Go with all of your heart

Yesterday's sunset

Yesterday’s sunset

My Yogi Tea tag wisdom for the day is:

Wherever you go, go with all of your heart.

I would add to that:

And listen to your body.

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186: Dazzling in blue

(A single cattail.)

I cannot think of a better word for today.  It is dazzling.  The sky is an amazing shade of blue.  The sun is providing incredible light.  It’s just… dazzling.

(Ripples and willow branch reflections on the pond.)

Has it warmed up here in the Bogs?  No.  It has not.  It’s not any warmer than it has been for the past week or so.  But my attitude has  changed, and I have once again acclimated to the cold.  Layers on, hat on, mittens on, and waterproof boots to keep my feet dry and warm.  The t-shirts, shorts, and other bits of summer apparel will have to wait.  The weather folks are saying we won’t be warming up anytime soon.  It’ll be at least a week or more.

Bird's nest

I like the way the blue of the sky comes out in different shades depending on where I point the camera in relation to where the sun is positioned.  Or something like that.  I bet it sounded like I knew what I was talking about for a moment or two.

A bird near the nest

I am surprised by how boggy it continues to be.  The persistent, steady, cold and dry north wind should have pretty much dried things out by now.  I tried to make my way through the woods, but once I started down towards lower ground, it got muddy and mushy.  I would have been slipping and sliding (and probably falling) all over the place if I had continued.

Old tree in the woods

The vegetable garden area, which is on slightly higher ground, is almost dry enough for tilling.  That also means it’s almost dry enough for me to start to work on cleaning up the asparagus bed.  It will, however, be a while before we can consider planting anything.

I stayed out for over an hour today, enjoying the light, the blue of the sky, and even the chill and fresh scent of the north wind.  It was invigorating, on many levels.

Today's view of the pond from the timothy grass meadow

Old Man Winter may think he’s got a grip on us, but if you look closely you will find that Spring has not been completely halted in her mission of growth, rebirth, and renewal.

New life popping up

I think those might be the day lilies.  The area where I found them is the right place for them, and I can’t think of any other flowers that might be growing there.  We’ll see, as time goes on, how good my memory is.

Catkins against a blue sky

Going outside on a daily basis is easier and much more enjoyable when I give up the whingeing, and go out with a sense of adventure and discovery.  So go ahead, North Wind.  Bring it on.  It’s not going to keep me indoors.


Fire in the sky -- last night's sunset as seen through the woods

I’ll find other ways to keep warm.


121: Let’s play

(Birthday gift, with special effects.)

It is frigid outside.  Seriously frigid.  The kind of frigid where the folks on the news tell you to stay indoors unless you absolutely have to go out.  What makes it all the more frustrating is that the sun keeps making big, bright appearances.  Everything looks so pretty.  But don’t let that fool you.  It is seriously cold out there.

(Birthday gift, without the special effects.)

It is the kind of  day when one should stay indoors and play.  I had to go out, of course, because of the commitment.  I procrastinated for a while, finding other things to occupy my time.

(Night in the living room.)

I played last night, too.  I’m reading a book about exposure and the best way for me to understand what I’m reading is to sit and play with the camera.  I’m a hands-on kind of gal that way.

Bitter, cruel, heartless and cold

Did I mention it is seriously cold outside?  Oh yes, I did.  And it is.  This is Old Man Winter at his worst.  He’s the kind of guy you want to stay away from.  He won’t just break your heart.  He’ll snap off your fingers first.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

I know.  It looks so pretty.  What you can’t see is the wind whipping the snow around, tall dervishes of white powder twirling around in the trees, in the meadows, and across the pond.

(Coming in for a landing.)

I don’t know how the birds stand it out there.  Why doesn’t their blood freeze?  I was layered and bundled and still, the cold was biting my fingers and toes, freezing my nose, and turning my face blue.  Really.  It was blue when I came inside.  I’ve never had that happen before.  That particular shade of blue is not my color, that’s for sure.

(Playing with clouds and blue sky.)

Even the sun was no help.  There was no warmth there at all.  It was merely a light to brighten things up every now and then as it peered through the clouds.

(The cold, blue sky without the special effects.)

One of the reasons I dared to go out into this arctic cold (other than my commitment) is that we have a hike planned for tomorrow.  The temperature will be about the same, but the wind should not be as bad as it is today.

(Fresh, new snow.)

I guess we’ll make a decision about it tomorrow.  Right now I would vote for canceling.  But I may feel differently about it in the morning.  After I thaw out from today’s outdoor adventures.

(Sunbeams and clouds on a frigid day in the Bogs.)

How about you?  Got any plans for the weekend?

(Note:  The photos with special effects were altered and played around with in Picnik.)

97: Frigid

(Today’s view of the pond.)

I had to go outside in ten minute increments today.  It was bright and sunny, but painfully cold.  The wind seems to cut right through the layers of clothing and skin and go right to the bone.


(Tracks on the pond.)

I think this might be the first day this month that we haven’t had so much as a flurry.  From the looks of things we may not get any more snow this week.  There is, however, rain in the forecast for Friday and Saturday.  That will likely make a big mess of things once the temperature drops again and everything freezes.

Well, this is a dull post.  How about a visit to the beach just to warm us up a little?

We can take a walk at sunset.

All you have to decide is which way to go…

91: In the quiet

(Old Town San Diego.  November 2010)

During the past few weeks I’ve had some aches and pains that I was able to ignore.  Traveling (in snowy conditions!) and then getting the house ready for an early Christmas celebration meant I didn’t have time to pay attention to aching joints and bones.  It was a matter of mind and spirit over body, full speed ahead.

(A bird on a succulent, calling, calling.  San Diego, CA.  November 2010)

With family here saturating the house with love and laughter, aches and pains were reduced to twinges easily ignored.  Now that the house is empty — with M back at work and our family gone back to their homes and lives — those aches and pains are no longer in the background and in all honesty, today I hurt.

(Being helped along by a service dog.)

Stepping outside was the last thing I wanted to do.  I would much rather sit here and look at pictures of sunny, warm places.  The cold weather exacerbates the aches and pains.  Wouldn’t it be nice to sit on the beach and soak up the warmth of the sun?  In my mind and through my photos, I could go there.

(Finding ephemeral gold in the ocean at sunset.)

It’s been snowing here today.  Flurries to start.  Then a heavy squall for a little while, enough that the driveway and sidewalk need shoveling.  I did not want to go out.  But a commitment is a commitment is a commitment so…

This is how it went

Bundled up from head to toe I stepped outside where I was hit with a blast of wind that must have made its way here from the North Pole, preparing the way for Santa and the reindeer who are accustomed to this type of weather.  There was no evidence of the sun or anything remotely warming.  The wind howled and lifted the snow to form white funnels racing around the front yard.  I wanted to turn around and head back inside.  (Wouldn’t you?)

The warm up yesterday which caused a slight melting followed by last night’s cool down made everything crusty and icy.  I made my way over to the bird feeders, filled them, and gave serious thought to standing in the shelter by the barn rather than going back out into the wind.

(Video from today’s walk on the “low path.”)

This is the kind of day that motivated me to make the 365 commitment.  It is not about perfection.  It is about honoring promises I make to myself.  Somehow those seem to go by the wayside more often than promises I make to others.  Not today.

(The linden tree finally lost all of its leaves.)

I plodded over to what we call the high path.  It’s a path through the future-woods, not all that high as this is Ohio and although we do have hills, they are nothing compared to places that have mountains.  The high path is on the outer perimeter of Breezy Acres and I went that way with thoughts of taking the long route rather than wimping out with a short walk.  All or nothing, right?  Wrong.  And another lesson learned.

(View of the pond from the “high path.”)

The wind sliced its way through my layers but I trudged on to the woods.  I haven’t been out that way since the snow started accumulating.  It’s often windy and the drifts can be high in spots so it was no surprise to find I had to break trail and the only other tracks out there were those of small animals making their way over the top of the snow.

(A tunnel in the snow.)

The snow looks almost the same color as the sky.  A dark grayish-blue.  I thought about tweaking the photos (adjusting the contrast and levels) to fix it but decided to leave things as they are in order to represent things as they are. Sometimes the snow really is blue to the eye, the brain, and the camera processing it.  This is my first winter with my new camera and most of the time the snow is white, as people expect to see it.  The truth of my eye is, the snow is rarely white in the Bogs.  It usually does have a blue or gray cast to it.  Near the end of winter it’s a dirty gray or black.  I am happy to see the new camera reflecting what I see.  (Isn’t that the point of art?)

When I reached the woods I decided to turn around and take the “low path” back.  The low path also goes through the future-woods.  It is higher than the timothy grass path or the wildflower meadow but lower than the high path.  “All or nothing” was a distant memory.  By the time I reached the house, my face felt frozen yet the rest of me was warm and feeling oh, so much better.  I met my commitment and really, who cares if I didn’t overshoot it by pushing myself around the perimeter of the property?

I was surprised to find the entire walk took me over 40 minutes, longer than required by my commitment.  I did not stay out longer to prove something.  That’s just how long it took with the resistance of the snow and the wind.  Common sense, every now and then, prevails.  (I wish that happened more often in life — and not just my life!)

And now…

I canceled the pity party.  I am sinking into the quiet of the house after all the noise of the wind.  The warmth is pleasant, too.  Still, I wouldn’t mind another trip to the beach just to see the sunset…

Isn’t it wonderful and amazing that we can do that through the magic of modern technology?  I think so.  And I’m very grateful for it.

65: A cold wind’s a blowin’

(Berries in the rain)

Yesterday it was in the 40’s and raining.  I waited for a break in the rain to go out for my walk but eventually I would have run out of day without the break ever appearing so I finally grabbed the umbrella and went out into the rain.

(View of the pond from under my umbrella)

I was surprised to find that I thoroughly enjoyed my walk in the rain, and the 40’s don’t feel so bad once you’re out and about.

(A scattering of raindrops in the meadow)

It would have been a peaceful walk with only the sound of the rain and the birds chattering except someone nearby was shooting at something.  I hope it was target practice because if they were hunting, they must be a terrible shot judging by the number of shots fired.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

Today it is sunny, windy, and freezing cold (in the 20’s).  My face and the tips of my fingers (even with gloves on) were numb in no time.

Yesterday’s rain raised the pond and creek levels considerably.  The pink flamingos are no longer in the mud but getting ready to go for a swim.  Hopefully the water will drain off fairly quickly so the cold will kill off the pond weeds as planned.

(The water is as cold as it looks.)

Because of the harsh, blustery, cold wind, I walked quickly back to the woods hoping for some shelter.  It didn’t work.  The wind seems to be everywhere today.  We have sustained winds of 14 mph with gusts up to 20 mph.  Brrrr!

(Woodland path is now part of the creek.)

(The creek has risen.)

As you can see in the above photo, the creek has overflowed its banks.  See the twisty tree to the left?  I usually stand a few feet beyond that to take pictures of the creek.

(Grasses and trees in the creek.)

The cold was hard to take at first.  This is our first really cold day of the season and I’m not used to it yet.  By the time I finished my walk, it wasn’t quite so bad.  I do need a warmer pair of gloves, though.  Mittens would be nice.

(Cold, blue sky.)

I took a container of bird seed out with me and left little offerings to the doves and other birds as I took my walk.  There is a log near where the doves hang out that has grooves in it.  I filled the grooves with seed.  I hope they find it.  I feel like it’s the least I can do since I scare the poor birds every day when I walk by that part of the woods.  I will carry bird seed with me from now on, hoping to help them out a little as winter progresses.

It just dawned on me that there are only 300 more days left in my outdoor commitment.  The first 65 days have flown by.  It will be interesting to see what the rest of the days will bring.