Never a Dry Moment

On cool, misty days, low clouds can barely rise above the valley floor. Are they just too lazy or tired to float up above the mountains? Or do they enjoy the feel of the tree tops tickling their bellies?

This time of year there is never a dry moment in the woods, something the mushrooms relish. Everywhere toadstools and mushrooms push their caps above the soft forest floor.

There are so many mushrooms feeding on this log, if I close my eyes and listen, I could probably hear them eating and commenting to each other on how the log tastes.

But every so often, the sun breaks through to remind us that the sky is still blue above the clouds. Spring is coming. Actually this year, it feels like spring is rushing in.

Red Sky at Dawn and Dusk

Winter rains have not washed away the mountains. The forested mountains are still there. On some rainy winter days you wonder if anything will be left when the rains finally lift.

Those are flocks of swans in the pasture, not sheep. Swan Valley would be a fitting, alternative name for Skagit Valley.

Yesterday was notable. It ended as it started, with brilliant pink skies.

More Marvelous Than Fairy Tales

swans in a field

The last few weeks have shown how dangerous believing in fairy tales can be. Not seeing what is real, not accepting it, will lead you far astray. There are many fairy tales about how this wonderful universe came to be. They have their charms, and can soothe. But the truth is still unknown, which makes it more mysterious.

I wonder who appreciates nature more. Those who believe in these creation myths, or those who accept that it has been a long, laborious, excruciatingly difficult trial and error experiment, and that for something as lovely as a swan to exist, took millions upon millions upon millions of years. I am inclined to think that those who realize how much time it took, and how conditions had to be perfectly right, for something as lovely as a swan to exist, appreciate nature more than those who believe in fairy tales of mythical beings waving a magic wand and bringing everything into existence. If it happened that way once, it really doesn’t matter if we destroy it. Some being will just wave a wand and recreate it all.

But when you realize all the steps it took for something as lovely as a swan to fly overhead, and how there are no other places within billions and billions of miles from us where you can watch such magnificent birds glide over you, then you realize how precious they are. What a gift they are, and how horrific it would be to cause them all the vanish.

sun behind the clouds

On Saturday the sun looked like the moon through the clouds. It’s been a very mild winter so far. Some years, the pond is frozen fast this time of year. Not this year. There is still the rest of January and February to go through, so who knows, a cold snap could still bring about a blanket of soft, powdery snow, and hard ice sealing the pond.

Happy and hen in the woods
hen in the woods
sleeping cat

How all of us living beings are made is remarkable. And all the instructions for making something as complex as us, exists in every cell in our body, some 30 trillion cells, 30 trillion copies of our blueprint, in our body. It boggles the mind. And it’s not a fairy tale. It takes over 3 billion base pairs to describe our entire genome. If you would write it down and try to read it all, well good luck reading all that. And yet we have trillions of copies of those instructions in us. When you investigate how things are, you come up with explanations that are far more interesting and marvelous than fairy tales.

Red Dawn

red sky at dawn

This morning’s sky was on fire. It turned the pond into a vermillion pool. What did the ducks think of it? They have very good color vision. Were they dazzled by the brilliant hue on the pond?

ducks swimming in a red pond
duck flapping its wings
ducks waddling out of the pond

Who knows. They seemed more interested in breakfast than the burning sky.

daffodil shoots

I saw a clear sign of spring. Daffodils shooting out of the ground. I don’t know how they do it, but each year they sneak up on me. I never catch them just breaking the surface. By the time I see their shoots, they’re lifting their flower buds high above their shoulders. They are very sneaky flowers.

Is It Still Winter?

blue winter sky

It is still winter? That’s a question you could have asked a few days ago. It’s hard to believe that just a few days ago the sky was this blue. It almost looks like a summer day.

fog rolling inland

Fog rolled inland off the bay, past the Chuckanuts, over Bow Hill, and far up the Samish River Valley.

snow on mount lyman

Fresh snow on Lyman Hill hinted that it is still winter. Today’s heavy rain reminds me that it is still mid January.

Winter Skies

winter sky

Between the steady rains, the sun almost crawls through the winter skies. Almost, but not quite. Bright, golden spells of glimmering gold light appear for a few minutes before the next band of rain rolls in.

winter sky
winter sky

This time of year, the clouds hug the mountains more than not. Some days the clouds reach the ground and hug me. If you don’t mind getting wet, it’s a playful time of year. Clouds are always nearby to play silly games with you.

winter sky

When I was a child, I was told that this was all made in just 6 days. It is much more satisfying to know that it has taken over 4 billion years for this earthly paradise to create this extraordinary, incredible, magical special place for me and you. There is nothing like this paradise we live in for billions and billions of miles around. When you know it’s taken that long for these forests, mountains, and clouds which bring so much joy to become the way they are now, you want to take much more care of it. I don’t want to have to start over from scratch and wait another 4 billion years for this paradise to be made again. Do you?

Happy New Year!

Calendar Cover
Happy New Year!

2021 is here, the world over. It’s already January 2 in some places. Hopefully 2021 will be a year of recovery and by fall we can greet one another in person again.

Calendar January and February pages

Here is a 2021 calendar you can download as a pdf. It is 40 megabytes. Depending on your pdf viewer, you can show a table of contents or bookmarks, or show thumbnails of each of the months.

[sdm_download id=”21588″ fancy=”0″]

For as terrible as 2020 has been, there are some things I will miss as life returns to normal. Here in the Pacific Northwest the clear summer skies stayed blue all day, right until the sun went down. Usually, by mid afternoon, the blue skies turn milky white from all the contrails that slowly spread and blot out the blue. I’ll miss the long, blue skies once the jets are back in the sky.

Takuma on New Years Day

Takuma is greeting the New Year with excitement. His scars from his encounter with the raccoon have healed. The fireworks in the neighborhood last night wore him out. It’s time to rest. I think dogs have it made.