Wayward winter…

Hello my dear blog readers. As we start to thaw from our winter’s gloom here in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, I thought I would wish the winter farewell with one of my favorite explorations of the last few months. 

There were a few days that ice formed a frozen palace over everything like inside of Yuri’s house in the film Dr. Zhivago.

After chipping the quarter inch deep ice covering off of my car I drove to a rail trail and walked through glistening, glittering trees with plants bent over forming natural ice sculptures on the ground. When the sun shined through everything sparkled. 

Where I grew up there was a shop near our home filled with tiny glass sculptures. A man would sit at his fire torch with goggles on his face and create beautiful, miniature, spun-glass animals, intricate castles, sailing ships and merry-go-rounds. That shop was a wonderland for me and I watched him work as long as possible before being pulled away toward the car and home. This day the trees are glittering like that shop even though it doesn’t come through in a photo—kinda like fireflies. They don’t show up either. Magical to the eye but elusive to the camera. I feel again that little girl’s awe in the glass shop, mesmerized by clear, shimmering winsomeness.

Beautiful and unusual in its impermanence, ice is my reminder to live without regrets because tomorrow it may all be gone. If the pandemic didn’t teach me that, here is another opportunity to brush up my mindfulness. 

It is treacherous walking but I wear my yaktrax over snow boots and stay upright. I look forward to being able to walk outside without looking down so often. I normally enjoy craning my neck up, left and right keeping an eye peeled for new delights but frosty hiking keeps my view down at my feet. I took a few sliding trips to the ground this winter when I got careless or enamored of the view, gratefully without mishap. 

But as cold and slippery as it has been on the trails and as tempting as the mug of tea and blanket on the couch, I have never, and I mean NEVER, been sorry to get out the door and to the wild.

“This invitation to friendship with nature does of course entail a willingness to be alone out there…Indeed the beauty of nature is often the wisest balm for it gently relieves and releases the caged mind.” -John O’Donohue

Caged, such a good word to describe the two year pandemic and this dark winter. I have been getting glimpses of spring with last weekend’s time change and a few days of 50 degree weather. I am longing to flutter my wings out of the cage and get back to some free flying. I hope wherever you are in the world you are finding the cage door opening too.

Midday mushrumps…

It was a memorable moment when I heard a room full of 4th graders giggle as they listened to Prospero from Shakespeare’s The Tempest address the elves that make “midnight mushrumps.” It does sound funny, mushrumps, or mushrooms to the uninitiated. In spite of the sound they are certainly one of those growths that are unusual and mystical to me. They conjure fairies, gnomes and sprites as well as pipe-smoking caterpillars.

Today I saw more mushrumps growing in the wild than I have in my entire life. I took a walk around Benedict Pond, my old friend that has inspired many of my blogs (On Benedict Pond). I don’t usually get to trip around the pond in summertime when I am at my busiest acting and teaching, so I have missed the mushroom extravaganza until now. Continue reading

The gnome and the porcupine…

I see the details. The small pebble, the tiny leaf, the surprise 1.5” gnome some magical person planted along the forest trail. I may not always see the big picture while I’m peering at minutiae, but that’s ok. There are plenty of wide-angle views out there. I have written about this before, but my life is charmed. Things happen to me that cause such heart stopping delight and I seem to get more than my share of these moments.

This week I sauntered upon two. The gnome and the porcupine… Continue reading

Saddle up, it’s going to be a wet, bumpy ride…

As “my” cabbages continue to grow in the woods, my eyes are drawn up to the trees. Maybe it’s because I am listening to The Lord of the Rings audio book and the endearing antics of hobbits in the forest of Fangorn. I’ve always loved trees but I am seeing new identities in the bark and stumps today, a whale, an infinity sign, and many, many images of the letter Y. Interesting to ponder the “Y” or WHY? Continue reading

Of cabbages and kings…

 

I continue on from my previous blog to watch the skunk cabbage transform in the Northeast. It completely changes and opens up it’s thick, protective rubbery skin to release beautiful green leaves. It’s not smelling like skunk yet, so I am awaiting that event with tempered enthusiasm. Continue reading

My own sculpture park…

Hello my friends. It has been over a year since I’ve posted a blog. WHAT? Yes, life got busy, I didn’t feel that I had anything new to say and I worked more and meandered a little less. But here we are in a new era of stay-at-home-for-my-own-good-and-the-rest-of-the-world. Being a director/teacher/actor makes me one of the horde that has been laid off until further notice. So now there is no excuse not to post and write. So we will call this the Meandering of the Mind series since “going out’ can really mean “going in” as John Muir says.

I went out for a solitary walk along a large pond. I marvel that there is always something new to discover. I have never seen the blooming of the skunk cabbage plant and I would not have guessed that they looked like this…

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To see them bursting through the decaying leaves and swampy ground was better than any outdoor sculpture park I’ve seen. I am not a fan of modern, metal monstrosities in my woods, I like my trees and nature unadulterated and these growing skunk cabbages are the perfect illustration of why. You couldn’t ask for a better bit of sculpting to admire, with color, texture and medium perfectly suited to their surroundings. They are quite thick and sturdy right now, and remind me of the protea flowers that I first discovered in Hawaii with an almost woody strength. Continue reading

Beaching it…

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_86c3After a wonderful stop outside Minneapolis, Minnesota to visit family we are back on the road to get to Mackinac Island on Lake Huron. Just about an hour outside of Lake Ham, MN, we finally saw a bear! A darling black bear was crossing the road and after he got across, he turned to look at us and showed us his darling brown snout as if he was posing for a picture. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough to grab my phone. Continue reading

Little bighorn sheep and prairie puppies…

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_86b6Today I decided to get myself to the doctor to check out my ears and dizziness. And as I surmised, I have a myriad of things happening in my ears because of the virus and was prescribed nose spray and anti-nausea meds and more over-the-counter decongestants. But all is well, I am feeling much, much better and glad to have had a doctor take a look just to rule out anything that might hurt my hearing. Continue reading

Lovebug

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In Custer, Wyoming

I’m feeling like a Queen Bee sitting in our luxury room at the Celebrity Hotel, with Herbie the original Lovebug (from Disney movie fame) a few walls away. It has been a super day and I’m feeling extremely lucky. First off we had many belly laughs, so I know I am feeling better. It was a lovely drive to Crazy Horse Monument. Sharing this area with Audrey has been special. She loved Crazy Horse too, and we both like it more than Mount Rushmore, even though it is not going to be finished for a hundred years or more. The non-profit nature of it, the heart behind honoring the Native Americans, plus the shear gumption of one man taking on such a legacy while knowing he would die before seeing it even close to being finished. (read more in my blog from 2012, Lost my heart in the Black Hills…)  But we did see a shaggy mountain goat at Mount Rushmore so that added to the presidential fun. Continue reading

Finesse and wiggle…

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Good bye to Yellowstone

Each day I keep hoping to wake up and feel back to my normal happy, healthy self. We had to move on from Yellowstone, whether I felt up for it or not, we have a large country to cross. So I was up early, feeling not so dizzy or nauseous, but not up to par either. We had a long day of driving and such beautiful scenery and thank goodness we are listening to a great audio book called The Book Thief. And as lousy as I felt, the book was a reminder that my troubles are worthless when compared to the plight of the Jews in WWII. Continue reading