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Monday, March 31, 2008

Wild Weather

Coming from Missouri, I'm used to wild spring weather. Having survived 100 year floods last November, and the ugly wind storm that foll0wed in December (2006), I thought I'd seen the worst of Western Washington weather.

Saturday, March 29th, was a busy day for me. I went to Monroe to check out the used book sale at the library...and managed to stay at my 20.00 self-imposed limit. At a dollar a hardback and 50 cents a paperback, I still came home with a box full. It was chilly, but the sun teased by making short-live appearances off and on all morning. I walked in the Skykomish River Park and picked a few stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) for soup. By 2 pm I was ready to head for Carnation, about 18 miles south on Highway 203. The sun was shining. I made a final stop, and drove out of town.

I parked at the Tolt -McDonald parking lot intending to walk along the river and take some pictures of the early blooming shrubs and flowers. I could see the mountains in the distance through some cloud cover. By the time I'd walked 300 yards and had started up the bridge, it started to sleet. I turned and looked over my shoulder. The mountains were invisible! The sleet quickly turned to hail...I changed my mind about crossing the river and decided to walk closer to the parking lot. I was glad to have a pair of light weight knit gloves in my pockets... they quickly got soaked through. The sky got dark, and the wind picked up. So I decided to go to the car and arrive at my bosses' 40th birthday party a bit early.

It rained off an on throughout dinner (the homemade lasagna was wonderful!). Around 7 pm I left in a light rain. It's only 8 miles or so to my Duvall home, and the weather went through some wild rain-to-snow-to sleet changes. The road was a little slick in a few spots. Not that it slowed the other drivers much. But I made it safely home and went upstairs. I put on some dry cloths, and gathered up a bag of trash that needed to go out.

I didn't realize it was snowing humongous flakes of fluffy white snow untill I opened the door and stepped out into it. I watched it snow until midnight. I was expected at Ben Franklin for work the following morning.

The drive to Monroe on Sunday was intense - for the first half mile or so. There were
5 cars off in the ditch on the downhill drive to the highway. Another was pointing up hill in the downhill lane. It had been abandoned there. I'd have turned around and gone home, but there wasn't a safe spot to do it. The highway was fine, and the closer I got to Monroe, the less snow I saw on the ground. The sun came out again.

And it's been out most of today - until time to go home. Just after 5, it started to thunder - soemthing I rarely hear in Washington, and don't miss from Missouri. It snowed...I have to stop at the laundromat on my way home...I'll let you know if more weather adventures await.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Walking in the Rain

I was a bit late getting home yesterday, and found myself walking in the rain. The up-hill portion of my walk was pleasant enough. I'm building endurance and don't have to stop half way up the hill anymore to catch my breath. I noticed that the wind was picking up, but I was wearing my good Columbia jacket and I'd stuffed my gloves in the pockets. I could have turned at the top of the rise and gone straight home.

Instead, I turned to the south and enjoyed the level, smooth roadway that takes me to the downhill part of my long block. By the time I'd gotten to the bottom, it was really raining. I stuck my gloved hands into my pockets and walked on. Having lived 30 miles from Seattle for over a year, I've made my peace with the rain.

At the corner of my street it looked as if the rain was going to moderate a bit, so I kept walking. There's a new neighborhood going in on the hillside below my street, and I've often seen deer grazing at the edge. They had better sense than I did yesterday. By the time I'd gotten to the bottom of that block the wind really picked up and I was walking into a driving, cold rain.

Didn't stop me. I kept walking. My legs began to feel the cold as the rain soaked my pants legs. My face felt frozen, and my glasses fogged. It was great!

I've finally relaxed into the idea that the weather, like life, changes. Can't stop it. Might as well learn to enjoy the ride.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Time, It Is A Changin'

I am fighting the time change with every fiber of my being...Haven't been able to drag myself out of bed to do my sit spot all week...

OK, so it's an excuse...and I am sticking to it. It seems like it's taking an awful lot of coffee to get me going this week. And I'm not going anywhere very fast. You'd think that would make sitting under a tree all the more inviting. But I'm cranky and sleepy, and I have not been sitting long under that tree. I haven't been writing every day, either. Those New Year's resolutions are quickly losing ground.

I have been walking in the evening, learning the new neighborhood. I often see deer, and have found the best place to stand and look out over the valley. It's beautiful with fog hanging in the low spots. It's more so when the sun breaks out over the ridges just before it sets. The sky turns all pink and purple and orange for a few minutes. I understand the meaning of the word "Awesome" on those evenings.

I'll adjust to the time change. I don't like it, even though I do get more evening light to explore. Change, even for the better, is hard for us humans. You'd think by now, I'd have learned to just relax into it, and not put up a fight. Apparently, that's a lesson I still have to learn.

Friday, March 7, 2008

I'm a Star!

I never thought I'd see my name in the credits at the end of a film, but I did today. I knew that Wilderness Awareness School was making a new DVD to send to people who request information about our Residential Program or our new Earth Mentor Program. And I have given permission for the use of any of my photographs that I took last year while in WARP07. But it was a big surprise today to see the end of the finished product, and then to see my name as the credits rolled.

I haven't even seen the whole film yet, and I feel like a star! It's incredibly nice to be able to give back a bit to a program that changed my life in so many ways. And the really cool thing is that the programs change things for everyone they touch. I'm excited that my photographs might encourage someone to come and give it a go. Now, if I can just stay humble....

My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"