Friday, January 7, 2011


Pine Creek Pass
Transparent Watercolor 14x10 on Arches 140 cold press

Every time I paint a picture with a lot of trees 
I swear I'll never do it again.  
Then there is this beautiful day
--after a rain
--in the spring
--in the mountains 
that I want to remember.  

So how do you get a location 
and the scent of evergreen 
and the feel of mist 
out of your head and on to a flat surface?  
This is the second attempt and is still a disappointment.  
Maybe I set myself up for failure.  
Maybe I should just listen to Joyce Kilmer.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Our choicest plans have fallen through,
Our airiest castles tumbled over,
Because of lines we nearly drew
And later neatly stumbled over.
Piet Hein 

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Just for reference, the Harriman State Park mailbox 
looks like this in the summer.

 It looked like this yesterday.
  Yes, a LOT of feathery, powdery snow had fallen. 

Things were slow at work.
Temperatures weren’t bad, 
and there was no wind. 
So I took the day off and headed for the woods.  
I knew the cross-country trail conditions
wouldn’t be great, but the powder was 
so deep that most of the time 
I couldn’t even see my skis.  
It was kind of like skiing through a bubble bath.

Fluff was stacked in heaps on everything.

This is the back of my mitten.  
Notice how small the snowflakes are.

You can’t tell me in all the ba-jillions of flakes out there—
that there weren’t one or two that were just alike.

The trails were easy to follow, 
even though they hadn’t been groomed for two days.  
However, there was a hazard to be considered.  
At unpredictable, random moments 
the snow would release from the branches 
and come cascading down.  There was no way 
to know when it would dump. 
As I went along I could see 
small avalanches happening all around me.

To give a sample of what it looked like
 I shoved a ski pole into a branch with my camera at the ready.

 It didn’t take much to trigger a demonstration.


The things I do for a photograph.

* * * * * * * 
Dust of Snow
by Robert Frost

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Brace yourself.
The university students have returned from Christmas break.
  Bless their hearts.

Even those who’ve experienced driving in winter conditions seem to have forgotten all after spending a couple of weeks on dry roads.  They hurtle their autos down streets and slide through stop signs.  They miss the curves and end up on the lawn.  There’s nothing worse than seeing a sports car with California plates spinning toward you like a hockey puck.

 The Canadians are the exception. 
 They have the ice driving down.
They spin donuts in the parking lots and think they are
the stars of The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift.

The population of the town doubles overnight.

Often the student arrives with a parent.

 Sometimes the whole family comes along.

 For at least a week our grocery store isles will be clogged with carts
 surrounded by moms, dads and youngsters
 making earth shaking decisions about which box of cereal to buy
---at a speed that makes glaciers look swift. 

If the students are smart they’ll drain dad’s account
 while mom is there with teary eyes.  
Because they know it will be ramen noodles for the rest of the semester.

 Once again our streets will be filled with stunning young ladies
 in fine, if impractical, fashion.  After a few weeks in the 
slush ice, drifts and blowing snow, the fur trimmed high heel boots
 and tight jeans just don’t seem like such a great idea.

 We welcome the students here to try their wings 
 spend money, and add humor and smiles to a dreary time. 

There’s nothing like dragging yourself to Walmart
 in a blizzard for cough syrup and there find roommates
 in Santa hats and big smiles giving each other rides in the shopping carts.
Bless their hearts.

Monday, January 3, 2011


When we leave Tater Pickin' Idaho by way of Interstate 15 
for Turkey Pluckin' Utah in the spring... 

...the highway looks like this.

In the winter the trip is something else.

This is Malad (malad meaning BAD) pass.
Not only is there snow and ice...

...but there are snow plows kicking up powder and lowering visibility.
As much as we appreciate the work they do to clear the way... was a relief to put this big guy in the rear view mirror.

This is another item we like to see behind us.

We travel down into Utah as the eighteen wheelers race up.

In the spring Northern Utah is green and scenic.

In the winter Northern Utah is, well, white and scenic.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with family.  We stayed for 
two days and didn't return until the cows came home.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

JANUS--Gates, Beginnings and Endings

It’s nice to have a new year to work with, especially after one like 2010.  Some people really dear to me graduated to the next level and, although I’m plenty happy to still have time to work on my own game, I’ll sure miss having them around.

New people came into my life…

 …and brought with them joy and a reminder that life goes on.    I made new friends, and enjoyed the companionship and pleasure of other friends and family who tolerate me even though they know me too well.

Yes the year had its losses and challenges, but blessings far outweighed adversity.  And speaking of weight…

 …over the summer I got myself down two sizes... one—pound—of—butter—at—a—time. And I kept almost all of it off over the feast weeks in spite of the chocolate.

I also reached another goal. 

I finally read the Old Testament all the way from Genesis to Malachi.   Okay, I didn’t read every word.  I kind of skimmed over the pages and pages of how to gut and cut up sacrificial animals; and also the chapters containing all the fine details of how to build a temple.  Some of it is SO tragic and some of it is amazing.  Although I’ve studied the Old Testament over the years, it was good to see it through from beginning to end and truly get the big picture.

I wish a great year to all of you.  I hope you accomplish wonderful things and survive both your victories and crashes. 

As for my goals for 2011…I’ll let you know how that goes in about twelve months.