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”.
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 😊
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.
What a difference a day makes! . . . freeze-up happened sooner than expected for our local Trumpeter Swan family. The few remaining open patches of water these big birds require for their running take-off is quickly becoming solid-state, and Mom is ‘honking-out’ Dad for not booking an earlier flight south for their cygnets and them 😊
Not to worry. I spoke with a neighbor today who is an avian expert and shares my concern for our Trumpeters’ plight. He is in contact with Bird Rescue authorities who will be able to institute SAD (Swan Assisted Departure) if necessary . . . stay tuned 😊
Temps reached into the 40s as Mother Nature granted a brief reprieve from winter’s arrival. Snow melt transformed to translucent droplets exhuming a colorful re-birth of leaves carpeting the forest floor . . . reminiscent of the tears Jesus shed to offer all who claim Him as their own a glorious, forever rebirth.
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” – 1 Corinthians 15:55