The party went well.  I am fairly certain a good time was had by all.  Everyone looked happy.  That’s usually a good sign.

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321: Beautiful day in the Bogs

Today's view of the pond

We are having an amazingly gorgeous day here in the Bogs today.  It’s not the kind of day I normally would associate with August.  A cold front moved through last night, bringing heavy rains, lightning, thunder, gusty winds, and much cooler and drier weather.  The sunshine is bright, the clouds rolling by have been puffy and white, and the breeze is wonderful.  This is my kind of weather.

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320: Mountains

Longs Peak in the background. Rocky Mountain National Park. Colorado. August 2010.

Last year at the time, M and I were in Colorado, hiking around in Rocky Mountain National Park.  The WordPress Weekly Photo challenge for this week is Mountains, making this a great time to pull out some of those mountain photos that have been languishing in the archives.  Longs Peak is the only “fourteener” (summits over 14,000 feet) in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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272: Getting freaky in the woods

Summer Solstice in the Woods

Yesterday evening, before the storms hit, I decided to wander back to the woods to get some Summer Solstice shots of the creek (as part of my contribution to Scott’s Assignment:  Four Seasons 2011).  I donned the appropriate clothing, including my ugly hat to keep the deer flies away, and slowly hiked to the back of the pond and down into the woods.  I got stopped along the way by a few things that caught my attention.

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231: The Big Bang

(Nature’s fireworks.)

That’s what we woke up to this morning.  Not a crash.  Not a boom.  But a BANG.  A BIG bang.  It was as if a giant up in the sky crashed his fist down on the ground creating not only a bang, but a shaking and rattling of the house.  It was an early morning thunderstorm — much better than any alarm clock — informing us that it was time to wake up and get moving.

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195: Butterfly and orchids

I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.

~ Chuang Tzu

This photo was taken at the Cleveland Botanical Garden during their Orchid Mania exhibit.  I still have quite a few photos from that exhibit that I haven’t yet posted on the blog.  They will come in handy on busy days (such as today) when I need to put up a quick post.

I’m not sure what caused it to come out this way.  I think it was camera shake, giving it the soft, blurry effect.  It makes it seem like you can almost see through the orchid to the far right.

Today’s Outdoor Adventures

Nothing much to report.  It has been raining off and on throughout the day.  I poked my nose outside in between the rain showers, mostly accomplishing a few chores out there and checking up on the birds.  I did not take the camera outside with me today.  We needed a break from each other.

Easily spooked (22)

(Scary house in Coudersport, PA.)

It was rainy and chilly here this morning.  Dark and cloudy, too.  Not the kind of day you want to go wandering around outside.

(This morning’s view of the pond.)

There was a break in the rain and I thought I’d make like the goddess Nike and Just Do It, but then the skies really opened up and it poured before I could get out there.  That was a blessing.  Imagine if it had done that while I was wandering off towards the woods or something.

(Heavy rain.)

The thing is, I’m not feeling well at all today.  The cold symptoms have gotten worse, adding body aches and pains on top of the sore throat and the so-congested-it-feels-like-it-will-explode head.  There is no fever so I’ll stick with the cold diagnosis for now.  The not-feeling-well cherry on top is a terrible pain that I am pretty sure is due to eating a handful of cashews coated with honey and sesame seeds.  You see, I shouldn’t be eating those cashews.  I’ve experienced this pain before and it always coincides with the eating of the cashews.  Did I learn my lesson?  Hopefully so, this time around.

I had to have a conversation with myself about commitments and such.  The conversation didn’t last long.  I resigned myself to going out.  And the wind did me a favor by blowing away some of the cloud cover for a little while, allowing the sun to shine through.  I bundled up and headed out only to find myself frightened by something as soon as I opened the door.

(Scary boots.)

Yep, hip boots.  Or waders.  When I opened the door and saw the feet part of the boots, I thought someone was lying on the sidewalk.  Sort of.  It was quick, just enough to startle me before the boots registered with my brain as being 1) M’s boots, and 2) empty of any body.

Having determined that I was in fact okay and not suffering from a heart attack or other lingering effects from the scare, I slowly made my way out to the pond via the side of the yard where the standing stone stands.

Something amazing happened soon after:

My head didn’t clear but the skies did.  For a little while.  Long enough for me to walk around for about 40 minutes or so, enjoying the invigorating feel of the gusty wind.  There were still some lighter clouds rolling in and out, but the dark and gloomy variety moved east to haunt someone else.

I met a few other creatures along the way.

I think that is an American goldfinch wearing his winter plumage.  (If I’m wrong, please correct me.  I’m trying to learn what’s what and who’s who out there.)  Look how nicely he stands out against that lovely blue sky.

I also met a doe right here on the path going into the woods but we startled each other and she bounded off before I could even think about the camera.  If you have a good imagination, you should be able to see her just a few feet away right in the middle of the path.

The little gal or guy above accompanied me through the meadow, leading the way.  Moth or butterfly?  I’m not sure.  The body reminds me of a moth but the antennae look like those of a butterfly.

(In the clover.)

It was a good walk.  I came back with wet feet and a vastly improved mood.  Unfortunately, the other problems didn’t go away so now I think I’ll have a cuppa hot tea and then succumb to the nap that has been calling.