August 30, 2019. Summer travels included a week in the National Forest near Lake City, Colorado. Beautiful country – in spite of recent destructive avalanches (record snowfalls continued into June) – and in spite of beetle demise of once-lush Spruce. Spruce is “old news” there, avalanches and floods garnering all the attention. For most. My eyes kept going to the Spruce. No longer alive, yet holding form through assaults of weather, marmots, bears, moose. Like a feather: you can mess with it, but it goes back to original form.
Big grey “feathers” were everywhere, mostly in multiples that made capturing the form with camera difficult. Might be time to work on my sketching skills! One solo Spruce stood at road’s edge, and I managed to get there in sufficient light and zero traffic on departure morning. Took a while to isolate enlarged branch from background, but: a labor of love.
August 6, 2019. After a long trip comes an indefinite period of prowling through camera images and phrases noted in journals, piecing together highlights of experiences to be savored (likely not repeated). In June we camped several days in the National Forest up above Cloudcroft NM, where we frequent in August for the annual Gathering Of Circles. This year our mountain time had to be earlier, as Gary’s school year shifted earlier. Tonight the Gathering begins; but yesterday teachers were already back at Stony Point High School. Since I cannot be at the Gathering, I am instead immersed in photos and memories of June’s mountain bliss. Wild irises were in bloom – something I’d never seen before, as they finish their cycle well before August. I found this haiku in my journal.
July 31, 2019. I’m still vibrating from Monday evening in the midst of purple martins amassing at dusk — preparing to migrate into South America. For a few evenings in July, the sky darkens with wings swooping down from way up high, collective perpetual motion, each bird merging into position, settling to rise again, resettle. Quite the party scene! Not sure if they wait for sufficient flock size, or weather cues, or perhaps the just-so moon cycle? One morning their signals dictate, and away they go — migrating amassed.
I first experienced this rush in 2014. We’ve missed out in recent years due to summer travels, but this year home early enough. This collage is from 2014 photos (I had a real camera with me that night). Some challenges an iPhone simply cannot meet. And no camera (still or video) can capture the energy of all those wings! Nor the compatibility of humans in awe.
July 25, 2019. We have returned from our summer roaming to a yard overgrown with green leafy things we did not plant, do not want – some strange new vine draping over shrubs and walkways as thick as a rug. There is considerable down-at-ground-level work to be done! Luckily, the same Ma Nature responsible for all this growth has granted us a week of temperatures unusually cool for Central Texas. So no complaints, just lots of time in the sun tugging and digging.
The walkway pictured was not visible when we got home.
The red dragonfly (who comes annually) has been a boost to attitude, thus to progress.
June 5, 2019. Greetings from South Llano River State Park (TX) – first pause on our summer travels.
Getting away takes major effort (well worth it!) – this poem reflects on that, as well as the beauty of Texas hill country. This year the yucca are spectacular. This collage shows the scene – a bit blurred as pausing to take photos is impractical when towing an Airstream! The closeup is of a yucca blooming on the trail to one of the bird blinds here at the state park.
May 27, 2019. We are gearing up for another summer of travels … to places we’ve never been before, to places we’ve been yearning to get back to … in both cases, places that might present the next Native American wooden flute (or two) for Gary’s collection. He is selective! He trusts my skills and selectivity to yield the right custom bag for each flute.
Bags pictured were made last September, for flutes acquired last summer.
May 6, 2019. Rains have summoned the spade-foot toads, up from their burrows into misty night air … calling (could this be deemed crooning?) with a knowing confidence and persevering vigor. They like the pond just off the back porch (very near the bedroom window). Mating lasts throughout the night. Unable to sleep, I go out to enjoy the party.