Sunday, November 17, 2019

Light and Dark

Light and dark are necessary both in photography and in life.

that slash of light on the mountain is a snowcat grooming the ski trail.

The contrast is what makes a photograph and a memory.

Wrapped in wings of light and dark, life takes flight.

full moon at dawn from my house

I am the bird - the wings are mine.

Be present I tell myself.

Allow dark to enhance light and light to enhance dark.

I've been thinking about light and dark because I've been experimenting with night photos.
Bob's phone quit so I gave him my iPhone X, and I bought an 11Pro. I've been having some fun with the phone camera which has a night mode. 

As is my nature, I extrapolate from the specific (the night photos) to the general (living a mindful life).

It amazes me how just a little bit of light can influence a vast darkness.
And how enveloping darkness can create a backdrop to showcase existing light.

Light and dark are my good things both in photography and in life.

Find One Good Thing today - take flight, be present.

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iPhone 11Pro photos edited in Snapseed

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Blanket of White

At high altitude, the change from fall to winter is abrupt.
Several October storms blanket us with snow.
Temperatures drop consistently below freezing.

The trails through the forest are snow-covered.
Evergreens branches bend under the weight of white.

I walk carefully using poles for balance.
Soon there will be enough coverage for touring skis.

My physical therapy appointments are finished, but I have "homework."
Exercises for core strength, flexibility, and balance are a daily routine.
I continue to focus on correct posture.
New habits take the place of old, but mindfulness is necessary.

this bull wears two red ear tags - he's being studied by the forest service

Moose are in rut and roam near the house. 

a cow with twin yearling calves grazes across the street from my house - she's wearing a gps collar
notice how her ruff is raised and her ears are back - she sees me on an upper deck and is in protective mode

When I'm outside, I'm alert.

Bulls skirmish in a quest to win a cow's favor.
I won't stand in the way of love!

I say hello to foxes I see daily.

They stop and wait to see if I'll feed them.
When they don't get a handout, they continue on their way.

A new storm is churning gray clouds over the mountains.

We sit by the fire and wonder:
How can it be winter already?

A warm house is my one good thing today.
I also give thanks for the wildlife that roams so close to my home.

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Adjust and Adapt

We had a snowstorm on October 10.
About 8" (20cm) accumulated, and temperatures plummeted.
I drove to a physical therapy appointment in town while it snowed.
I guess it's time to get back into winter driving mode again!

I want to tell you a bit about what my PT stresses during my sessions.
He takes me through drills and exercises to improve posture, balance, and core strength.

He's corrected my posture so many times that my brain is finally responding.
I'm breaking old, ingrained ways of standing and moving.
I tended to have my head too far back with my chin raised.
My focus needs to be at the top of my head toward the rear.

I think I was overcompensating too much trying not to adopt an old person's stance. 
(That would involve bending the neck forward and looking down at the feet.)
Poor posture has a negative effect on the neck, spine and lower back.
It also doesn't allow for full vision to help with balance.

I must concentrate on pulling up from the top rear of the head to lengthen the spine.
At the same time, I adjust my chin minutely toward the neck.
From this position, I can see directly in front of me without adjusting my head up or down.
Plus, I have full peripheral vision.

Today, I walked my usual 5 miles concentrating on posture.
It was a chilly, blue sky day.
I felt fantastic being outside.

Changing ingrained habits isn't easy.
However, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

I'm grateful for my body's ability to learn and adapt.
Mindfulness is important even in mundane situations.

The photos are of our snowstorm and its aftermath.
Fall is now just a memory at high altitude.

Thank you for visiting.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Leaf Change, Life Change

In October at high altitude, days are crisp and nights go below freezing.
Aspens put on their autumn finery.

Today, Bob and I started at first light to hike the Blue River Trail.

The path meanders along an alpine meadow dressed in fall colors.

Soon, we climb into the cold shade of a spruce and pine forest.

In clearings, the blazing colors of aspens provide visual warmth.

We walk trails strewn with gold.

As the sun continues to rise, the leaves glow with light.

Because we're so early, we're alone in the forest.

We listen to Nature's music:
squirrels chattering, birds chirping, and wind rustling through the trees.

We crunch through fallen leaves.

I hike with a grateful and open heart.

Fall colors are my One Good Thing today.

I'm taking Physical Therapy now 2X a week.
My therapist is working on my flexibility, balance, and core strength.
As you can see from this hike, I'm mobile again - we went 4 miles today.
I carried the Olympus with the zoom lens.
I edit in Snapseed.

Thank you for your healing wishes.
They're helping!

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Sunday, September 22, 2019


Thank you to friends who sent me healing wishes.
It's over 2 weeks since I fell, and my gashes are healed.
My wrist is weak and a little achy but so much better.
My body is still mending from hitting so hard so I'm still a little creaky.
I've begun walking again for exercise - just less distance and more slowly.
I'm also continuing to practice lifting my body without arms/hands from the lower step.
I saw how important core strength is when I fell.

Fall brings change to the high altitude landscape.
Temperatures at night go below freezing.

A skin of ice forms on beaver ponds.

Grasses in forest and meadows turn russet and ochre.

Animals forage and breed.

We saw a cow moose on a recent hike.
She had wandered inside a corral but easily jumped the rails to be on her way. 

The purple gentians are putting on a show.
I saw the first blooms in mid-August.
The saying is that when they bloom it's 6 weeks until snow.

In less than a month from my first gentian sighting, we had our first snow.
Rooftops and high peaks glistened white in sunlight.
It all melted (thank goodness) by afternoon.

When I walk into town, I pause and watch fly fishermen cast in the Blue River.

Aspens leaves are slow to turn, but some gold is appearing.
Autumn is a brief but spectacular season.
We've started our preparations for winter.
It will soon visit us, I'm sure.

Photo of Barb by Helen

I celebrate change today - my One Good Thing.

Thank  you for visiting!
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Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Body's Resilience

On Wednesday, September 4, I started on my daily 5 mile walk.
Within 5 minutes of leaving my front door, I was lying on the road, stunned and bleeding.
I think my foot slipped off the edge of the road.
Whatever the cause, I was thrown hard onto asphalt.

Immediately, I could feel my body going into shock. 
A gash from my elbow toward my right wrist dripped blood.  
I was bleeding from the heels of both hands.
Pain radiated from my left wrist though I could wiggle my fingers.

I had to lie there a minute to take stock.
However, since I was on the road, I needed to rise.
Remember how I've been practicing getting up not using hands or arms?
Luckily, my body responded to that movement.

I tottered the few yards to my front door and called for Bob.
He helped me to the bathroom, where we assessed damage.

The cuts and abrasions really smarted.
They were covered in road dirt.
Bob tried oh so gently to clean them.
I nearly fainted, so we called a timeout to assess other damages.

My wrist hurt, but I could rotate it plus move the fingers.
I decided I needed to concentrate on cleaning the wounds.
I poured tea tree over them and scrubbed with a clean cloth.
I took many deep, wavering breaths but persevered.
The oil in the tea tree loosened the dirt.
I'm happy to say it actually burned less than cold water.
Plus, tea tree is a disinfectant.

By the next morning, my wrist was aching, swollen, and bruised.
We decided I needed an x-ray to make sure there wasn't a break.
I spent Thursday morning in the ER.

Good news and bad news:
No break but a sprain which requires a sturdy brace and weeks to heal.

Each day since, I wake with new aches and pains.
Nothing major is wrong except a 75 year old body complains.
Back, shoulder, ribs have added insult to injury.
I force my body upright and keep it moving.
Movement seems to help the hurt.

Today, I walked the trails but not 5 miles.
I was happy to be outside but glad to return home to rest.

I'm healing slowly but surely.
I've taken tumbles all my life on skis, on bikes, and on hiking trails.
But, at 75, falling takes a toll both emotionally and physically.
I'm careful, but accidents happen.
Now, I must be patient with healing.

My One Good Thing today is my body's resilience.
I'm also happy to have a helpful husband.

Photos are recent but have nothing to do with my fall.

Remember to look for One Good Thing!

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Let There Be Color and Blue Sky!

Summer is slipping away quietly.
Nights inch toward freezing.
Many wildflowers go to seed.

A few late-bloomers still dazzle in meadows and beside trails.

I hike winding paths through alpine meadows into deep old-growth forests.

Always, the mountains stand sentry.

High peaks still glisten white in sunlight. 
Old snow becomes the base for new as winter approaches.

My eyes roam near and far, receiving end of season gifts.

Sometimes, I'm alone in the vast landscape of wilderness.
Other times, family or friends are my companions.
I relax and enjoy my surroundings but remain alert.
Animals are busy preparing dens and gorging for winter.
Moose begin their mating season.
Sometimes, two bulls have an interest in the same cow so tempers flare.
We might see an injured bull limping in search of a mate.
Bears roam even in daylight hours.
They must accumulate fat for the long winter.
Neighbors report bears encounters.

I hug summer tightly, wanting it to remain awhile.
White will come soon enough.
For today, let there be color and blue sky.

Photos are of summer hikes I've taken.
Wildflowers were plentiful.
Days were clear and cool at high altitude.
It is one of the finest summers I've experienced in 30 years.

The beauty of summer is my One Good Thing.
Wherever you are in the world, whatever the season,
look for the beauty that is sure to surround you.

Thank you for visiting.

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