Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sun, Nov 13, 2011: Prairie Day - North Sterling Reservoir and Chalk Bluffs

(There has been a lot going on in my personal life these past few weeks. I don't think I realized how long it had been since I visited my own blog until just a few days ago, when it occurred to me that my prairie pictures were still sitting in my Photos folder, waiting to be edited. The prairie in November is one of my favorite places in the world, I think, and I feel sad for allowing these pictures to remain static for so long. I think they forgive me though, and looking at them now brings back that windy, beautiful day spent traveling across the flat grasslands.)

My inspiration carried me away to North Sterling Reservoir in northeastern Colorado, by way of multiple back roads that shot straight as arrows across the vast flat countryside that makes up about half of Colorado.

These railroad bridges were a pretty common sight, and I loved their randomness, bridging two pieces of flat land within a flat landscape.
Infinite telephone poles, one of my favorite sights in the prairie. :)
I passed this beautiful little home in the middle of a slightly hilly area, and was captured by the beauty of the landscape. Only when I focused on the house with my lens did I realize that it was in a complete state of disrepair, with missing windows like gaped teeth along its facade.
As I drove farther North, a cold wind blew harder against my car, whipping the trees and grasses into a furious dance.
I love seeing the patchwork patterns of the prairie at ground level. There is something amazing about coming to the threshold of a new color of land, and realizing that is what we see when we fly over the midwest.
Hay rolls... another of my prairie favorites.
North Sterling Reservoir was beautiful, abandoned, and cold.
The light brought glory to the earth. That's really the only word I could use to describe it: glory. The clouds traced bold patterns across the sky as the light was shattered by the wind, breaking into a million sparkling shards that twinkled brilliantly as they rose and fell on currents of air.
I love the remains of vibrant summer plants. For some reason, they just say "November" to me.
Especially the remains of sunflowers... still so beautiful, somehow reminiscent of swirling fractals and brilliant silky petals.
I realized as I approached the reservoir that I have been here before, or very close to here, when I visited the Pawnee National Grasslands! I recognized these beautiful white cliffs off in the distance with massive white windmills perched atop their crowns. I hopped into my car and drove toward them, hoping to find some route into their heart.

Crossroads: County Routes 33 and 56. I love the prairie. LOVE it. I feel this land in my heart, like I'm plugged into the earth.
The Chalk Bluffs, from a distance. I still craved a closer view.
I love the look of this carefully combed field, with grass growing nestled in the furrows.
Again, the light: glory.
I headed up to County Route 70, as it looked like it crossed right over the bluffs based on my map. CR 70, you did not disappoint.
One of my favorite things about the prairie is all of the amazing secrets the land holds, if one simply takes the time and effort to find them. I think it takes a lot of patience, determination, and a good dose of intuition, but in the end it's always well worth the effort.
This is the strangest thing I saw on my trip: some metal circle with bullet holes in it? What is it?
The prairie makes me feel brave and strong, it reinforces my independence and fills me with hope and beauty. I love that even during the barren times of the year, the prairie is still so ripe with the promise of life. It can never be contained. Hibernation feels like a choice there, where the land is strong enough to bide her time, waiting for the day when she is watered by the rain and warmed by the sun and ready to ripen once again.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sat, Nov 12, 2011: A Destination

I have a destination in mind. A random, intuitive destination that my mind chose for me as my eyes ran over the lines and curves of a map of Colorado. It feels like it has been a long, long time since I chose to have a journey in this way, and I am filled with the excitement of it. My brain feels clear and sparkling, and I can almost smell what I imagine the air will smell like there.

This feels different than trips that I have taken lately, which all seem to have an ultimate purpose attached to them. I miss taking trips whose sole goal is to plug me in to the earth, to have a sensual experience that wakes up every cell in my body. I miss contemplating the smells of a new place. I miss the way that new rocks and grasses that I have never seen before feel under my feet. I miss being enchanted by the feeling of the wind across my skin, running its fingers through my hair. I miss my eyes being bombarded by clear, clean light and colors.

Lately when I travel, it seems that I am traveling to get away. It feels so refreshing to once again feel the desire to travel for the sake of having an experience. When I try to direct myself and my life where I think we should go, it seems I always just end up getting in my own way and tripping over my own self. When I travel, I try to do as little directing as possible. It's these times when I feel most at harmony with myself and my life and my experiences, and with the universe and the intricate webs of the lives of all the people around me. I could take this trip today if I wanted to, but I'm choosing to hold off until tomorrow because the feeling of anticipation is so delicious....

I feel like I am a pen that I have been banging and scribbling against untouched paper, my ink refusing to flow no matter how hard I try. I'm tired of being banged around. I'm ready to start flowing....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Weds, Nov 2, 2011: Snow and Severus

We had our first snowstorm of the season (even though it was still 2 months away from being winter...) on October 26th.

There is a Siberian Elm tree in the backyard that looks and feels to me like a fairy who decided to be reincarnated as a tree. It's the Fairy Elm and I love it, and she looked even more fairy-like with whisps of snow gently cascading from her branches as gentle breezes blew through her still-leafy crown.
Kaylee LOVES snow.
(She also stinks at finding sticks and tennis balls in the snow!)

These pictures were taken on the 27th, when the clouds had blown far away and the world was saturated with the peace that comes after a storm.
Looks refreshing, no? :)
Two days before, it was 80 degrees out and I regretted wearing long pants rather than shorts. After the storm, it was warm again, but not as warm as before... and I felt sad that our autumn season had been cut short so abruptly.

Today, November 2nd, it snowed again, and something completely unexpected happened: they cancelled school. School is so rarely cancelled in Colorado that I was shocked, and checked like 10 websites just to make sure it was true. We have gotten about 5-6 inches already and it's still snowing as of this writing (9:25am). I think school is rarely cancelled because it's so flat here, and the snow is so fluffy that it usually just blows right off the roads. I'm wondering if the Givers of Snow Days finally realized that not everyone in Colorado has a truck/suv, or if the storm was must worse in the district where I work. Either way, YAY SNOW DAY!!! :)

* * * * *

On the morning of October 30th, at around 10am, I received a gut-punch from the universe that was accompanied by the words "it's time to go out to get a black kitten today". B and I have been talking for a while about getting a boy kitten so that he's not the only male in the house, but it wasn't something we had pursued yet. I had been thinking for a couple of days that it would be amazing to get a black kitten for Halloween, so over the course of the morning convinced B that we should go to the Dumb Friends' League... just to look.

He, of course, knew that we weren't going to "just look". :) When we walked by one room, there was a kitten in there by himself: a little black male kitten who was fast asleep. He was the one. I looked at B and said "Awwww he needs a family... we could name him Severus?"

After walking around and looking at all of the other animals, we went back and adopted him. And named him Severus.
He has a cat cold, so he's being quarantined from the rest of our pets right now, which is kind of nice because he's getting to know us without being bombarded by 4 curious, furry noses in his face.

B said that Severus did an "Accio, parents!" spell on us. I'm glad he wanted to join our family. :)