Sunday, January 31, 2010

At about 5-5:30 in the morning I am up and moving slowly looking for my first cup of coffee [I am a confirmed coffee-holic], then for a while I just sit in the dark by the window, the light of the flames from the stove make their way around the corners in the other room and create dancign shadows on the wall. Gazing in the sky I can still see stars and an occasional distant airplane. It is quiet.

The light begins to come up around the trees and the hills and it seems a peaceful hand off of night into day.

It is in these moments that I think, I meditate, I send out good thoughts to those I know and love and to folks I know only by name and sometimes just "be". It is my favorite time of the day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I needed a peaceful picture to look at. In the ups and downs of roller coaster life this is an up hill period. So I remembered this photo from when I fed friends' chickens twice a day for a week last summer. In the morning I would bring my coffee, feed the chickens and clean things out and then sit and gaze at this view for a while before packing off to get ready for work. It was warm, the air was hazy and the winds quiet.

I can somewhat track the seasons by the sunrise over the ridge line close to our house. It runs very much north to south on the map and in winter the sunrise is clearly in the southern end and mid summer it moves slightly north of the middle. But today it was very much in the south, which puzzled me. It should be farther north by now. Perhaps it was that there was a break in the clouds several miles south and the clouds to the east were too thick.

As with most places in the east it has rained alot of late. Though when I look out to the backyard there is still a good amount of snow in the way back. We are in a January thaw, gearing up for the longest shortest month of the year and the beginning of mud season.

I no longer do my night commute in total dark, which means the days are getting longer. The days they go so quickly.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Its been over a week since I checked the blog. Much more time than usual and my mind gets that fried feeling that when I think of writing something and in the end I up just zoning out.

Its been a tough couple of weeks on several fronts. Its been cold and very busy in our piece of the Berkshires and I find I am not getting out except for chores and little time for checking in with cyber-folk. The challenges of work and home and in the country and world feel like ever growing masses and have me a little overwhelmed and discouraged. Not a place I haven't been in the past and slowly worked out of but definitely not a good place to be. Needless to say my prayers have been more emphatic and pleading of late.

Last weekend we worked on the computer room, which translates into converting a room that was primarily storage of old books and files and a large computer work station into a more den like room. While I am not a pack rat, I have accumulated old books, family pictures and the computer seems to have its own pile of documentation, disks, printer supplies that seem to just multiply even though its been weeded out many times. Sort of like the mail which seems to be replaced on the pile faster than it can be resolved. I also manage what seems like oceans of information at work, both paper and electronic, and the last thing I want to do on off hours is tackle paperwork. It can be a challenge and source of conflict within the household because it mounts up and then even tackling it piecemeal never seems enough.

But the room does look much better and though far from done, it is improved and more functional. I'll be keeping the trash people busy for weeks moving out the pieces of the workstation little by little.

That is the update from here. Definitely more personal than usual and not too colorful but I am a tenacious optimist.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Movement in the Dark

On my commute home from work the is about 15 seconds when the road dips and rounds a bend and a large wind turbine is right in front of me, gracefully and rhythmically turning in the breezes. At this time of year when I reach that point in my journey it is often dark and all that can be seen is the bright blinking red beacon alerting airplanes. Then quickly I pass and it is hidden again by the woods.

But if you look a little closer you can also see that the light does not always blink in a pattern and there the slightest blur. Both of these are cause by the blades of the turbine that can't be seen but that, when they pass in front of the light, interfere with the blinking pattern and give it that blur.

[no this is not a picture of the turbine as it is difficult to snap a shot so quickly at 70 mph.]

It was on one of these trips home in the dark, having passed the turbine, that I began to think of all that happens in the dark that we don't see and sometimes have to look closely even for a sign.

Living so close to the forest, I am often reminded of this. Noises of animals heard in the night; the road kill that is not longer there in the morning; the sense that something is out in the yard when I go out in the dark for the morning paper; the shadows that disappear when I run in the early hours. All of these are life in the dark hours.

I am someone who likes the dark and is fortunate to have good vision in being able to get around with minimal light. But sometimes even I am a bit unnerved by what I can sense and just barely hear out there, and quite honestly I'd rather not shine a light and be scared for sure.

We think of life as something we can see and something that we observe or we brightly light our paths or houses or public ways, but there is so much out there that can only be picked up by sound and by sense or, like turbine, the slightest change or that we never notice at all.

So what is this picture if it is not the turbine? It isn't anything specific, just a shot in the dark. I just aimed the camera at the moon and this is what came out.

Monday, January 4, 2010

So what do I have in common with this picture? Well I have a new shirt about the color of these tulips and on this first day back to work from vacation I am drooping almost as much as they are. But while they have found their way into the compost, I have retreated to blogland and Farmville. Yes, I dare admit that I have become moderately hooked at Farmville on Facebook. But while many load their farms with buildings and animals and decorations [this really doesn't make sense if you haven't seen it, I know], I have gone for planting just crops that look nice when ripe and have harvested so many that I can now start "buying" trees, so far well over a hundred.[Yes I know this really does sound strange] So in the virtual world of Facebook, I am doing my part in decreasing CO2. How is that for escape!

The past few days have been blistering cold caused primarily by the wind. While it has looked like blizzard conditions and snow is everywhere, there isn't that much of it, maybe a few inches. But it is everywhere.

Reentering work and evening commitments after a vacation, especially when I disconnect completely from emails and voice mail is always tough. But spending time with the family and getting to see a couple of movies and just do nothing but the bare necessary chores has been good for the soul.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A new years run into town

Its been a quiet New Years Day unique in that there is not prep like Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are things to do if you choose and I expect in the more urban part there is much more activity, but here it is pretty dull, which for a couple days a year is ok.

I am trying to start the year off well and went out for a 4 mile run this afternoon with camera in hand. I haven't been able to keep up a good running schedule with the weather and work schedules, so today was a run/walk/photo version. Better than nothing.

Today I decided to run into the center of town. We live a few miles out from the center of Lenox, which is a small town of about 5,000. The downtown is a combination of residential and several inns and shops and the library and town hall and most of the shops are really geared more to the tourists than us local.

On the way into town, the back way as I think of it, because it is mostly small houses and not the route through the historic district. But there is this neat house with a barn tucked away through the trees.

Though out of sequence of my run, this part of town is tree lined and in the historic district with older houses and the manses though upscale are tasteful. As with many roads like this, it doesn't take much distance before the houses thin out and you are deeper in the woods.

Around the town hall, as with most of down town there is not much going on. Traffic is very light and only a few people out walking around. Tourist season is definitely over and most of the folks visiting are in from the cities for respite with an occasional smattering of locals like me.

Circling around on Main Street, the shops and library (brick building with the cupola). The library use to be the county court house when the town was the county seat many years ago. That designation moved to the city of Pittsfield to the north.

As I have mentioned, there are several inns in town. Converted estates from the gilded age or large farmhouses converted and expanded. This one across from the Church on the Hill, is allegedly haunted by a ghost. I stayed there for the night many years back before we moved here and never met this resident. Given I was here for a job interview, that probably was okay.

The church sits high on a hill overlooking the town center and as most old white churches in New England was the center of much activity in earlier days. Though a couple of miles away, I can hear the sound of the clock chimes on a quiet night.

I have mentioned many times that there are hills upon hills. The circular route into town and back is about 4 miles and on a day like today is pleasant. A good stretch of flat mixed with multiple grades of hill. In warmer weather I have run into town to grab bagels for the company and been back home while they are still warm.

and just a short distance out of the town center, across the main highway and nearer to home, the icy stream bubbles away under the road on its way to the river.