A ½” of virgin, unmarked snow . . . a cool, gentle breeze . . . a pinking hour sunset brushed across distant snowcaps – the wilderness wonder postcard God created for me to glide through before hanging up my skis and heading off to rejoin my life partner in the Great Smoky Mountains tomorrow.
I’ve missed her, and Lord willing, come Spring we’ll return together to the solitude of this awesome corner of creation with its vast wilderness reaches, rugged magnificence, and primal beauty John Muir once called “The Manuscripts of God”.
Happiness is zero degrees and a pair of skis . . . gliding over a wilderness lake, snow whispering beneath, winter’s sun above sinking behind distant mountain monarchs . . . Life is Good! . . . wish you could have joined me.
“He gives snow like wool; He scatter the frost like ashes.” – Psalm147:16
The Land of the Midnight Sun is rapidly entering its Midnight Moon season, as seen in this 4 PM/4-degree wilderness wander picture.
Watching the sun begin to silently slip below the distant Chugach Range conjured a somewhat ambivalent thought of peaceful melancholy . . . this scene is somewhat analogous to my life . . . my Midnight Sun season is slowly slipping below life’s horizon, yielding to the Midnight Moon. But there’s only peace . . . no remorse . . . as I stand alone in the frozen silence.
Life’s joys have been my sunshine, and the dark clouds of failure have taught me the past is a place of reference to grow from, not a place of residence to live in. I’ve been undeservedly blessed beyond measure, and know a Sonrise awaits that will never set.
“NeverthelessI am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day”. – II Timothy 1:12
Last night, for the first time since I hired on as a water boy in the construction of Machu Picchu, the longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years occurred. Yep, I snoozed through it.
However, the adage, “You snooze, you lose” is totally valid . . . miss the moon, shoot for the s😊n . . . the next total solar eclipse, the only one of the year and the last total solar eclipse until 2023, is set to take place in a couple weeks on my birthday . . . I’m honored 😊
Unfortunately, it will only be fully visible from Antarctica, with folks in South Africa, Namibia, the southern tip of South America and some islands in the South Atlantic getting a partial show. Anyone wanna’ crowd-fund me a plane ticket? Antarctica would be my first choice, but if you can snag a better deal for Namibia, I’m OK with that 😊 . . . did someone just say, “Maybe, ONE WAY!”?
Anyway, last night I ventured out on the deck again in my bathrobe and slippers at -9 degrees to snap this ‘rare’ after-the-eclipse full-moon picture over the mountains . . . Yes . . . I did remember to leave the door unlocked 😊
“When I consider Your heavens,the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained,what is man that You are mindful of him, and the Son of man that You visit Him? ”
We’ve been locked in an Arctic Deep-Freeze here for the past several days . . . single digits below zero at night, rising above zero by day. This ‘refreshing’ spell is projected to continue until the weekend.
Last night I arose to throw another log on the fire and noticed a faint Aurora glow over the mountains. Although far from a spectacular display, I thought it worthy of a pic and grabbed my camera. Attired in my slippers and bathrobe, I stepped out on the deck for a quick point-and-shoot photo. Things rapidly deteriorated when I shut the door and heard it click locked behind me!
Leisurely point-and-shoot Plan A suddenly transformed into frantic find-or-freeze Plan B, scrambling to dig out the spare house key. After one of the ‘chilliest’ 3 minutes I’ve ever experienced, the key was successfully located, and I let myself back in . . . mere seconds from frostbite beginning to affect some rather sensitive areas . . . definitely not my finest photo opt, although it might have qualified as a contender for America’s Funniest Home Videos 😊
I did manage to quickly snap the attached photo of the Aurora. However, the fuzziness and faint star trails speak to the difficulty in holding the camera steady when donned in your slippers and bathrobe at -7 degrees 😊
I attended church twice today. Following this morning’s indoor service, I attended an outdoor service alone, embraced by Nature’s unspeakable, pristine, sub-zero splendor . . . sensing my infinitesimal smallness . . . silently worshiping my omnipotent Creator and keeper of my soul.
“How great Thou art!”
“I would like to have seen the whole world with eyes incapable of anything but wonder, and with a tongue fluent only in praise.” – Pat Conroy
The thermometer registered – 4 this morning, assuring my PTSD day (Plow The Snow Dude) would be a ‘refreshing’ task. Suiting up in thermal-ware, my snowplow greeted the frigid winter wonderland.
Fortunately, this antique 1942 model, self-propelled snowplow, outfitted with a snow-scoop attachment still functioned to successfully remove nearly a foot of frozen fluff from the ½ football field length driveway. Its got lotsa’ dings, doesn’t run as fast as it once did, and original replacement parts are no longer available. However, it remains basically mechanically sound, although some of its memory components are shot. Best of all, it comes with a forever warranty, and I fueled it up this morning with 2 oatmeal-raisin cookies and a cup of coffee 😊
Task accomplished, I’m giving it a hot shower, hot cup of Ovaltine, and retiring it for the evening . . . pondering why long driveways no longer hold the appeal for me they once did 😊
Woke up this morning to discover snow-line has suddenly dropped 1,500 ft. below Chickaloon, AK, and the fluff continues to steadily fall . . . this will seriously alter my daily routine from hiking to shoveling 😊
The snow’s projected to end by nightfall, so . . . barring a cardiac event 😊 . . . it’ll probably be Sunday before I manage to clear the driveway down to the road, which has yet to be plowed . . . welcome to rural Last Frontier life . . . Love it!
While waiting to step outside and engage Mother Nature’s 13-degree Winter Wonderland with my shoveling skills, I identified with and added a tad to the post below a fellow ole duffer sent on his bloghttp://rays-daily.com/ . . . thanks Ray!
Reading these Tips for a Better Life triggered poignant ‘Wish I’d have realized these sooner’ memories, and thought some of y’all might enjoy perusing them. Like my Grammy used to scold me when I’d been caught doing something naughty yet again, “Freddy, you’re too soon old and too late smart!” . . . I shoulda’ listened sooner . . . do as I say, not as I’ve done 😊
Wherever this may find you in your ‘Wonderland’ today . . . whether the sun’s shining; snow’s falling; or a storm’s raging, enjoy its wonders . . . they are there if you but look and listen closely.
Tips for a Better Life – (it’s not too late)
1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to. 😊
3. Buy a DVR and tape your late-night shows and get more sleep .
4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, ‘My purpose is to __________today.’
5. Live with the 3 E’s – Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
6. Play more games and read more books than you did last year.
7. Make time to pray. It will provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.
8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 (not a lot of us still left 😊) and under the age of 6.
9. Dream more while you are awake.
10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.
12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.
14. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed-out charge card.
17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.
18. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
20. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
21. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
22. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
23. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’
26. Forgive everyone for everything.
27. What other people think of you is none of your business.
28. God heals everything in His time which is always on time.
29. However good or bad a situation is it will change.
30. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will, stay in touch.
31. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
33. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
34. Do the right thing!
35. Call your family often (or email them to death!!!) Hey I’m thinking of ya! 😊
36. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.
37. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
38. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don’t want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.
With temps in the teens headed for single digits tonight and sub-zero later this week, it was time for an Alaskan wardrobe change. Unable to find my wet-suit, I decided to forgo testing the lake’s ice thickness 😊
Stay warmand remember . . . there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.