A tame version of yesterday’s wild

Yesterday as I ran on the open space trails and flax tickled my legs, I wished Zippy was with me. Blue flax flowers are his favorite and they’re at the peak of their bloom right now. Good news for him, our flax is also blooming at home in one of our beds.

Here’s a domesticated memento of yesterday’s trail run.

Twofer Tuesday: Cacti edition

Yesterday I went for a run on the trails. While stopping to stretch at the top of what Zippy and I refer to as “the slog,” I spotted a splash of bright pink off to the side of the trail. At first I thought it was a candy wrapper and as I moved closer, decided it was a painted rock. It was neither. Sitting there all by itself was a perfectly round, perfectly lovely little cactus. **

Later, as I continued running, I noticed something sticking out of my shoe. I figured it was grass that’d gotten stuck in some mud in my tread, and promptly forgot about it. However, when I was home and taking off my shoes, I nearly impaled myself. Not on a wad of grass, but on the spiny cactus that had hitched a ride on my shoe.

Now I remember why it’s much more fun to run on the trails than the streets.

(** I didn’t have a camera with me, but when Zippy went out to do an errand, he drove to the nearest trailhead and photographed the beauteous cactus for me.)

Sunday Confessional

Today is one of those days I’d prefer to interact with plants and animals rather than contemplate the mind-boggling awfulness of some human beings. I can’t think of one instance in which a clematis bloom caused me a moment’s pain or anxiety.

Until they flower again, I’m basking in the memory of their quiet beauty.

Gloom, begone!

Today we woke to a gray blanket of fog which has mostly dissipated,
revealing an iron- gray sky.
The sun is nowhere to be seen. The mood is pure gloom.

Except out my kitchen window.

I’m grateful for those tenacious maple leaves.

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day, sunny and in the low 60s. Zippy and I spent the afternoon working in the yard, trying to catch up on our much-neglected gardens that have run amok. The sun shone through the leaves and I paused in my work to capture this vibrant image:

I made a conscious effort to fully experience the colors and balmy temperatures, because there was a huge weather shift on the way. This morning we woke to about 4 inches of snow on the deck railing (currently 8 inches or so).

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny with a high of 51 degrees. Welcome to Colorado.

Honoring Michelle

Today Zippy and I went to Berry Patch Farms in Brighton, Colorado.

Michelle’s mother and sisters arranged to have a bench and stone placed there in her memory, seeing as it was one of Michelle’s favorite places to visit with her young daughter.

 

At the top of the stone is a quote from Michelle: “Now this is what a strawberry should taste like.”

Note: the rooster windchime on the tree was there before Michelle’s bench. Can you say SERENDIPITY?

On their frequent visits to the farm with the old red barn, Michelle and her daughter would watch the chickens and roosters.

They’d pick berries together and take home bouquets of cut flowers.

Today, Michelle’s mother, sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, and friends gathered in her memory. For the past two weeks or so, the weather has been uncharacteristically cold and rainy, but today the sun was shining in a blue, blue sky. The morning was lovely, and I suspect Michelle pulled some strings to make it so.

It was bittersweet being at the farm without Michelle, but here I am warming her cheery red bench along with three of the Writing Roosters, the critique group she lobbied to include me in its membership. Michelle’s generosity lives on.

Jenn Bertman, Tracy Abell, Jen Simms, Laura Perdew (Vanessa Appleby & Claudia Mills were unable to attend)

A second spring

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
~ Albert Camus

I stopped during my run this morning to stretch my calves and as I leaned against a post situated at the edge of the open space, looked down to see that glorious display. Those leaves aren’t messing around. They are seriously red.

Today I’m earning my fortune

As I revise my middle-grade novel, plugging holes and solving plot problems, I’m keeping this sentiment in mind:

Luck is not chance, it’s toil;
fortune’s expensive smile is earned.
~ Emily Dickinson

Honey bees don’t need a pithy quote; they made the connection between luck and toil a looong time ago.

Painted Lady invasion

Yesterday, as Zippy and I walked Emma around our neighborhood, we noted a larger-than-typical number of butterflies. We wondered if we were in a migration path. Sure enough, when we got home and looked in the backyard, we discovered this:

Rather than orange and black like the monarch butterfly, the Painted Lady is orange and brown. Migrations are also happening elsewhere. It was awe-inspiring to be in their lovely company as they soaked up the sun and flowery nutrition from the rabbit brush.Another generous gift from Mother Earth.

 

 

The accumulation of detail

All fiction relies on the real world
in the sense that we all take in the world through our five senses
and we accumulate details, consciously or subconsciously.
This accumulation of detail can be drawn on when you write fiction.

~  Rohinton Mistry

We would be robots

Poppy downed by May hailstorm before it had a chance to bloom.

If we were to lose the ability to be emotional,
if we were to lose the ability to be angry,
to be outraged,
we would be robots.
And I refuse that.

~  Arundhati Roy

 

Springtime in the Rocky Mountain foothills

Yesterday, the forecast said it would start snowing this evening. Instead, I woke to smothered flowers and shrubs in my front and back yards. I spent more than an hour outside with a broom, clearing snow from collapsed lilac bushes and apache plume shrubs. I’m probably going to lose my iris display this year. Again. And forget about the poppies.

Sigh.

The finches are handling it pretty well. We’d already called it a season and brought in the long extension cord that heats the bird bath, so that’s a bummer. I filled the dish with hot water this morning and the water has already turned slushy.

The snow’s supposed to continue through Friday and then on Saturday? This:

 

Day 5: In which we each take shots in Stockholm

Zebu took the train from Uppsala down to Stockholm after his class this morning. As he showed us around parts of the city, we took turns with the various cameras. Here’s a picture of Zippy and Zebu (lower right corner), walking and talking:

A few minutes later, we passed two young employees standing outside a toy store, blowing bubbles to attract customers:

Zebu then took this photo of Zippy and me beneath one of the regional pink-blossomed trees I’ve been admiring since we set foot in Amsterdam:

And here’s Zippy’s final shot as we headed home on the metro:

It was an absolutely beautiful day in Stockholm and while Zebu confessed to wishing we’d experience one of the colder/grayer/wetter days he’s grown accustomed to, he didn’t begrudge us the warm sunshine.

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