Living – Places: 35

Interviewer: Did you make a lot of money out of your music?
Bob Marley: Money … I mean, how much is a lot of money to you?
Interviewer: Yeah, that's a good question. Have you made, say, millions of dollars?
Bob Marley: No.
Interviewer: Are you a rich man?
Bob Marley: When you mean rich, what you mean?
Interviewer: Do you have a lot of possessions? A lot of money in the bank?
Bob Marley: Possessions make you rich? I don't have that type of richness. My richness is life, forever.
Clip⩘  from the film Marley⩘ , 2012


I usually prefer to take snow photos on mornings after a snowstorm when the skies are blue and the scene is lit by brilliant sun. But when I was out clearing the dry, powdery snow from our driveway this morning in crisp 1° F weather with a light snow falling, I was awed by the silence and the soft atmosphere created by the low clouds hovering just at the hilltops, almost hiding the rising sun and promising more snow to come. I'm so grateful that we are having a cold, snowy winter this year, something we can't count on anymore.

A view of a steep, snow-covered hillside. In the foreground, a couple Ponderosa pine trees with big balls of snow around all of their needle tips are framing the view. Misty clouds hang just over the top of the hill, with the sun a faint glow just above the hilltop.

The sun still managed to impart a soft glow to the east-facing side of the Ponderodas.

A view looking up a tall Ponderosa pine tree covered with snow around all of its needle tips and softly glowing in the cloud-dimmed morning sunlight.

After several snowy, cold, overcast days, with temps dipping below zero at night and hovering in the single digits during the day, the sun is shining in all its glory this morning, lighting up an incredibly beautiful landscape. A welcome visual feast.

A view a day later looking up the same tall Ponderosa pine tree covered with snow around all of its needle tips, but this time glowing intensly in bright early morning sunshine, and framed against a brilliant blue sky.
A day later looking at the steep, snow-covered hillside, this time glowing intensly in bright early morning sunshine, with a brilliant blue sky beyond.

When I first woke up this morning, the thermostat said it was 6° F outside, more snow had fallen overnight, and I was a bit grumpy about needing to shovel snow again, as it was so cold and I was still a little tired and sore from shoveling yesterday.

Then I stepped outside into such an incredibly beautiful early morning: bright sunshine, all the Ponderosa trees wearing a fresh coating of snow, and the snow itself was my favorite kind, dry, light, and dancing with thousands of multi-colored sparkles. It turned the next hour of shoveling into more of a playful treat.

What a gift!

A view looking up a snow-covered hillside glowing in the brilliant noontime sunshine, with snow dappled Ponderosa trees in the distance and deep blue sky beyond. The corner of a garden fence can be seen on the left side, and on the right side, the two tracks of a freshly shoveled drive curve off to the right.
A view looking through snow covered Ponderosa pines at a steep, snow-covered hillside in the distance. The hill is topped by a rocky ridge, and there is a clear, blue sky beyond.

And here's my favorite old log barn with its gambrel roof covered in fresh snow and catching just a bit of the glow of the low winter afternoon sun.

An old barn built of logs with a snow blanketed gambrel roof seen across a snow covered pasture, with a steep hill behind and the winter sun just above the top upper right portion of the photo creating a bright glow in the blue sky.

Two days ago, it warmed up to 58° F. In the late afternoon, the temperature began falling. By nightfall, it was just above freezing and it began misting. Overnight, it plunged to just above zero.

The next morning, we awoke to several inches of dense, granular snow, except for the bottom most layer, which was nearly an inch of frozen mist (I don't know how else to describe it; we didn't so much shovel it as scrape it off).

All day yesterday, it hovered in the single digits and a very fine snow continued to fall, slowly accumulating a few more inches. Overnight, it dropped several degrees below zero.

This morning dawned clear with sunshine lighting up an incredibly beautiful world, though still crispy cold. And I enjoyed pausing for a moment to notice the special way the accumulated mist snow is laying on the Ponderosa boughs, almost like a sugary frosting.

A close view of a grouping of Ponderosa boughs with a very fine, granular snow coating and sitting on top of the needles, looking almost like a sugary frosting.

I've walked along a nearby lane between some cliffs and a creek hundreds of times, yet still often notice things in a fresh way. This morning, I really noticed the cliffs. At some time in the far distant past, this area was a mile beneath the surface of a sea. At some other time, it was covered in glaciers, and as they melted away, their roaring waters carved out this valley and wore away multiple levels of these near vertical redstone cliffs.

It sometimes blows my mind how these cracked and fractured faces with many huge overhangs even stay in place. It actually looks like a good bit of it would come tumbling down if you gave it a good kick at the base … which makes my fingers tingle whenever I think about it.

The near vertical face of a redstone cliff with huge overhanging boulders and black lichen covering much of the face.
The near vertical face of another redstone cliff with massive slabs of overhanging rock.
The near vertical face of another redstone cliff with a massive pointed slab of overhanging rock, like an arrowhead, and a Ponderosa pinetree perched at the edge of the clifftop; this face has more green lichen covering it.
The near vertical face of another redstone cliff further down the way, again with massive slabs of overhanging rock above. This portion of the cliff is a much more orange color as there is very little lichen on it.

And here's a view of one of the cliff faces across the valley.

A view of the cliff face across the valley. A beautiful pair of redtail hawks nests there.

Another moment of really noticing something I have walked by hundreds of times. This grandmother poplar stands among a cluster of younger relatives, her off-white bark glowing in the midday sun and looking particularly beautiful against the deep blue of the clear sky beyond.

A large, old, off-white poplar tree reaching its bare branches up into a clear, blue sky.

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