26 January 2009

Signs of Life

We are deep into January. It isn't too cold most of the time, and last week's snow is highly unusual. The weather can seem a little bleak. This morning as I look out my windows I see mist in every direction. The mist is damp and cold, but it gives the illusion of distance. Are those mountains out there (not really, just rolling hills and the shadow of trees)? Even on the bleakest days, I am still surrounded by beauty and character. Some of the frailest of people, turn out to be the strongest. Like this old tree, it has obviously been through a lot, yet it is still strong.

One of the reasons I write this blog is to take a mental break from school and work. I don't
usually discuss either here, however, this post is about hope. The personal kind, not the public and commercial kind.

I am a Medical-Surgical Nurse and I often work with patients who probably won't make it. Some days are rough. I will not discuss individual patients,
their privacy is sacred. What I will say is that
sometimes the sheer frailty of the body brings out the majesty of the spirit. I am constantly amazed at how kind the average person is when either they or their loved ones are seriously ill. That gives me hope.
January is a bleak month to many people. there isn't enough sunshine to keep us happy. Seasonal Distress Disorder has been studied for years. Mother nature seems to be holding her breath. Autumns glories are gone, the holidays are over. Snow isn't fun anymore and spring seems so very far away.
Yet, we are still surrounded by beauty. Evening sunlight in the tree tops. Early morning frost patterns on the ground.
I have mistletoe growing high in the oak trees.
If the oak leaves did not fall, we would never see it. I did not even know it would grow here, but there it is.
Moss and likens grow year round. They provide color and texture to my rock garden when the little flowers are sleeping.
I live in the woods. Pine Beetles have destroyed many trees in the local area. Last summer we had to decide whether we should have our pines harvested, or watch them all die. We had them harvested. We still have a lot of trees, but our personal woods are much less dense. When the leaves fell off the remaining trees, our woods seemed even thinner. Nature here does not give up. Some pines have been replanted in nice straight rows. Many more have sprung up voluntarily. Seeing these little beauties at the side of the road
reminds me that even a forest can grow again.
There is an old saying, I believe it is Chinese, that tells us "Every once in a while, you need to get a rock in your shoe. Then you will appreciate it when you don't have a rock in your shoe."
Maybe the bleaker aspects of January are to remind us of just how lucky we are.
Besides, it is no fun stretching out in front of the fire, if it isn't cold outside. I hope you are as cozy as I am right now, and I hope you feel as lucky as I do.

20 January 2009

BRRRrrrrrrr!, but Cozy.

We have had some truly awsome sky's lately. I just can't stop taking pictures. I am not sure what I will do with them, any suggestions? This is one of the clearest. Perhaps I should do some scrapbook pages with sky and clouds. this one is on the way to Augusta.

Bit of a surprise this morning. My Sweet Hubby informed me when I woke up, that it was snowing. I didn't believe him at first (He likes to tease me). He wasn't teasing this time. I got dressed as fast as possible and ran outside with the camera.

I am glad I didn't have to
go to work this morning, it is so pretty. I don't worry about the drive, even in the worst of weather. My "Trusty Steed" will keep me safe (love that little pickup).

At one point the snow flakes were so big and fluffy I managed to catch a photo of them falling. Here they are against the Smoke house. There was a fat and fluffy little bird out next to the buiding also. As I approaced the building, I heard a rustling noise. I
came around the corner and it was sitting on the saw horse. Now usually I would have had the camera
ready for the shot, but, I had the lens cover slid shut to keep the lens dry. As you can guess, by the time I got the cover open and the camera aimed, my little birdy was no where to be seen.

I walked around to the front of the house. There were a couple of birds playing under the magnolia. They were too far away. As I walked around the tree, they hopped in the opposite direction. After circling for a few minutes, I gave up. I did take a couple of photos of a little bird next to my pickup.
They are also too far away. Guess they don't feel like having their picture taken.

The Gargoils didn't mind having their photo taken (they never object to anything). I have two, one on either side of the walkway. Both were wearing a light coat of snow this morning.

The thermometer on the porch reads just below freezing, but it doesn't feel that cold. It is January and here in South Carolina, this is the deepest of winter. I don't mind. I don't like the cold, but I love
to be cozy. We have plenty of wood cut for the
fireplace and my sweet Hubby makes a great Teddy Bear.

Just in case the cold depresses or winter seems like it will stay, Mother Nature has provided a promise.
Little shoots of Daffodils, there are hundreds of them under the old pecan tree. Some are just peeking through, some are almost ready to bloom and some are already making a corner of my living room a bit warmer.

12 January 2009


What inspires me? All sorts of things! Nature provides a constant source of inspiration. Going for a walk outside always improves my outlook on life. One of my favorite books is "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" by Annie Dillard. She has the most wonderful way with words and she loves the out of doors. (That is the only book I took to Lackland AF Base for Basic Training.) Another great source of nature inspiration when the weather doesn't cooperate it the "Planet Earth" Series from BBC. We rented it from Net Flix. The photography is amazing. I would not mind

re watching it over and over. The series is also full of good information on the condition of our planet, (without preaching.) The armor on my dress form, gets dressed up for Christmas. The hat and beads have been put away for next year, but I still have to smile every time I look up at it. Airplanes and clouds inspire me too. My Father actually took this photo of a propeller in flight. It is one of his old slides that I scanned. I love it. The photo not only shows the propeller and the clouds, looking at it makes me feel like I am part of another era. I will probably have to
have this one printed to hang on a wall. I just love it.

The moon and moonlight inspire me too. There is
a peaceful quality to moonlight, as well as an expectancy, anything might happen. This photo was taken early in the evening and I like the colors.

The photo of the stream was taken in between rain showers. It has a very different color scheme. The light sparkles on the water and some of the branches seem to glow.
Misty mornings inspire me.
The tree looks great year round. It is home to several squirrels. (Bashful Squirrels, they disappear whenever the camera comes out.)
The church is one we drive by regularly. I am not even sure what denomination it is. The other day when we drove past, the clouds parted just above the steeple, and I had my camera ready. I really like the composition of this photo and it was pure luck. I took it with my trusty digital, from inside the car with the window up while we were driving by. (Another thing I love about digital, the fact that you can easily delete anything you don't like without
printing it or even wasting film, makes me braver.) I guess you could say my camera inspires me too.

What inspires you?

07 January 2009

January 2009, Where did it go? (photos from a walk in the woods)

How did it get to be 2009? I remember when I was a sophomore at Ben Lomond High School, we chanted the year we would graduate at the Pep Rallies. We yelled out 81 and thought we were the future. My Mom insisted that I take a typing class. That way I could always get a job as a Secretary (Mom was Secretary for the local Teamsters Union). When I was a senior, dear old Ben Lomond got it's first computer. Not for the students (why would students need a computer), but for the office. They only had one, why would they need more?
Before we got married, my Hubby and I were looking at Real Estate Catalogs. We saw a big old house on a few acres that was adjacent to a national forest. We agreed that it sounded like a dream home. When I enlisted in the Air Force, my recruiter talked me into signing up for 6 years instead of 4. My first military ID card had 1990 for an expiration date. That seemed such an amazing long time. I was only going to do one tour. After the 6 years was up, I was going to get out and get a job fixing radios and TVs.
The Air Force sent me to Mountain Home Idaho after Tech School. That just renewed my determination to get out as soon as I could. After 13 long months, I got orders to RAF Upper Heyford England. Life changed again.
We loved England. When we had time off, my sweet Hubby and I traveled all over the place. I knew my way around certain parts of London and even went to Birmingham on my own for a couple of conferences. We toured Britain from one end to the other. I have a wonderful photo my sweetheart took of me sitting on the "Bonny Bonny banks of Loch Lomond" (our High School
song was a corrupted version of that old standard).
We took the ferry to the coast of France several times and spent a week in Morocco. We visited Bruges, Paris, and Venice. When the time came
to get out, we were having way to much fun. We reenlisted for 4 more years. That changed the date on my ID card to 1994.
Before that enlistment ended, the AF sent us to Cannon Air Force Base New Mexico. Life changed again. We found a lovely house on some land and we went nuts with the garden. We would put down roots and make a home. In 1997 (wait a minute, 13 years? I was only going to stay for 6) we got orders to Charleston. The years flew by there too. As retirement got closer (2004, hey that's a whole nother century) we started looking for a place to settle. When my Sweetheart found
this place on the Internet, a lovely old house, a few acres and within walking distance from a national forest, it was just right.
All of today's photos were taken on a walk the other night. The two camellias are from a bush in my front yard. They have been blooming for about a week.
I asked where the time went, how it got to be 2009. It doesn't seem like a long time at all.
Maybe 2033 (our 50th wedding anniversary) isn't that far away after all.

May your road be smooth and your life full of beauty for the year 2009.


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