August 2017

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Last night we got quite a dumping of snow. There was about a foot (30 cm) piled up on the patio chairs this morning, although it's impossible to tell what of that was new and what was old--but most of it was new. The snow was also powder, that elusive substance so beloved by skiers and snowboarders.

The result of this was that schools were closed! Bobby and I both anticipated a delay, but an all-out closure?? The outcome of this: I got to sleep in, Bobby got a powder day, and I went snowshoeing for the first time this year.

I did not post my photo-a-day yesterday because I had an immensely productive day, which tend to look boring from the outside. I did not leave the house or take off my pajamas all day, most of which was spent in front of the computer. I got a bunch of fannish stuff done and worked through about half of a Drupal 8 course that I found on YouTube. (My Drupal textbook finally foiled me. It is for Drupal 7, so I was wasting so much time trying to find modules that were integrated into the core Drupal 8 software or that haven't been completed for Drupal 8 yet. I also didn't like that the book dived right into projects, thus presenting topics rather willy-nilly, to use the technical term for it. I like to see the big picture of how things are organized first; all that happens when I dive into things at random is that I can never find it again or figure out what exactly I did back when. I have a very taxonomic brain that likes a place for everything and everything in its place and to see how things relate and connect.) None of that stuff exactly provides inspiration for any photos that I think anyone wants to see. (Me in my pajamas staring zombie-like at a Drupal tutorial on YouTube?)

Anyway, I hope to make up for yesterday's lack of photo by posting lots from my snowshoeing jaunt today. It felt good to get my legs under me again. The Nordic Center wasn't really open but they told Bobby over the phone that they didn't care if I went out as long as I didn't mind if the trails weren't groomed. As it was, one of the staff showed me a brand-new not-even-on-the-map-yet trail that he isn't even finished blazing yet, so I did that one. It took about an hour--not a long walk at all given some of my past outings--but with a foot of fresh powder and ungroomed terrain, it was quite a workout!

First of all, Bobby surprised me with new snowshoes, which he got dirt cheap at the pro sale at Jay Peak last weekend.

(We have been cracking up over this: For employment purposes, Bobby is now considered a professional athlete! But, as I reasoned, he does get paid to render a service particular to his skill with the sport of snowboarding. Even as a ski patroller, his main reason for existence was less his skills as a rider and more his specialized training in outdoor emergency care.)

My new shoes.

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I'm pretty sure I put them on the wrong feet, but hey, they got me through all that fresh powder.

The American beech holds its papery brown leaves through the winter. These trees were scattered along the trail and made for some dramatic scenery: the parchment-pale leaves against the stark black and white scenery. As is often the case, photography does not do them justice (especially when your equipment consists of a cell phone camera being carried in a humid pocket!)

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The trail was pretty densely wooded but every now and then a mountain would peek through the trees. I don't know the name of the first mountain; the second is, of course, Jay Mountain.

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About halfway along, a little bit of blue sky briefly appeared. Then it started snowing again.

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The trail winded along the river, which was mostly frozen, although I could still hear the water chuckling under the ice. My phone does not zoom well at all--the only thing I miss about my iPhone--so you have to really look to see the tiny waterfall here. It sounded so merry as I trudged through the snow.

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There was a variety of tree species through this section of the woods, and they often had interesting features, especially bark. The bark peeling off of the birch trees was of marvelous texture and color.

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Close-up of a knot on a conifer tree.

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One of the things I love about being in nature is that it is so life-affirming. It is the way of nature for life to take hold, even under the most impossible of circumstances. I find this really inspiring and comforting. I loved how, even at the outset of what promises to be a cold, snowy winter, this little sprout is nonetheless faring forth from a tree trimmed of its lower branches.

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At my return, the Nordic Center with Jay Peak in the background. (Click for full-size on LJ.)

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And looking along the mountains that lead up to Jay Peak. I love how they look rumpled and wonder what primordial cataclysm shaped them like this.

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It was relatively warm today (in the mid-20s F! about -4C!) compared to what it's been. When Bobby woke up for his instructor's course yesterday morning, it as 1F/-17C. I know from experience that snowshoeing in even very cold weather--when I went in Breckenridge the one day, it was 10F/-12C--you do not stay cold for long. I was hot and sweaty after my walk today. Back at the lodge, I was glad to divest myself of my coat and dig out the half-bottle of iced tea that I'd kept from lunch. (Then I only drank half anyway to keep part of it for Bobby. I spared the other people in the lodge the divestment of my snowpants and myself in just my leggings.)

Bobby was still snowboarding, so I settled down with my Kindle.

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I am reading Moby Dick at the moment. I have to admit that, former vegetarian and animal rights activist that I am, it is really hard to read some of the whale-killing scenes. And I am no shrinking violet when it comes to violence in stories--just wait till Tamlin is ready to be read!--but animals and children occupy a special category for me where violence and cruelty become difficult to read, in a large part because I'm terribly cognizant of how both of these especially defenseless categories of sentient beings are so often cruelly and unjustly treated.

I downloaded the book years ago because Bobby wanted us to read it together. It's good that we did not; I don't think he'd like it. It'd be too slow for him, I think. I enjoy the actual scenes of the story, but the discursions on naturalism and history of whaling I sometimes skim to get back to the story! (Kind of like the poetry in Tolkien! Ouch!)

Anyway, I'm 68% through according to my Kindle. I'm glad I finally picked it up, and it can occupy me for hours at a time, but I'm going to also be glad to pick up one of the lighter books that I checked out of the library on Saturday.
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