreshed!


I woke up to this scene, this morning,  out my bay window.    Everything was softened and whitened and beautiful.   I wasn’t “in charge of” how much snow we’d  get,  but if I were,   I’d have ordered about this much.


It’s pretty nice looking, but the recent thaw,  then this snowfall, and our next thaw is going to make that pond useless for ice skating.

But it’s a changing world.   Seasons change.  Climates change.   Climate cycles come and go, and we, as individuals, don’t have much to say about it.    The same is true with broader changes in the world of men.

In all  my years of studying history,  I’ve read biographies, autobiographies, journals,  letters,  thoughts,  observations, dreams, and disappointments of people who have lived throughout the millennia.  You can read these things too, they’re easily available in this digital age.

What we’ll all see is that nowhere does it appear that the individual person is in charge of the character of his culture or the political course of his nation or the existence of war or peace. . . .   It doesn’t work that way.   There are bigger things at work in the world as a whole. ***

So then what?

Well, you, as an individual,  are of primary and infinite value and worth.   You have the dignity that comes with being conceived of in the mind of God,   of being deliberately created,   of being loved and wanted,   and of being born into the best optimum time for your journey back to your Creator.

We’re responsible, then, for our own selves.  It appears that we’re not responsible for the overall condition of the world any more than we’re responsible for the amount of snow we get.  In the Spring, no less!,  the Spring that is soon coming.    It’d be “silly”  to think that we were!


***     This observation of the world doesn’t preclude the necessity of working to “make the world a better place.”    We are here to keep and to guard and to have dominion;  to be responsible for those around us, to  improve conditions, etc….      But that develops properly  only after and only if we know our worth and we know our limitations.       We are not gods in this world.

As a matter of fact,  if you remember,  it was not God who told us:  “Ye shall be as gods…..”   !!



February 28, 2014

I think my Florida family has forgotten the “joys” of winter in the Far North.   So. . . . 

It was a rare sunny day up here in the Far North.   Shortly after noontime,  with the sun trying to be “high” in the sky,  the shadows of the trees stretched across the snow-buried lawn and across my driveway.

RR Driveway narrows

And then I noticed:  the way out of my driveway was narrowing with each passage of the snowplow.   If I didn’t do something, I’d be backing into the snowbanks.

 RR driveway lane

Once I got to the end of the driveway, I wasn’t sure why I bothered to shovel… RR road impassable anyway

Our streets were not going to be easy to drive on.

Neighbors were out, though,  taking snow-walks – carefully in the frozen ruts –  and they were all talkative, all with the same (justifiable) complaints about the long, severe winter we’re having.   I smiled and nodded in rather silent agreement, because I didn’t want to admit what a GREAT winter I think this is for skiing and ice skating and exercise and fresh air and the fireplace and. . . .    (Am I the only one having fun?)

No.  They saw difficulty.  Slipping and sliding,  shivering, shoveling and —  ice dams!   I asked a neighbor if he knew where I could buy a roof rake, which had become quite rare these days,  and he said I could borrow his!

And there started a new winter activity for me with a steep, steep learning curve. RR Roof problem

My little yellow house sure had a need.    And, yep – there are the ice dams forming: RR the roof problem

So now I had my neighbor’s roof rake with a thirty foot long aluminum pole to vault up onto the roof.   I thought about it for a while…thought about things like “technique”  and how can “aluminum”  be so heavy!

 RR  Rake siaze

I got it going, though.

 RR Rake at work

A long, long way up….  RR Pole extending

And if you back up holding the pole,  you inevitably back the bottom end of the pole up into something, and if you do it fast enough you  launch yourself upwards like an untrained pole vaulter.    Move slowly.

 RR Up there working

But I got the hang of it and was making progress.    But my front door was locked.    My side door was blocked.   And I had just closed the garage door so I wouldn’t be getting snow piles in the garage.   Smart.  Too smart.    I decided to keep working and not panic,  but there was that gnawing feeling about the back deck door…..Did I feed the birds that morning?  Had I re-locked the deck door?  Had I locked myself out – out in the cold?  

Ice dams on the back deck.

 RReight of deck dam

An hour more of doubt – an hour more of shoulder-breaking, upward-heaving pole-smacking roof work in the front…squinting against the only sun we had this month (!!)  and then I checked the back deck.

Yes, ice dams there too.  Somewhere between 20 and 30 inches of snow and snow drifts on the roof back there too.

And an unlocked door.

Altogether a good and interesting day.



February 6, 2014

MoonI got up in the middle of the night last night, as I usually do.  I stood by a big window, looking outside in admiration, amazed admiration.

(No photo possible!)   (I need My-Friend-With-The-Camera’s camera.)

There, behind my house, I could see my snow-covered back yard, pond, and all the way into the hills beyond the creek.   The surface was soft and gently undulating and bathed in a beautiful blue-white light shining down on the scene.

It was a time for poetry and oil paints.    It was a time for the human spirit to “take time” to respond.

Well, I did eventually go back to bed.   I’m currently experiencing the second round of the second bout of shingles in my “other” ear.   It occurred to me recently that every time I go out skiing or skating,  I spend the next few days with increased ear pain.   Since there “might be” a connection,  I’ve confined myself to indoors for a while.   Maybe.

But I’m still thinking of ice and snow, so I’ll use this post to convey some information.    True stuff, not political stuff.

True:   There was a period of time called the “Maunder Minimum”  in about the 1600s – a time of severe cold, lasting for a couple generations.   It affected people’s lives ;  it killed people and changed history a bit.

True:  There was another period of time called the “Dalton Minimum” which also brought a significant period of cooling lasting from in the 1700s to about the  1820s.

Ice Standing

One could walk across the Mississippi River,  or the Thames River,  or the Hudson river during this time.   That’s the Mackinac Straits in the photo…   Sometimes they freeze over and My-Friend-With-The-Camera who is also a runner loves to run across the Straits.   He’s not from 1820, he’s from now, but his photos make a good illustration of a large body of water that seems so unusual in a frozen state.

My Friend has special shoe attachments for this purpose:

Ice Grip

He finds his way across the frozen Straits by means of  markers:  used Christmas trees placed strategically by local authorities to mark out safe pathways across the ice.

Ice tree markings see

But back to some geological truths.

Also true:   These “minimums”  I listed are part of larger cycles, two which concern us most directly today.  There is a 206-year period of cooling and a 90-100-year period of cooling.   Both cycles are converging –  NOW.

“Now”  means based upon our current, observable,  undeniable solar cycles which directly affect (cause)  these cooling cycles.   And our current solar sunspot cycle indicates a lack of expected sunspots, an undeniable “minimum” of sunspots.

Trekking across the frozen water:Ice all alone out there

That will result in noticeably colder weather, especially in the temperate latitudes, more snow, more icing events . . .Many more places will be covered in ice and snow during longer winters.

Ice climbing up

Growing seasons will become shortened enough so that the world’s food supply is reduced.    Crops can’t be planted early enough in the Springs, growing seasons are shortened, and Winters come earlier.   Too much rain in some places, too little rain in other places.   That’s historical truth.

Here was that day’s goal for my Friend’s run across the frozen Straits:

Ice climbing goal

It’s the world-famous Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island.   A place where you have to be pretty well-to-do in order to afford the entrance fee just to look around.   A place where the rich can afford a night’s stay.

A 206-year cycle plus a 90-100-year cycle, both converging now on the world.    This will be hard on so many people.

I will have to think about this more.

I think I’ll go back out to the Spruce Tunnel for some skiing and thinking. . . .   My ear is going to be fine, compared to what’s coming.


February 2, 2014

There really is a Spruce Tunnel.



It’s spectacular in the winter.  I decided to “warm up” for the Super Bowl with a little cross country skiing.

Two power outages ago,  two ice storms ago,  and three snowstorms ago  I had put out my ski poles in anticipation of some cross-country skiing in the Spruce Tunnel.


But after all that time,   all we’ve been through,  the poles were stuck tight and had to be shoveled out.


But, eventually I got going, on the trail, with a ski pole pointing the way.


I wondered why I was out here at first.    At any given time one of these long slats strapped to my feet would slip far to the right or far to the left, at the slightest little bump.    Sometimes they would take me for an unexpected ride down a little slope.

It took a little effort to get skis, scarf, and poles organized – while hanging on to keys and camera.


But then I got my ski legs.   I felt the joy of swishing along, breathing in the cool fresh air,  enjoying the glittering white snow and the fresh green pines.

Everything looked picture-ready.  The dark evergreen boughs contrasted with their snow covering.


Patterns of snow caught my attention –


As I glided along with soft sounds and fresh scents and peace and quiet all around me,  my mind was busy with the thoughts about this day:  a very high and lovely holy day;   Groundhog Day;  and the Super Bowl coming up soon;  and class prep for tomorrow. . . .


That should be a lot for any given day.  A busy day.   But out here in the Tunnel,  there was a little distance from these things.   It was a kindly distance, one that gives perspective and helps you sort things out.


I shouldn’t have had time for skiing today in the Spruce Tunnel,  but I’m glad I went out anyway because it feels like I’ve gained. . . time. . . . and a bright path to the days ahead.


January 22, 2014

I said in yesterday’s posting that “my mother’s heart is scared”  today.

m  1  sun going away

Well,  it’s because my Sun (Son) is going away.       Anytime there is anything out of the usual I can be afraid that anything can happen.

m  2  b lowup

An airplane has him right now —  in the sky somewhere —

m airplane over the world

And I hope … you know…

m airplane

So Son is going off to have some fun on a well-deserved vacation from his long twelve-hour days.  He and the young men he is with all work these grueling twelve-hour days.   Statistics show the job is more dangerous to his heart than anything that can happen on this vacation.

But I’m still a Mom.  And he’s going here:

m big sky

12,800 feet up high in the beautiful state of Montana.    I was there just a few months ago.   Lovely place to be.  But I wasn’t skiing.

m skiing off edge


He’ll be gone all week…. And he’s not skiing,  he’s snowboarding.    And I’m sure he’ll come back, just fine.

m  5 broken leg


(I can be really good at worrying.)

You don’t need to remind me to have faith in God.    I do.

You don’t need to tell me to put my Son in His hands.  I did.

You don’t need to remind me that God is in control.  I know.

It’s just that I might not agree with the God…who has my son….in His control.

Faith.    It’s not for cowards.    I’m probably the one who needs the prayers this week.


January 10, 2014

It doesn’t go away by itself!


That’s my red shovel up on the deck railing.     My afternoon was spent shoveling about two and a half tons off my deck, the benches, the railing.    I got away with not doing it when it was so very cold around here, because that kept the air dry.    Now we are expecting warm weather,  up into the 30s, and the air will be humid and even rainy.    The snow doesn’t go away safely when it gets warm.   There will be lots of moisture for the snow to absorb, and the weight will become an issue.

But then there’s the roof.


Deep snow doesn’t go away by itself;  it compresses and forms ice.   I’ve seen more snow on our roof at other times,  but there’s enough there right now to begin forming ice dams in the eaves troughs.      And ice dams don’t stay put;  they increase in size and back up in and under the shingles,  doing their own version of de-construction.

SAMSUNG  The dark gray “snow” is actually very hard ice.  It melts from the bottom, increasing the size  and area of the ice dam as it refreezes, and producing some pretty stout icicles.      I’m trying to stay ahead of the game by attacking these baby icicles and cutting and hacking very fine channels into the ice.

Like with a butcher knife.

Not recommended.

No, the snow doesn’t go away nicely “by itself.”    It gives you lots of opportunity for some outdoor exercise.