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

Couple months later: Wood chips, first glimpse of spring growth:

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!

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

Beautiful early morning sunshine on snow-covered Ponderosas

It has been lightly snowing this morning, with lots of fog, and the cloud cover is thick enough that it's actually quite dark. Then a portion of the cloud cover briefly broke right in front of the rising sun and everything was momentarily bathed in brilliant sparkly brightness, before being quickly cloaked in darkness again.
Wow, I love winter! (There's a bit more about this photo beneath the larger version, which can be accessed by clicking this photo.)

A moment of sparkly brilliance

We had a big snowstorm this past weekend with very wet heavy snow leading to a 24-hour power outage (likely from trees downing power lines). Fortunately, our generator held up just fine, so we stayed warm and our food stayed cold. Then this morning, there were breathtaking post-snowstorm panoramas like this one.

Ponderosas striped with snow on the morning after the snowstorm

Here's another view of what it looked like the morning after.

Another view of the morning after

We had a nice little snowstorm last night, the kind that coats every pine needle and twig. This is the view of the Rocky Mountain Birch right outside the window next to my desk as the morning light filtered through a thin layer of clouds. I tried many times to capture this scene, but could never quite accomplish it; in reality, it was much brighter than this shows. At least this gives a hint of the beauty.

Snowy birch tree

The first Spring Beauties bloomed today alongside fresh wild grasses that have begun poking up. Such a welcome sight after a really long winter!

The day before yesterday, it was sunny and quite warm, the hills were beginning to turn green from the emerging wild grasses, and little wildflowers were popping up all over the place. This morning, it was 12° F, and we awoke to this glorious sight.

April snow shower - 2
April snow shower - 3

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