Living – Places: 33

If people are laughing, they are learning. True learning is a joy because it is an act of creation. – Tyson Yunkaporta, Sand Talk


We enjoyed a dramatic early year sunset this evening. Our deck and the near yard was in total shadow, the clouds to the northeast were dark and heavy, while in between, the foothills were bathed in the softly bright light of the setting sun.

Dramatic early year sunset

When we first moved here twenty-some years ago, we made a set of pathways that wander around the property so that we can enjoy walking among the trees and wildflowers without trampling all over everything. The pathways are bordered on the downhill side with the lichen rocks that are all over the property (yes, this is the "Rockies"!) and lined with a layer of wood chips. Over the years, we have added many more layers of wood chips as they slowly ground down into fine fibers that have, by now, formed a solid mat to walk on.

During the pandemic, we have been walking these pathways every day, and recently decided to add some new segments to the pathway in order to enjoy a bit more variety in our walks. This time, we laid down a foundation of gravel to level it off (we have a long gravel driveway, so always have a pile of gravel available for repairs). In the spring, we'll have a new truckload of wood chips delivered and will finish the pathways with a nice thick layer of them.

Here's one of the segments we just created, splitting off an existing segment, then winding down and across to join another existing segment. I think my arms must be a couple inches longer from carrying the many heavy buckets of gravel down the hill from the pile, but it was worth it! Now I'm really looking forward to the spring when the fresh wild grasses emerge and the many different wildflowers are blooming alongside the pathways!

New pathway segment winding down the hill - first section
New pathway segment winding down the hill - first section
New pathway segment winding down the hill - first section
New pathway segment winding down the hill - first section

We've been enjoying some unusual weather the last few days: cold temperatures (single digits and teens) and foggy. This morning, a silence blankets everything, the sky is white— at times we can't even see across the valley—and the needles on the Ponderosas have slowly been frosting with freezing mist.

Mist frosted Ponderosa

For me, one of the most beautiful things to experience on Earth is early morning sunshine brightening a fresh blanket of snow!

Beautiful early morning sunshine on snow-covered Ponderosas

Also, a tidbit of news from this morning: 73.2%⩘  of the lower 48 states is currently covered in snow to an average depth of 6″, an 18-year high.

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