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Archive for March, 2014

Rock Cycle

Following is my attempt at simplifying the interaction of rock types:

Double click on Rock Cycle

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By Night

I have the occasional ideas in the back of my head of things I’d like to try. I don’t frequently voice them and then only to certain people. So try this one out. Get up at 2:15 AM. Meet before 3 AM and travel to begin a hike before 4 AM. Make it a cold, windy morning on an exceptionally rough trail. Add patches of ice that you didn’t know would be there. Include parts of the ridge that are windswept and the trail runs along the cliff edge. Make it your goal to reach the summit at 4.5 miles at sunrise. That describes the first half of our hike from Boones Fork Parking Area on the Parkway to Grandfather Mountain on Saturday. The two guys that I persuaded to go along agreed that the trail was significantly easier by light of day than by light of headlamp. I had to throw out a full half of the pictures because steadying yourself in 30+ mph wind makes pictures a blur. I got back home before noon and spent the remainder of the day with my wife conversing and pruning the apple trees. It was a wild idea but I’m glad I tried it once.

Windy Time exposure

Windy Time exposure

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Clouds Obscured Horizon Sunrise

Clouds Obscured Horizon Sunrise

Attic Window Peak

Attic Window Peak

Coming off McCrae Peak

Coming off McCrae Peak

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In the Boulder Patch

In the Boulder Patch

McCrae Peak from Attic Window Peak

McCrae Peak from Attic Window Peak

Morning Glow

Morning Glow

The Attic Window

The Attic Window

100_8200

Indian Cave on Ice

Indian Cave on Ice

Hump Mtn "just beyond" the Grandfather Golf Course

Hump Mtn “just beyond” the Grandfather Golf Course

Alpine Meadow Rest

Alpine Meadow Rest

Attic Window Peak from Calloway Peak

Attic Window Peak from Calloway Peak

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If it sounds like whining, so be it. 2014 may well be my year of stress. It just is, so to keep from dwelling on that I won’t itemize. The stating of this fact does explain why I found myself on the yard swing on this balmy, early March day (3/8/14). I needed a few minutes to soak in nature. The amazing part is just how much God showed me in 30 minutes in my suburban backyard. Many of the observations I made will reveal themselves in just a moment but here are some others: wild onions are up; shadows are sharper at their edge now (clear sky, sun angle (near Equinox), low humidity? I don’t know); I still need to clear the remaining leaves that were protectors to snow holding on (insulating it from the ground? insulating it from the UV radiation sublimating it? I don’t know); moist ground; pitch pine trees still have cones up high; at least 3 different kinds of songbirds sounding off and many more numbers chirping; Spring grasses turning green while Summer grasses not close; a squirrel placing a twig in the log pile just under the shed roof (nest initiation? funny place) and another taking twigs off of the roof (got to get ready for those babies); English Ivy tattered after a long winter; Sun quite warm on the back of my neck. Are you still long enough to observe your surroundings? You can learn from nature’s patterns. In “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pa Ingalls stood mouth wide open when he saw the muskrat building his nest thicker than Pa had ever seen. He knew it was a harbinger of a long, hard winter and that all wise critters best take heed. God has put the obvious signs of the Sun, Moon, and stars in the sky, but are the other patterns that mark the passing of the seasons also set there to inform us if we are quiet to hear them and wise to see the patterns? We well observe some of the easier hints of changes of seasons, subtle skirmishes of the uneven heating being re-balanced by fronts and currents, winds aloft and pressure systems, North battling South in a far older and grander way. Past seasons tell me that all we enjoy now on this pleasant day will be soon forgotten by Winter’s last hurrahs before Resurrection Day. Spring and new life sprouting will win out. The curious nature of the skirmish revealed and the pleasant moment quieted my soul enough to be thankful and express my thoughts as follows:

Maple buds bursting in dark blue sky

Framing a first quarter Moon up high

Early evening sun casting warm glow

Spring is come speaks the varied breeze flow

 

Red-tail hawk screams from overhead glide

Snow’s quiet threat at woodpile’s north side

Branches still leafless, grass is still brown

Ending a winter of much renown

 

Robins pace and listen for the worm

Passing to reside for Summer term

Screech owl rasps, the song birds do their best

Spring has won the daffodils attest

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