Sunday, October 30, 2011

There has always been this saying about New England weather that if you don't like it, wait a while and it will change.

Well yesterday we got 20 inches of snow. The camera battery died after taking this one picture of the bird feeder piled high with snow.

We were out of the area to visit colleges yesterday and the forecast was for the storm to start at night but as we were sitting at 2 eating lunch an hour away from home, the snow just appeared heavy and continued and continued. An hour return trip took 4 hours. Traveling part of the highway that I do every day, coming up into the hills was about the worst I have experienced in 10 years of commuting. Trucks and buses were getting stuck, on the other side of the highway traffic was stuck on hills for miles. The car was skidding so much that the wheels were at a right angle yet I was going straight. Sure did exhaust my winter driving knowledge and experience. The plows were out but just couldn't keep up. Getting close to home the road to Lenox, up a hill of course, was backed up with skidding cars. We turned around to go the back way and got to the final hill a tenth of a mile I got stuck and the smell of burning tires from skidding was in the air. Backing down a bit and getting it into first I was finally able to get to our street and make it in the driveway.

The pellet stove has been really acting up this past week. Soot, soot and more soot. I have cleaned it out, adjusted the settings, changed the fuel, cleaned it out over and over and about fed up with it. Took a break to go out and plow the snow and the snow blower died 10- feet out from the garage and I had to do the driveway by hand. Fortunately it worked last night when my youngest did the first 10 inches. The sun is out and it is starting to melt. Hurray.

So, quite a weekend it has been. Our first taste of winter and I am not sure I am ready for the full meal.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Well it has happened the first snow came last night. A couple of inches which made driving home a treat and since many of the leaves are still on the trees, it caused them to hang quite low. It was in the high 30s-40s today so some of it has lasted especially on the north side of the house..

The weather projection for tomorrow is 5 inches more. We'll wee how the trees handle that.

Added to my excitement over an early winter the pellet stove has chosen to act up.

I am not liking winter this early and this complicated when it is still October/

Monday, October 17, 2011

I have been noticing that except for the last post, which was actually stuck in "draft" status for a few month, my posts have been on the heavier side and my processing some of the craziness and uncertainty around me: A car with a check engine light on and due for inspection that needed repairs at multiple places and also involved arranging for rentals; work has been long and stressful and uncertain; with several community involvements I was also contending with uncertainty and drama and the there is the every day life at home that while nowhere near dramatic, is still hectic. This blog reflected that I was feeling totally "fried".

Recognizing this, on Friday I announced that I was taking today off, the voice mail message was set, the emails would not be answered. Absolutely nothing scheduled in advance and I would get most of my chores done over the weekend and play it by ear.

So that is what I have done. Up at my regular 5:30 there was more time for coffee and reading the on-line papers and a gradual wake-up, an hour and a half for a warm-up and a cool down and a nice 7 mile mile run in the daylight and enjoy the fall colors, some core workouts back home and calmly clearing out some bills with Keith Jarret on in the background and soon off to the post office. A deep tissue massage has been scheduled for 4 and then off to see my youngest whip the other team in a volleyball scrimmage.

The time in the middle giving some space to plan and download podcasts.

Tomorrow is due to be hectic and events that will unfold somewhat uncertain and while one day off doesn't heal months worth of wear, at least I will be in a better frame of mind to be open to what comes along and I also started blocking out some days on the calendar and publishing them on the work calendar as "out".

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A few months back my eldest invited me to go fishing on the Green River in Great Barrington. Not feeling in the mood for fishing but often up for a time with the kids, I grabbed the camera and came along. The sun was beginning to set and this is often a great time of day to catch interesting shadows and colors, though it can be a challenge of it being to dark for my point and shoot camera and we were leaving later than anticipated. .

To get to the spot you park on the side of the road by pastures and follow the narrow but well worn path into the woods and eventually to the river. One of the hidden treasures that the locals know and the passer by just wonders why these cars are parked on the side of the road. Deep inside there is a swimming spot, and the water is cold and excepted for where it has been pooled, the current is pretty quick.

Crossing from side to side, the current proved a challenge as it wanted to float my sandles and through it was only a foot and a half deep at the crossing, the strength of the current was enough to shift the rocks under foot and the trek was made at a long angle

There are very few people out and the deeper we get up stream, there are none.  The splashing sound of the current becomes more faint and the is just the quiet sounds of twilight.

The sunset took on a definite purple shade.

It was a time to just be out there together. Appreciating nature, appreciating company, appreciating summer and of all of these opportunities.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I was having a brief though deep discussion with a friend about faith and spirituality and what happens when facing tough and uncertain times. Getting through those times requires a certain level of optimism and hope.

It suddenly came to me how similar this is to the seasons. It is the optimism and hope and promise of spring that gets us through the dying out and decline that takes place in fall and darkness of winter. The preparations in the fall of clearing out the leaves and the plants of the garden allow for rest make room for new growth and promise. In the dead of winter when the snow is blowing and it is cold and it seems dark so much of the time and when I am sick of hauling I the bags of pellets and cleaning the stove, this is when I find it the harder to be optimistic that spring and warm weather will reappear.

So I was relating this to broader life and what is going on around me. Some people I work with abruptly lost their jobs last week, not due to crisis but in anticipation of reorganizing. Though too abrupt and not well planned and handled as if it were a crisis, which again it was not, it will open the potential for new growth, though there will be a period of winter in between. I seem to be now in winter there, uncertain of what storms are going to hit, what will a reorganization mean and having to deal with the consequences of these abrupt events. I feel a bit buried in the snow.

As we face my youngest going off to college, this too seems like anticipation of fall and of another winter. Several groups I am involved with as a volunteer for many years also seem to approaching an autumn phase. What does that mean?

So as I sit here writing in the dark and it is 6:00AM and I would prefer to be out running in the sunrise, I too am in that uncertain place about what is next, what is coming in the "winter" showing up in so many parts of my life. I can't get use to scheduling a run around the new physical and emotional darkness of all going on and I struggle to find hold that optimism, though from past experience of going through very dark times, I know it is there.