As was to be expected the cold has gotten my attention. And this coming weekend’s forecast of teens and low 20s will be a wake-up call for all of us. But like I said I want to get out and experience the season and find its charms. Obviously, the weather provides many opportunities to get people and places in very different appearances than any other time of the year.
The holidays get the winter season off to a roaring start. The warmth of family and friends cuts through the season and provides a base for survival. Contact and spirit.
Then the transition from tolerable to intolerable begins in earnest in January. I can hear my friends laughing now at that statement. My desire to venture out into the elements is diminished. My body becomes tense with the chill of getting out of bed in the mornings. Comfort is out of the question with boots, hats, coats, and long pants.
But again, I’m a changed person this year. I started the last week by stepping outside for my break at night. I do that all the time in the other seasons. The still of the night is entertaining and calming at the same time. The quiet compared to the other seasons is quite remarkable.
It’s also amazing what continues to go on regardless of the weather extremes. Deliveries of critical supplies keep coming to stock the shelves at the stores. The garbage continues to be picked up. Power line repairs and other infrastructure work going on. Mail comes, and there is gas at the pumps.
This is a very tough season for those who have to be in the elements. My hat is off to you all. I guess I’ll be joining you for short periods as I try to explore outside in the cold this year. And tomorrow I’ll get a jump on it.
Random Thoughts of the Day
It’s only fitting that I write a post today about the cold when the Green Bay Packers are playing a Monday night game on the Frozen Tundra.
There is only what you are willing to do each day.
When I move my neck some days it sounds like a truck going down a gravel road.
On the good side, I’m loving both of my surgically repaired shoulders. They haven’t felt this good in decades.
Today I learned who wrote “Into each life, some rain must fall” and that was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow from the poem “The Rainy Day”. I was thinking of that line for two reasons. It was raining all Friday night and morning. It’s raining again today. It’s going to rain tomorrow and maybe on Wednesday.
I’m also thinking of some people I’ve been talking to that are fighting cancer. Some holding their own and some not. That is the kind of rain I believe he is speaking of. Something bad and difficult happens to everyone in life. It might not seem like it but that is pretty much the rule I’m thinking.
So I went in search of rain photos I had and I’m woefully out of stock of personal images. The only ones I found that I liked were above at a gas station and below shot of my neighbor’s sunflower patch. So what an opportunity to reverse this limited selection and see what this inspiration and coming days of wetness can bring.
So I got busy thinking of how to illustrate rain. The good old umbrella images I guess. People running with them or rain bouncing off of them. If it were summer I could find a spiderweb with raindrops on it. Maybe droplets in a puddle? Or road spray from cars and trucks. Rain rolling off gutters or running down cars exteriors. Maybe someones pet with a raincoat out for a walk or boots in a puddle.
But these seem so obvious and probably done better than I can so I’m trying to think of something different to represent rain. I’m not sure what it is or if I’ll accomplish it but there will be time to practice it this week it appears. Here is my first shot from this Saturday morning below attempting to do something different. Then again, all of my work seems to have holes in it. Ha Ha.
More Random Thoughts of the Day
I kind of like rain. Don’t get me wrong. I love sunshine and warm temps but I’m not into desert conditions.
I think I hear the grass in the yard starting to wake up.
I’m going to have to write a book of expressions related to trying to stand up or sit down some days.
My new bookcase looks good. Now my goal is to read everything in it.
Yesterday my Daughter and family were on their way to our home when a sheet full of ice flew off the SUV in front of them and crashed through the windshield. Thankfully they weren’t hurt. It was lucky she was in the back seat with the baby because there is where it hit hardest, shattered and caved in the window on the passenger side. My Son in law was hit with glass but is good. Thankfully he maintained control and didn’t crash.
Yes, there is no law in this state (Maryland) that mandates you clean your roof off, but just like masks have the common courtesy for others and clean your car or truck or SUV off before heading out, please. I know it’s a pain in the butt. I know it’s difficult to reach. Stop thinking about it and just make it part of your routine in cleaning the vehicle. I’ve sat here today feeling so blessed that didn’t turn out worse and I will probably think about that for days. Maybe everyone needs to have a loved one’s windshield shattered while driving to get this done. Nah, we’ve already proven there are a lot of people in this world who just don’t give a damn about anyone else but themselves. A nasty and sad element of our society.
Feeling better this fine Sunday so life is good. Of course, that is also true when I’m feeling bad. Like yesterday when I got to see my children but was still in a bit of pain from Friday’s battle with a few inches of frozen tundra. My children and their children are an easy fix for whatever ails me. But what about when I can’t see them and improve my feelings?
I’m doing better at finding those things. The more I do the better I feel. Made them a couple of nice prints and framed them. I started a few other pieces that I need to finish up and give to them and get going on some others. I’ve got a long list of people I’d like to make something for. So I had better get busy and keep at it. Time to do those things are precious so do them right.
Random Thoughts of the Day
I’m really trying to be smarter about eating but knowing now it takes thought and discipline. But it’s a worthwhile goal.
One of my best friends got a new Ford pickup. Now I have a second that can carry my Miata in their truck beds if I need.
I rise too early in the day when I have to work all night.
It feels good to do some reading. I’ve been catching up on some blogs and a book.
I like the days I wake and it just seems like it’s going to be a good day. Mentally refreshed from some good sleep, rising without pain, knowing I don’t have to work today at the job that pays the bills, and having a day with nothing on the schedule except some chores. And after a day of helping watch my granddaughter where I danced, I played, I sang, I teased, I fed, I cleaned and then I picked up. I couldn’t be more relaxed and happy. Nothing like being a kid for a day.
Of course, that cold really makes the thought of stepping outside the front door rather bleak but I can hear my friend now in my ear “embrace the cold” he will utter and chuckle knowing full well how I loath the season of Winter. He also sent me a picture of him firing up his snowblower knowing I have a shovel to use. He is going to get a penalty shot the next time we are together.
What’s going on – You know the Marvin Gaye tune “What’s Going On.” Shoot I might be dating myself. That was released in 1971. Anyway, I was kind of thinking that the song title must be going on inside my granddaughter’s mind. She is a March baby so the first year of her life 2019-20 was pretty normal. The only mask she saw was in the hospital after being born. Since her birth, nobody wore a mask. Then last March of 2020 and you have everyone wearing a mask.
What’s going on must be the thought racing through her mind this last year.
Is it a fashion statement? Is it because they don’t want to kiss me? Where did PaPa’s beard go? Is everyone a bank robber now? Are we playing doctor or nurse? Is this some kind of new Peke a boo game? Did you just go to the dentist? Are we playing Cowboys and Indians and robbing the stagecoach? Did Tic Tak’s go out of business and everyone has bad breath? Are you hiding a Hitler mustache? Are you sticking out your tongue as I do behind that mask and you just don’t want me to see it? Are you eating something and don’t want to share it with me? I don’t like that I can hear you talk but not see your mouth move. I don’t like this game. Can we go back to before land?
Time to Shovel – I can’t complain too loudly, it’s been almost 2 years since any significant snowfall came. Of course, Mother Nature doesn’t believe in letting my back work into a shoveling session with just a few inches. She is going to throw us a major task. As of this morning 4-8 inches on Sunday and then another 4-8 inches on Monday. With that amount of snow and cold, it’s going to need some planning, pacing myself, and preparation.
Option 1 – wait for it all to melt and admire the beauty in it. Never done that except for dustings. But really I have nothing to go out for the next few days. Groceries were got by my better half last night and there is heat in the house so what more could we want for? – But this is the least likely to happen.
Option 2 – wait for it to finish snowing and then do it all at once. This is the hardest option on the body because you have to shovel it as you would dirt. Only what fits on the shovel and you have to throw it. On the good side, you aren’t out while it’s still snowing. It’s when you see the most neighbors doing the same thing. It’s also the most dangerous and hardest I believe. Especially if it does start to melt and get heavy. This is not an option because my back is already bad and I don’t want a heart attack.
Option 3 – Incremental clearing. Anything in the range of 8-16 inches they are predicting, this is mandatory if you are using a shovel. One it allows the snowplow option. I can walk behind and push and only lift and throw a lot less. I also enjoy this method for a few other reasons. If you’re ever outside when it’s snowing hard it’s the most beautiful sound of almost nothing you have ever heard. You can hear it snow and nothing else. Typically you might find yourself the only one out shoveling in the middle of a blizzard. You look left, you look right, nobody in sight. The 60+-year-old body jumps into the snow and does a snow angel. You lay looking at the sky, catching a snowflake on your tongue. You check to make sure you haven’t broken anything, you get up and start snowplow operations again with a smile. I’m thinking of getting my back brace out for more support and I’m going to remember to bend and lift with the knees because they are still strong. So this is my current plan of action.
Option 3 – Wait for a friend who teases me with pictures of his snowblower to come do my driveway. Fat chance, he traded in his nice big pickup for a fancy SUV. That is another 2 shots for him when I see him next.
Option 4 – Wait for the family to come and help. Well when it snows that much here, nobody much moves and not the distance that they would have to travel. I know they would help in a flash if I asked but they have their own homes to worry about. When we get older I’ll wait for them. Till then I’m the mule.
Option 5 – Sit here and blog and pray it rains instead.
Random Thoughts of the Day
Any day you think you have a rough day at work, think about the nurses and doctors seeing people pass each day and the effect of that on them. It kind of makes everything else pale in comparison, doesn’t it?
It always amazes me how fast an hour goes by, and then a week, and then a month, and so on.
Sometimes I think we are our own worst enemy.
The more I sort through what is important, the thing that comes up most is memories. Old ones and creating new ones.
It was a long night of work. I saw the clouds had moved in and I contemplated just hitting the sack for some zzz’s. I almost said the hell with it. But then I thought, I’ll take a short drive even if there isn’t a good sunrise.
I take a few steps out of my door and wham. A beautiful rainbow. And for a few seconds a double. What a way to start the day. It only lasted a few minutes and I was lucky to grab these before a neighbor saw me and I didn’t want to be rude so I chatted for a bit. But only after a few minutes it was gone.
Photos by Mike Hartley
I did take that ride and it was fun. It’s nice when you can go down the country roads early in the mornings instead of the major highways in and out of the city.
Random Thoughts of the Morning
Time to call an old friend today.
Today was a good reminder to get that camera in my hands.
If it’s raining when I open my eyes in a few hours I’m going back to sleep. Unless I smell bacon cooking.
Ah, the first hint of snow for the season this morning. I like the sound of it hitting the trees. Must be cool because all the paved surfaces are covered. Very pretty actually when it was coming down. I wonder if I can reach down this year and capture some of that joy I had when I was young when it would snow. I hope so, because my attitude towards it hasn’t been that kind as I’ve aged.
I guess it happened when I traded in a sled for a car. So instead of making a path with my feet to the highest elevation, I shovel and then go skidding around for many miles with many dangerous people. Kind of makes that huge hill we went down, that you had to crash off your sled fast at the bottom to prevent going into a creek as a youth seem kind of safe.
Well its nothing really, not even a dusting. Not a real good snow. Those are yet to come I’m sure. I’m hoping I can look forward to the season with more of that youthful anticipation.
I was digging around an old box and ran across these B&W images (hey, I was a teenager and couldn’t always afford color film) and realized it was 40 years ago that these were taken. That was a bad year. Huge impact on the area and economy with hurricane Agnes. Things didn’t get back to normal for many months and in some cases years for some homes and businesses. One of the worst/costliest storms that I can remember. And it was the rain that wouldn’t stop. I know I have more and if I remember I think I did shoot a roll of color. Now where did I put that?
Flooded Main Street Ellicott City from Agnes. Photo by Mike Hartley
And the crowds came to see what nature can do. Photo by Mike Hartley
Water eye view of water where it shouldn’t be. Photo by Mike Hartley
Lakefront bell tower, nobody was swimming out to ring that. Photo by Mike Hartley
Lake Kittamaqundi reaching out of its banks. Photo by Mike Hartley
Wilde Lake had a new falls. Photo by Mike Hartley
29 south along South Entrance Road. Photo by Mike Hartley
Surfing on Southbound Rt 29. Photo by Mike Hartley
South Entrance with Columbia Tennis barn in the background if I remember correctly. Photo by Mike Hartley
Line on Rt 29 south trying to inch past Columbia. Photo by Mike Hartley
The Homoco gas station off Rt 1 in Laurel. I think those are new cars floating also from the Dodge dealer. Photo by Mike Hartley
Entrance road to Laurel Racetrack. Photo by Mike Hartley
And here I thought it was all water under the bridge. Photo by Mike Hartley
At the PG HoCo line on southbound Rt 1. Photo by Mike Hartley
Random Thoughts for Sunday July 26th 2015
I hope I can share many more Sundays like this one with my children.
I’ve got a good bit of sleep to make up for on Monday.
I can tell losing another 10-15 lbs is going to be a fight.
I have to learn to embrace this season. It is far from one of my favorites. And as a famous quote goes (My Favorite Winter Activity, is going back INSIDE). It’s like a monochrome season. I dread travel in it and I hate being cold and the body aches that come with it. But this season will be different in one way. My daughter was pretty insistent that I get a snow blower. Hell, I’m not even 60 yet and they think I need more power tools. But given the demise of one of our best friends this past winter it’s the SMART move. Don’t be too proud to admit that you’re not the young person you once were. And even if you are young, take it easy with the shoveling this winter.
Took these on Rt 15 north of Frederick MD on my way to see my daughter who was in college at the time.