Winter Stomps, Minds Bend

January clouds

Until last Thursday, the 11th, winter seemed far away. Puffy, summery clouds floated above the valley. Spring seemed but a few days away. But winter stomped hard, Thursday night. By Friday morning, bitter cold sent frost heaving out of the ground.

Frost heave

Muddy paths turned as hard as concrete. We saw temperatures as low as 6.8ºF (-14ºC). When it is that cold, when you step aside your face gets slapped hard. What we didn’t have is any snow to soften the brutal cold.

Branch stabbing the ground.

I encountered another branch that strong winds sent flying down to the ground. Another reminder that you don’t go walking in the woods when the wind is blowing. A branch like this stabbing me in the back and piercing my heart and it would be game over. Lights out for me.

Cat's skull

Living in nature can be serene and lovely. But you are constantly facing the meaning of life. That someday this will be you. Nothing more than an empty skull.

In cities death is quickly masked, buried, swept away. Out here, surrounded by woods, what is not eaten, crunched and devoured, remains out in the open, for any passerby to see. A sober reminder that one day this will be you.

The picture above is JAL 4, flying from Tokyo to New York City. And the picture below is Eva Air 052 flying from Taipei to Houston. All day long world travelers slip through the sky above us, often unnoticed. But sometimes curious people like me look up and wonder, where is that plane going?

Not that many years ago it would be very difficult to see a plane in the sky and know where it came from and where it is going. Now it is a few taps on a phone. How long will it be before those in the plane will be able to know who is looking up at them by tapping on their phones?

There could be an app. You point your phone at a plane flying above. It would tell people using the companion app on their phones, who is looking up at them. You could swap left and right to talk with an interesting farmer, UPS driver, curious student on the ground who is watching your plane at that moment. Maybe you could swap your consciouses for five minutes. Then those in the plane could know what it was like on the ground. And those on the ground could know what it was like up in the plane. The apps would measure if the planes were still in view. And the instant the planes slipped out of view, the consciouses would snap back to their original owners.

That would be kind of fun. A trip to the other side of the world would be a conscious swapping adventure with those on the ground. For five to ten minutes at a time, you could experience life in another body in another place just by flying from A to B.

Eva Air 052