LIfe at High Altitude in Colorado

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

-Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Random Five

I'm happy to join Nancy at A Rural Journal
for Random Five:

1. March brings amazing skies to Summit County, CO.

2. Skiing is our main activity into April.
Views from the top of the mountain are part of the thrill.

3. Though our yard will be snowcovered through May,
inside, we enjoy a little springtime.

4. I like to think that even when we're past our prime,
the beauty within can still be seen.

5. Our grandson, Sam, teaches us to take time to smell the flowers.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Stress Busters - Our World

Some antidotes for stress:

watch early-morning light leak onto the landscape

allow Nature to fill you with awe

our twin sons (soon 47!) leaving for the ski area

cherish the love of family and friends

seek solitude

be mindful of your blessings

Our World

PS All photos are taken in my backyard, Breckenridge, CO,
except the last which is a tiny cabin I pass on my cross country skis.
I have always loved its peaceful, pristine setting.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Winter Light

Early morning, as our son leaves to ski,
a pale lemony light permeates the forest.

Later, I glide on touring skis past blue shadows and delicate fox tracks.

New snow offers a blank canvas.

There is purity to the moment:
the "whomp" of snow packing
the creak of the skis as I climb
an inhale/exhale of breath
my beating heart

this is my turn-around point today - the Thermometer Tree
the thermometers are old and rusty - no longer accurate
plaques on the tree hold the names of deceased canines
they once roamed these trails with their families
a downed tree arches over the trail
I quickly pass beneath it

There is nothing I need to accomplish.
Muscle memory takes over - the kick and the glide.
I ski past snow-laden trees. 
In solitude, I feel connection.
I move through the blessing of winter light.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Waning Days of February and a Surprise

Can you believe February is soon over?

Bob at sunrise, Copper Mountain  - we were invited by the Summit Foundation and the Resort to ski "First Tracks" an hour before the lifts opened to the public 

We're doing a lot of downhill skiing.

Sometimes our Colorado sky is a bright blue.

Peak 9, Breckenridge Ski Resort

Other days, clouds and wind bring winter storms.

Sunrise from the village at Copper Mountain

Either way, we spend a lot of time playing outdoors. 

On weekends, grandchildren arrive.
The oldest ski while 2 year old Sam entertains us.

Sam likes to play with the old matchbox cars and trucks.
He has a bit of trouble with "r's" - 
he calls me "Mammy" instead of Grammy.

Watching the Gray Jays (he calls them "Gay Jays")
is a favorite pasttime.

Recently, I got a surprise that is brightening my week.

A former student from 20 years ago still sends me gifts.
I'm enjoying a bit of indoor springtime in February.

Did you have a surprise recently?
If so, I hope it made you smile.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Weekend in LoDo, Denver, CO - Our World

Every month or so,
we plan an urban-escape weekend in Denver.
In 90 miles, we descend 5,000' (1,524M)
from our high-altitude, small-town, mountain home
to the semi-arid city landscape.

LoDo from the Millennium Pedestrian Bridge

Denver has 79 neighborhoods.
We had a house for many years
in the residential/small-boutique Cherry Creek Neighborhood.
However, lately, we enjoy exploring
the historic Lower Downtown Neighborhood.

LoDo is trendier and more urban in feel
with its hotels, high rise office buildings, apartments,
bookstores, bars, cafes, and restaurants.

Wax figure diorama in the Tattered Cover Bookstore.
His badge says, "Read banned books. They're your ticket to freedom."

We like the various ethnicities and cultures represented in downtown.

Millennium Pedestrian Bridge

We enjoy the gritty cityscape.

Greenbelt along Platte River

Walking along the urban greenbelt paths or on the sidewalks of downtown,

Train Platform at Union Station

the sculptural nature of the city draws the eye.

 This trip, we stayed on the 7th floor of the historic Hotel Teatro.
I preferred it to the Hotel Oxford where we previously stayed.
The room was spacious and the mattress sleep-inducing.
It was blissfully quiet.

Be on the lookout for me if you're ever in Denver.
I'm the one with the camera attached.

How did you spend your weekend?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Random Thoughts

this and that:

our twin grandchildren, Ben and Amanda, celebrate
their 12th birthdays on Feb 12th
(we partied with them this past weekend)

we're enjoying some spring-like days
we play outdoors in the warmth of bright sunlight
(we're not fooled - there's still plenty of winter left)

our grand dog, Flower, likes to visit us in the mountains
she's a 5 month old Black Lab

the painting behind the chair in our Great Room
depicts 70 highlights of my life
my d-i-l, Michelle, painted it last spring for my 70th birthday

we like watching the sun set over the Ten Mile Range
it adds color to our white world

we'll be in Denver over Valentine weekend
Bob booked a hotel and made dinner reservations
after nearly 49 years of marriage
we still celebrate romance

this is my story
what's yours?

please tell me one good thing that happened to you recently

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Connection or Solitude?

Ben, age 11

With the Grands visiting, our home is filled with
talk and laughter and, yes, some junk food.
Super Bowl Weekend is a good excuse for pizza, burgers, and hot wings.
(Even if you don't watch the game and couldn't care less about it...)

Amanda, age 11

Jack, age 10

There's lots of outdoor play
involving skis and sleds.

Pop Pop with Sam, age 2

By evening, we're ready for the warmth of the fire
and a bit of relaxation.

Today I awake to silence.
It takes me a minute to adjust
(only a minute, mind you)!
It snowed through the night.
Snapping into the cross country skis,
I enter the solitude of the forest.

self-portrait - deep in the forest

only rarely can I quiet the chatter in my brain:

today - alone
hearing my breath
feeling my beating heart
the hush of snowflakes
floating down like a whisper

I'm playing with the photos again.
The first 4 photos were taken with the Olympus E-M1,
the last 2 with the iPhone 6.
I used these apps for editing on my iPad:

Some people feel too connected.
Others feel too solitary.
I'm nourished by a balance of the two.
What about you?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Warm Reprieve in Winter

A soft snow falls tonight in Breckenridge. 

Midweek, I took a day trip to the Front Range.
Within 90 miles, temperatures climbed from below freezing
to 73 F (22 C).

On a hike through Chatfield State Park,
the sun warmed me.
I tied my jacket around my waist.

Hawks glided on air currents.
Geese flew in formation

Streams rippled toward the river.
The dry earth drank from a few lingering patches of snow.

I welcomed a day of warmth and solitude
before returning to white.

Our son and grandchildren arrive tomorrow to ski.
Winter continues in Breckenridge.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Photography and Story

photos tell a story

it may not be the same story for everyone
just as written and spoken words are uniquely interpreted 
depending on individual experiences
photos also convey their personal messages
relying on our interpretations

photos tell stories through angle, color, repetition, and light

when I take certain photos
I'm aware of the story I hope to convey

even abstract images
have emotional and personal appeal
different for each viewer

my writing has evolved to as few words as possible
I use photography to enhance and expand feelings and emotions

Abstract photos usually have a literal reference. The first three blue photos are structural angles inside the Denver Art Museum. The refraction of light on that day and at that moment caused an interesting hue.  The open skylight is part of the outside architecture of the Denver Convention Center. The light on the chair is a window display in an interior design shop. The bear is a tiny replica of the Blue Bear (featured in the last post). I photographed it in our room at the Four Seasons, with the cityscape in the background. I added the birds for dramatic effect.

And that's my story!