The Big Snow

February 1st, 2016….

A few days prior to this, we were experiencing a nice reprieve from the blistering cold (not much snow yet).   We were working on outdoor projects and hardly even needed a jacket.  I asked my husband, who grew up in snow country, if he thought we might be done with winter, finally!  He retorted without a moment’s hesitation that we probably hadn’t seen the last, or worst, of it yet.  I really didn’t believe this.  Spring was in the air, buds were even appearing on the lilac bushes and I had seen a few Robins, clearly the first signs of spring.  February 1st proved him right though.

The next morning, I learned of the big snowfall via a text from a daughter, living 45 miles away in a similar high altitude with the same record snowfall in her area.  She told me they had called a snow day so she, as a teacher, and all the kids got a free day off from school!  She also said all roads leading into her town were shut down.  This was big news.  It takes a lot of snow to bring things to a screeching halt like this.  And there was a LOT of snow.

I got out of bed and went and looked outside, towards the front of the house where the streetlight revealed just how big!  I was shocked at the thick blanket of snow hiding large articles in our yard.  Many reported not even being able to see small cars in their yards.  Our picnic table, out back, was completely covered as were so many other things.  It was, well, exhilarating to wake up to such a transformation overnight!

Looking out my kitchen window to a scene lit by the streetlight.

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The first photos I took were partly shrouded by the predawn darkness.  A streetlight, in  front of the house, was the only means of revealing this wondrous site.

 

An inner knowing told me this was not going to be an ordinary day.  Something sleeping within me was awakening and alert to events that were coming but still unknown to me. I spent a lot of time snapping photos and reveling in this miracle.  I found myself being “put back” into the right order of things, no longer the one in charge of every aspect of my life.  I was the observer and nothing more.  It made me feel giddy.

After the sun came up, my husband dressed for the cold and went out and began shoveling pathways around our acreage to get around to the places necessary to get to.

 

He claims he shoveled 400′ of pathways and seemed somewhat resentful that I did not help in this chore.  I let it slide off and remained transfixed in my magical bubble of this winter wonderland consciously deciding nothing would intrude on my happiness.  I was in an entirely different place than he was and exhilarated to slip into this transcendent state of being.  I was busy with other important things like being exceedingly happy, excited and beguiled.  I felt like baking and began filling our home with smells, the scent of hot bread in the oven and warm teas.  I even made myself a cup of hot, peppermint cocoa that is only on my shelf for the grandkids (usually).  I never touch the stuff due to my intolerance for sugar but today was different, and found me doing things out of the ordinary.  I found “It’s a Marshmallow World in the Winter” on You Tube and played it and other wintry songs, until all that was left were Christmas tunes and this was not about Christmas.

Our day went on in this manner.  Chatting with friends on Facebook who were experiencing similar things on this beautiful first day of February.  Their stories were also filled with awe and wonder.  I felt exceptionally creative and used my newly painted chalkboard for the first time!  I was waiting for it to “cure” before writing on it and wasn’t sure it would even “work”.  I wanted to make some kind of statement about this magical day that was inspiring me to go to work creating the event in chalk, colored chalk no less, as my first artwork on my newly made chalkboard.

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I regret very much that I did not take a photo of my Feb 1st artwork.  It had big snowflakes and was a wonderful tribute to the day.  My creativity was really overflowing and I was very caught up in this sphere of magical energy spilling out in so many forms.

 A Favorite Picture

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More photos of the day….

This is a natural arbor formed by two trees we usually drive under

to enter our parking area:

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The day wore on in this manner and then the tractors began arriving…

IMG_1044Living in a farming community has its advantages, as I was to soon learn.

Being a “city girl” I missed the amazing bike trails and almost daily events going on in my favorite city, St George, just 36 miles away and always wished for the day we could return there to live.  This has been my constant rhetoric, pleading with my husband (the country boy) to return to the city I loved.  I never really allowed myself to bond with the beautiful country we now call home.  The people were all kind, really great people to know and live among; the summers were much more appealing than the triple digits of St George and even the trips to St George were inspiring, driving through the forested mountains to reach it.  I just wanted to “go home”, back to the place where my roots began, my mother’s home town.

As the bubble began wearing thin and the stark reality of the state of things began interfering with my happiness and glee in this winter wonderland, I could see there was going to take some real labor to get us to even become mobile again.  Our vehicles were locked in.  At first I didn’t even care.  I had no place to go, no place other than this beautiful, magical area I wanted to be in for the moment.  But, as all good things wind down, I began to realize we would have to leave at some point and matters of reality slowly interrupted my sense of living in a wonderland forever.

At first a man we have become friends with, who helps us quite often, arrived in his big green farm tractor.  He shoveled our driveway out so we could at least get our main vehicle out.  When questioning him about all this, he admitted he got up at 4:00 am and when seeing the situation got his tractor going and had been out doing this all morning.  It was about 11:00 when he showed up at our place.  I brought him out a big mug of steaming hot tea and our gratitude could not be rehearsed in a mere cup of tea but that was all we had to offer as he would not take any monetary or even trade for his work.  We exchanged a brief conversation and he had to be off to help others in the same situation.

“What joy to see people helping one another.”

My husband, who has a small (broken down) Kubota Tractor felt perplexed that he too could not be out and about, helping others in need..as he used to do in his home town.  We were totally dependent upon the goodwill of someone coming to our rescue now.

Harv got in our old farm truck and began bouncing over drifts of snow, trying to break them down so that the rest of our driveway could be driven over and to free the rest of our vehicles from their snowy prison.  As luck would have it, at one point he slid into a tall water hydrant (faucet) and found the truck “high centered” right on top of the faucet!  He had crawled under the truck to see what damage may have been done and clearly the faucet was bent and probably broken and it looked like even some parts to the underside of the truck might have been tangled up in the faucet.  It didn’t look good.  As we were wondering how he could even untangle the truck from the faucet another friend passed by on another huge farm tractor.  Harv waved him down and he came and plowed out the other sections of driveways we have.  He lifted the truck up and over the faucet with his mighty tractor then got down on hands and knees in two feet of snow to help Harv dig out the now visibly broken pipe, spurting water.  He spent a good 45 minutes or more helping Harv find the main water shut off valve, buried deep in the snow then worked on digging up the 4′ faucet and capping off the pipe.  He had been up since 7:30 and had not eaten all day.  I fixed him something to eat, that he didn’t want, as he and Harv were working and set it on the seat of his tractor so he could eat it before having to leave to go help someone feed cattle before it got dark, which was quickly approaching.

The real magic of the day

was my finally falling in love with this little farm town and the good people living here. My heart was so full I felt like it could burst with love and gratitude.  I realized what a very special place this little hamlet is, nestled on all sides by beautiful forests and farmland.  Something happened to me on this wonderful first day of February.  I decided to stay and “bloom where I was planted”.  Someday, hopefully, I will return to the place of my ancestors.  I still must go back, there are so many memories deep in my heart and soul and missing too many of the old folk who have moved on from there.  I miss it very much.  I miss my adult children, some of whom live there with my precious grandchildren.  I miss the cousins I was just starting to bond and connect with once again.  I miss my family as I see the people in this small farm town living and doing things with their families who live here also.

But, in the meantime….

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I will strive to be happy wherever I am and whatever the circumstances.  The events that transpired on this wondrous day on the very first day of the month of love taught me some new lessons I hope I never forget.  My heart was filled to overflowing both from the magical wonder of nature’s beauty as well as the goodness of our fellowmen.  That is a good feeling to carry around.

A post note:IMG_1084I couldn’t let our truckload of snow go to waste and came up with the idea of taking it down to “Sunny St George” and sharing it with my grand-kids living there, one of whom has never seen snow in his young life.  I waited about three days before going down, hoping (ridiculously) that the snow would not melt from the truck before I had a chance to go down…it was like a walk in freezer the whole week and I should not have worried about the snow melting before I had a chance to deliver it.

Before we “dropped it off” in my daughter’s front yard, we stopped to eat at a restaurant and my husband nudged me and pointed to some other diners who had left and were out in the parking lot, taking a little nibble of the snow in our truck!  How funny to have shared it in ways not even intended!

DAY 4: Five Day Challenge to post a photo and writing: Desert Varnish

Slot Canyon

Getting Lost in Nature

I consider myself very lucky to have been able to live out in the middle of a forest, off the grid at one point in my life.  We had a four-wheeler that we would take out often.  Any of the many trails leading out our back fence, onto BLM land, would end up in an awe-inspiring view.  We discovered so many places of interest in a relatively small radius just out our back gate.

One place we went to often was this narrow slot canyon.   We had to travel a little distance to get to it and actually ended up riding parallel to the little-traveled road that led into the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, six miles east from our property.  

One of our favorite places was this little, 3-sided canyon whose entry was so narrow you had to hike down into it from above. We’d park the 4-wheeler and hike into it.  This included hiking up a hillside of huge boulders, an awe-inspiring venture in itself.  When you got to the top of this rugged mound or boulders, sage brush and wild flowers there was an extremely narrow, dirt trail leading down into this quiescent, narrow canyon.  As the photo shows, the floor was soft, red sand (depicting the name of this area; The Coral Pink Sand Dunes).  The walls went straight up on either side.  Both sides of the canyon walls had distinct petroglyphs on them.  

It was so quiet and peaceful in there, with the thick layer of the soft, red sand floor; I often wished I could just spend the night in there.   It was only after quite a few trips to that place that I learned something else about the rock walls.  They were a brilliant contrast of red sandstone and a black coat of something I later learned was called “Desert Varnish”.  This varnish builds up over hundreds of years upon a rock formation that gets little precipitation, fracturing or wind abrasion; usually in an arid climate.  The varnish is primarily composed of particles of clay along with iron and manganese oxides.  There is also a host of trace elements and almost always some organic matter.  The color of the varnish varies from shades of brown to a purplish black.  Scientists can judge the age of the rock from the layers of varnish built up on it.

In this particular canyon, the varnish is almost a bluish black, very dark with a gleam to it.  You can look straight up from the bottom of the canyon to the sky above.  It is one of the most magnificent places I have been to.  I have a hankering to go back.

We sold our cabin that was located in this area and moved away.  I miss those days and the natural beauty we saw in any direction we looked.  I miss the trails and the surprises awaiting at the end of the ride, we were always surprised by something extraordinarily magnificent.  

Blogging U Photo 101

As part of this assignment, I am to challenge another blogger to do the 5 consecutive days of posting a photo with a word or two, or more.  I would like to invite one of my favorite bloggers, whose blog I absolutely love, “Through The Open Lens”, to do this challenge.  He posts daily anyway, so this shouldn’t be anything added to his list.

“Tree Huggers”

As a little girl growing up in my first neighborhood in Las Vegas, NV  I was exceedingly happy with my life and my Love Bucket was overflowing.  I remember one day, wrapping my short arms around a big Elm Tree in our front yard and hugging it.  The rough bark rubbed against me and reminded me how little and weak I was compared to this strong and loyal friend.  I loved that old tree.  We had a China Berry tree as well that I was instructed never to climb as I could break the more delicate branches.  I longed to climb that one as well, and tried to now and then, doing it with the gnawing feeling of doing something wrong and hurting the guardians, my aunt and uncle, I loved too much to disobey.

Little did I know that someday…in the far future, this would exemplify a whole group of Eco-Minded folk in our society who would be called Environmentalists.  People working hard to preserve the natural realm of things.  I am proud to be a card-carrying member of that group, in a more subtle way.  Too bad, that as adults, we have to go over the top with things and then have to defend our right to our beliefs and actions.  Too bad that our world is growing too small to hold so many conflicting opinions, rubbing up against one another and being annoying.

Going back to a smaller self, a smaller world, those were not issues at all.  The only world I knew back then was my own little circumference which barely extended past my front yard.  To cross the street now and then and play with my best friend, Mikey Brown, was what I considered venturing out into the world.

 My tree hugging days were uncomplicated and unreported

Below are photos of a new generation of tree-huggers.  They aren’t  bonding with the trees to save the planet or save an  insect close to extinction.  They don’t consider what drives them to cling to a tree.  Children just love trees!

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