Saturday, April 29, 2006

walking a mile in someone else's shoes

I had the opportunity to see my work world from a different perspective. Although I spend some time collecting data in the field, most of my work time is spent in the office and in front of my computer or bent over a light table. When I was invited to spend a day on the Marias River in northern Montana, I jumped at the chance. I learned what it is like to spend time walking across a medium-sized river channel, experiencing the power of the current and the texture of the river bottom. I listened to fisheries biologists pondering what fish live where. Sitting on the floor of a boat, anchored on the river, we expressed awe at how hard it must have been for the expeditions of Lewis & Clark. Being under the Montana ‘big sky’ evokes these kinds of ‘big picture’ thoughts, while at the same time, being out on the river requires down to earth knowledge of how to keep a 2-stroke engine running, especially after repeatedly hitting the rocks and gravel bars that hide just beneath the surface of the river. I now know what it is like to have my heart skip a beat upon the **BOOM** of hitting such a rock at 20 mph without warning.

focus and then re-focus
just trying to live life with passion!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sunrise - Top of the World Park

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

on the fence

Variations on a Theme

Who’s been walking on my roof and messed it all up?


Monday, April 24, 2006

pins & needles

There is nothing I can do ,
snow & cold are here .
Maybe mother nature’s
blanket of snow
will protect it from the cold .
Still I wrap my apple tree
in warm thoughts tonight ,

hoping for the best .

Sunday, April 23, 2006

we begin again

Finally, morning at the lake!
Out while still a little dark.
More of a chill than expected.
Reminded of how loud the geese are
As I enter their world.
Echoing, exploding
Across the water.
No quiet here in
The hour before sunrise!

Saturday, April 22, 2006


I had a feeling
I was walking along side
the Blue Gum Eucalyptus

Saturday (oops) Cat - never too old to climb the tree!

Photo Friday - Golden

Friday, April 21, 2006

Off Road Adventures

My recent trip to Albuquerque was just a quick flash in time. We headed south from Denver at about 5 p.m. on Friday evening and drove back home on Sunday afternoon. You wouldn’t expect to accomplish much in this little time but we packed it in!

After a very enjoyable visit with the relatives, the drive back loomed before us. We had planned to stop at Las Vegas, New Mexico and photograph some of the historic buildings. Even though the temptation was great to put on blinders and ‘head for the barn’, we actually relaxed and allowed some adventures to unfold.

Somewhere north of Santa Fe, my son saw some sight along the side of the road in the distance that caught his attention. He wanted to stop and take a look. But traveling at 80 mph., we missed the exit due to a moment’s indecision. However, his extreme curiosity and a stroke of luck graced us with another exit within about 5 miles, so we turned back in the other direction and found the original spot that aroused his curiosity. We parked the car by an old one-story stone building and walked down to a creek that flowed under the interstate. So we transitioned from driving 80 mph in a modern automobile to walking the fringes of ‘out in the middle of nowhere’ New Mexico. We had no idea where we were but we were drawn to it. It was rather eerie standing on the creek with the Interstate 25 bridges looming overhead; water dripping off of them and the loud echoing rumble of high-speed traffic. It was like stepping out of our world into another. The first sight was of a large cottonwood with decaying cars at the base buried in the bank of the creek for stabilization. Maybe you weren’t aware of this use for old cars but rather thought of it as littering on a big scale. In the other direction, my son saw the remnants of an old bridge. As he headed off that way to take photos, I took more photos of the cars and studied the colony of cliff swallow nests built under the bridge overhang. There was a small human community located in the surrounding area and I wondered if curious visitors such as us bothered the people there. We never actually saw any people the entire time we were taking photos. After about an hour, we were ready to step back into our world.

Las Vegas, New Mexico is a treasure of historic buildings. Sunday afternoon is actually a good time to visit in some ways. All of the tourist shops, many housed in these historic buildings are closed up tight on Sundays. On the old main street, NOTHING was open. There was little traffic and few people about. It was perfect for us; we could even stand in the street to take photos if it made our pictures better. I love looking at old buildings, especially at the little architectural details that are almost completely missing from new buildings. There was one building that was in a rather advanced state of decay. I love the look of peeling paint and the way the building wears its age.

Back on the road, we happened to come alongside an interesting passenger train just as the highway and railroad tracks aligned closely. While I drove my son took photos from the car window of the train and especially the caboose. We sped up or slowed down so that we could stay right along side the train as he took photos. The caboose was all fixed up and we could even see flowers on the table inside. I had thoughts of the Orient Express even though I think this caboose was an ad for some brand of tequila!

Finally, we headed home and arrived at a decent hour. Normally the drive along I-25 is mind-numbingly boring. But our little side-adventures will keep the memories alive in our minds forever.

After some research, I found out that our little town was Tecolote, the creek was Tecolote Creek and that the bridge remnants were part of old Route 66. The area is rich in history including the Santa Fe Trail; maybe that is what drew us out of our world.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

sea of green

A front moved through yesterday, bringing the temperature down into the 30’s overnight. Quite a change from the 80º we had on Monday! Now is the time I pray to the powers that be to keep the weather moderate for the benefit of apples this summer.
My Haralson apple tree is in full bloom. Apples grow well here with the caveat that you just never know when a heavy wet snow will destroy the blossoms and ruin all chances of any apples that season. There really is nothing to do other than hope for the best and enjoy the heck out of the apples when you do have a full harvest!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

following the right path

Today my son decided to quit the high school baseball team. A couple of years ago, this would have been unthinkable due to his love of the sport. He was considered good and he worked hard. But the last couple of years, when he made it to the varsity team, he hardly ever played. Playing time is the only way to get better. That is a simple fact. As a pitcher, it is even harder than most other positions because lack of playing time makes each sporadic trip to the mound less likely to be successful. His coaches made up their minds that they didn’t have any faith in him. At the same time, he has broadened his horizons and now loves music and playing the guitar. He has chosen a college and playing baseball is no longer on the radar. I am sure that many parents would say that he should finish out the season. I thought about it but leaving the team seemed like the right thing to do. Since he hardly ever plays and since this is his last semester, he will hurt no one by leaving. It will give a younger player on the JV team a chance to move up and he will be free of the pain of not having the support of his coaches.
I happened to open a book that my friend Val just wrote, “The Handbook of Everyday Wisdom” to the saying, “Perseverance doesn’t always pay off. Sometimes it is better to step back, review your options, and then take a different path.”

Today, my son quit the baseball team and the track coach asked him to try out for track. He had to run the 400-meter sprint, twice! When I got home, he was flat on his back, exhausted. But he was also full of plans, of getting in shape after months of sitting on the bench in the dugout and of improving his time enough to be able to compete in the next track meet.

I know he made the right decision. He is already in a better place!

Monday, April 17, 2006


I would love to be sitting under my Emerald Queen Maple, watching as it flowers and leafs out.  I love swinging as the wind blows and seeing the clusters of tender green flowers, looking so fresh against the cerulean sky.  I could sit here all the while it takes for this miracle to happen.  Most people would say this is a waste of time but I am kind of twisted.  What could be more important than slowing down (or speeding up!) to the rhythm of life?

Yesterday & Today

Saturday, April 15, 2006

first rainbow of spring

woke early
looking forward to sunrise at Addenbrook Park
banks of clouds above the rising sun
as I hurry to the park
my trees are still barewater running in the little irrigation ditch
powerful wind picks upethereal pink clouds roiling above Green Mountain
raindrops start falling and blowing about
quick, run to the car
rainbow calls me to lingerdrops of water on my lens
imperfect beauty

Friday, April 14, 2006

what are you afraid of?

For the first time, I am feeling a little sad about the arrival of spring. Only in the sense that for the next 6 months, I will not be able to photograph my favorite tree shapes, crooked branches reaching out to life, that speak to me with such boldness. But any sadness is replaced by the shear beauty of watching and now photographing the swelling of the buds and the exploding wash of tender green on the trees all around me. And then there are the pinks and whites and reds of the fruit trees. But I love to look at all of the other trees as they flower; it is almost like a secret because many people don’t think that they even flower. I have a beautiful Emerald Queen Maple in my front yard. It is a fast growing tree with huge leaves that provide cool shade to my south-facing yard. I love the texture of its bark and the opposite branching and the smooth shape and rich brown color of its buds.
It is turning green overnight. Tomorrow I will look at how much more green there is. I am too taken with the transformation to be sad about the cloak of leaves to follow. Welcome!

Friday Photo - Full


Friday Cat - hunting buddies

a photo taken by my son