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Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's Sunday. That means I'm supposed to have a post up, and I don't, as yet. So I need to write something.  I've been viewing my blogstats with interest lately, trying to figure out who reads this blog, and what brings people to it.  

Read it and laugh, weep, or snort. People are out there Googling "bad owl" and Lord knows what. And that brings them to my blog. Not, I hope, to stay, or comment. I remind myself that many people use the Google for things other than determining the incubation period of a tinamou or the average weight of a rock hyrax.

I remind myself that it's a weird world out there. And then return to my clean little enclave in the Appalachian foothills, because who needs to be reminded what a weird world cyberspace can be, full of creepy people? I much prefer the real world, the one peopled with ones I love and trust.

The thing I'm trying to do, as spring comes on, is to get out in the sunrise. It's easier to do when sunrise is around 7:30, instead of 5! I can put a few thousands steps on the ol' Fitbit that way, too. So when I go for my run in the afternoon, I've got a leg up.

What a Fitbit Charge looks like after 13 months strapped to my wrist. They're gonna need a bigger boat. Fitbit, let me know when you figure out the "durability" thing. Might want to ask what African researchers use on radiocollars for honey badgers.

Chet is not entirely behind this new dawnseeking regime.  He huddles deep under fleece and down and ignores all the usual signals and sounds such as my putting on socks and lacing on hiking boots, the sounds that used to revv his little engine, and waits to be told to get up. I have to uncover him, kiss him on his jellybean nose, and tell him to come with me.

 He is becoming a creature of comforts. I understand, but do not approve, and I don't care how old 11 is in human years. 
In sloth is the path to decay. Get up, little black pup.

We get out before it's really light. You can see by the set of his ears he's wishing he were still under the covers. 

He keeps casting glances back down the driveway, and then lays his ears back and starts for home.
I call him back. None of that nonsense, Chet. Besides. There's no one else up to let you back in. You'd stand there and shiver by the back door and no one would be the wiser. Hyah, Bake! Come on.

I look at the tracks of our fun--the sled tracks Liam and I made when the big snow hit last week. Far to the left of this shot, you can see a single thin track Liam made when, on an impulse, he took the sled down the steepest part of The Bowl yesterday. The snow was melted and slick as snot. He said he was hurtling down, going too fast to bail, and saw a bunch of bushes racing toward him. 

He thought, "Oh, that's good, the shrubbery will break my fall."

That's when Liam found out that every hayfield around here is bordered on all sides by multiflora and black raspberry. No exceptions. He was impaled in a million tiny places, but all right. That's why there's only one track off to the left. 

I gaze upon The Three Graces, Second String. Three tulip trees who've grown up together, and were, for whatever reason, spared the saw. I don't know why farmers sometimes leave these sentinels standing. I'm just glad some of them do. 

The glory of the morning spread over the eastern sky. 

 Bill came out and lent Chet his fleece. It was a warm morning, but the small black dog was shivering dramatically as he longed for a warm bed and a cave of covers. The shivering stopped. Besides. It was 55 degrees!

I don't forget for a moment how lucky I am to be able to walk out my front door and stand under a silent sky to witness these things: enormous clouds that move over in utter silence. I stand beneath the moving sky and wonder how that can be. And remember that water vapor, no matter how spectacularly lit or monumental, makes no noise. Clouds are just water vapor. So how can I love them so? It's all in the way they're lit. It's all about the light, friends. 

Painting and photography is all about light. Not a lot more.

One could do worse than become a collector of sunrises. They're harder to get than sunsets; less likely to be colorful, at least in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Sunsets are easier, but no less magnificent for it.

I post in the Cloud Appreciation Society's Facebook group. I try to use my cloud collector's jargon correctly. All I could come up with for these was "mammatusy fringes." 

This is what was going on just to the west (right) of the above shot.

Riches! Tune into the sky show and you will never be bored. 
There's almost always something good on.


Myself, toes tucked under an afghan, NY Times splayed under the new orange cat, coffee fresh, slanted snow dusting the windows. . .I am delightedly decaying in sloth for a time, rejuvenating after an hour or so's heavy shoveling, readying for the next bout. So, Chet, my empathies. (And thanks for the photos, though I can't quite process that it's 55 degrees; that's Spring!)

I remember when my aging poodle ,after walking with me for many years, decided she had had enough and would only go part way then turn and speed back home.

I miss her so much and cannot have another dog since my husband learned he is allergic to dogs.

Love sunrises and sunsets too.
Have you been able to see the 5 predawn planets yet? I finally got a frosty glimpse after a long string of overcast mornings. It was spectacular.

Posted by Anonymous January 31, 2016 at 11:06 AM

Most definitely NOT a morning person, but this post really makes me want to try to be one.

Love this post and that dog.

The Fitbit is a great example of planned product decay, which means the consumer must continue to consume. It is money in the pocket of the ceo's. I hope the economy starts to take a turn towards durability instead of planned obsolescence.

My birding friend and I have been trending toward getting out later rather than earlier, but tomorrow we are going out early to try to refind a black rail that another friend saw today. Today our sunrise clouds were stunning and we were out to find Yellow-headed Blackbirds wintering at the rice elevators by the rice fields in our county.

As much as I love getting out early to see birds and miss our traffic, I have to say I sympathize with Chet. But you are right Julie, it is good to be out. Doesn't Chet have a coat or two?

Kathy in Delray Beach

Posted by Anonymous January 31, 2016 at 3:29 PM

since I was sick around Christmas and then got a sinus infection (oh joy) I have been letting myself sleep later...I do always put a sweater and/or coat on the dog- he is skinny and 10 yrs old, so I figure I need to baby him a bit. Funny with your fitbit...I routinely got about 20,000 steps in the summer- easily, however winter seems a struggle to get 14,000. It is always darker/colder/ and ug, I am more tired.

If it makes Liam feel better (misery loves company?), a million years ago, learning to ride a bike at my cousin's, I "stopped" myself with a holly bush... ouch ouch ouch.

I have been reading that one must not slow down as one gets older; you use it or you lose it. Once you decide to stop getting down on the floor to exercise... or stop walking up the stairs in lieu of the elevator... or driving instead of walking the two blocks to the drugstore... it won't be very long before you can no longer do these things, even if you want to again. Once you start taking the stairs sideways, in a crab-like fashion, instead of full-on, lifting your knees like a human being, it's a slippery slope into decline. We must keep moving, like sharks, or pay the price with an early decline into decrepitude.

Posted by Anonymous February 1, 2016 at 4:08 AM

WE must keep moving. WE enjoy looking UP at the lighted clouds. WE wear Fitbits & strive for 1000s of steps. Our pets, who generally are happy to accommodate our lifestyles, live by an inner clock undoubtedly set by the light of the sun; they do not wear Fitbits; or set goals for themselves. Perhaps Chet will be more happy to join you once the sun rises at a more reasonable hour. We have an older Australian shepherd mix, who paced constantly every day after dark. Turns out that altho' we are not ready to go to bed at 8 p.m., she is! Now I put her in the darkened bedroom & she goes right to sleep.

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