Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bragging really...

So many bloggers are posting their local fall colors now.
I love that everyone is getting color now (well, except for Lovella for some reason....)
It is wonderful that everyone is sharing what fall has brought to their area.
I want to share too...OK...brag actually.
In an attempt to be humble, I will save the most stupendeous color shots for last.
Last weekend Bernie and I noodled around the local areas to see what the colors were up to.
First stop had a small stream that Bernie wanted to try, while I hiked about ten minutes up the trail above it.
The trail has been used for many reasons over time, and I suspect the Mormons were simply following an old Indian trail or deer trail when they came through in the 1840's.
It does add an extra thrill to the hike imagining how it would have been for a pony express rider pelting along the trail way back when.
I imagine not much has changed over time really.

You need to imagine this scene with the scent of warm fallen leaves and the sounds of the stream running below.

Bernie was having a blast catching enormous trout while I was hiking along. 

Snow capped mountains in the distance are an added plus, view wise.

The trail looks quite lonely, actually runners and bikers were out having a go at the trail too.

Long ago I saw a made for television movie series where the pioneers were traveling through dense forests.  A young girl wandered off the trail just a bit...and was lost forever in the wood.
I could see how this could happen.
It happens quite often around here even today, even with experienced outdoorsmen.

The way the trail heads to the peak...I think that was a navigation point for early trail breakers.

We drove up the imaginatively named "East Canyon", twisting and turning and ohh and ahhing as we went.
Bikers and motorcyclist and folks with convertible cars were really enjoying the scenery.

I never get tired of the puzzle pieced effect of fall colors on a hillside.

Other hillsides look like they have been created via a tabby weave; straight lines of colors spill down as if The Weaver had endless colors to choose from.
This sunny scene was so windy I clung to a pole to take this shot!

Utility wire cleared areas add to the visual complexity of the scene.

A convertible or a motorcyle would be too fast, and a bike would be too hard to pedal.
A walk would be out of the question with the high altitude and narrow roadside.
I have decided that a Segway would be the ideal way to take in this drive!
If only it was would be this photographer's dream come true.

East Canyon spills out into a nearly forestless area.
The brilliant yellows of a few trees and low bushes make for a lovely monochromatic scene.

This car was across the street from the yellow trees.
I had to laugh at the car that seemed placed just to its best advantage colorwise.

As usual, an old tree and a fence makes the picture happen.

A contented black cow no longer awed by the blast of yellow aspens up on the hill above his pasture.

The golden hay in the shed is probably more exciting to this horse than all that far away hillside gold.

Bernie got in some more fishing.

Fall colors are everywhere!

Hunting season is open, and one can never be too careful.
No chance someone is going to be accidently shooting at Bernie's feet with those Crocs on!

I waited and watched from the stile.

When it got dark, Bernie quit fishing and took over my camera.

Do I look happy?
Nothing "glam" in terms of clothes or make-up.
Even my hair is messy.
Yes...this is me at my happiest.
This is exactly how I wanted my life to be, outdoors, comfortable and carefree.

The next morning Bernie flew out...
I had heard Lamb's Canyon's colors were spectacular.
We had hoped to make that drive during our time together, but couldn't quite squeeze it in.
Lamb's is on the way to Park City, a mere fifteen minutes from our house.
Since it is a very narrow canyon with few places to park along the way, I rarely go there for photography.
Judging from what I saw this trip, I had missed some serious photo shooting opportunities before.
Pick a color...any color...

Bernie later told me that people seated by him in the airplane had asked what all the colors were down below.
"Aspen", he told them.
He explained the way that it is in Utah's autumn.
We laughed as the first time I had flown to Colorado from California in October I had wondered the same thing.
Had decided the  colors were fields of California poppies; they had created the only blazing fields I had ever seen up until then.
My friend Gail was the one to introduce me to the truth about fall colors in our area.
Sometimes the fall colors amidst the evergreens look like a fire is blazing away.
You can see that kind of look in the hillsides above the end of the roadway.

This year's colors have lasted longer than I have ever recalled despite the early heavy snows. the higher elevations the showing of colors are drawing to an end.

My car's sun roof served me well to take a shot of an abandoned wasps nest overhead.

There was not place to pull over...I just stopped in the middle of road, glad it was on a straight stretch and took the shot through the roof opening!

That cabin...oh those lucky folks living in that cabin right now!
(The rest of the year I don't think I would find their perch quite so appealing as the canyon is mostly snow right up until late July).
Interior designers harp about the need for black in a room to both ground the space and accent the room's color.
Seeing the glowing colors placed on the black tree structure, I think they have learned a truth from nature.
(Even the white barked aspens have slashes of black that serves to intensify the golden leaves around it).
Fall has come down the mountain now, and is swirling around neighborhood gardens in the valley.
Driving anywhere in town is most difficult; I get so distracted by the huge trees in old neighborhoods that are gleaming against blue skies.
Now red Virginia creepers are tangling elaborately through the trees that don't turn color.
Oh it is a feast for the eyes all around.
How clever of God to make Fall colors reveal themselves in stages.
How sweet is the season that colorfully blasts and lasts right up until the time of Christmas!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall...Winter...then comes Spring

Fall colors here have been the most spectacular that I can ever recall.
It seems most odd to be planting spring bulb now.
How can crocus and daffodils be on my mind when there is autumn all around me? is the time to plant and dream of the future.

My ice pansies will thrive all through the fall and come back in spring, but it is the bulbs that I consider most faithful while planting.
I tuck them in and while there are no immediate clues that something has been added to my garden, I trust and believe that even during the upcoming storms of winter, something is waiting to come forth in spring time, just when the season of darkness seems like it will never end.
I always plant bulbs prayerfully.
I pray that all will be well when the time comes for spring flowers.
I pray that troubling matters both near and far will have by then passed, and that I will remember my prayers for God's blessings and be thankful.

Next April...I envision these flowers will be in fragrant bloom as we race out our front door to meet another kind of first blossom in our lives.

The tiny seedling baby was blueberry sized when we first heard back in July.
Week by week I have marveled as I read about what was being formed in secret.
Ears, fingers, even tiny fingerprints!
The blueberry sized baby grew weekly; web pages let me know the week the baby was kumquat sized, then lemon, now bell pepper.
Changes and more changes came to the baby's form each week.
At thirteen weeks I saw via ultrasound my first grandchild's perfectly formed hand floating in my daughter-in-law's womb, my first glimpse at a baby with at tiny hand cupped around the face like one peering into the distant future.
Fall....with color splendor observed at a distance
Winter...with pristine black and white beauty observed in stillness
then Spring...with color and fragrances best observed up close.
I too am peering into a distant future and with quiet trust am waiting for that what is being created in lives all around me to be found to be safe and blessed come spring.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ever been to Pumpkintown (while feeling punk) ?

Continuing with our South Carolina adventures...
We drove back to Greenville SC on Sunday night.  Bernie had to go to work the next day.
Outside it was warm and rainy.
I felt totally glum, and a tad "off".
I snuggled down into the hotel bed, and began to read the book "Unbroken", which has been on the best seller list for months.  It is the true story of a WWII POW.
Quite a gut wrenching story.
Probably not the best "read" for one who is already feeling inexplicably down.

Outside the window the warm fog and rain offered my mood no respite.
At noon Bernie called for me to come join him for lunch.
I got turned around driving the few short miles there, and he was pretty unhappy by the time I got to his office.
No one with a short lunch break enjoys waiting outside a building in the rain.
We did have the best shrimp and grits ever.
(Harry and Jean's Restaurant: in case you ever visit Greenville...don't miss their version!)
I then returned to the hotel to camp back down deep in our bed's down comforter.

Occasionally I would prowl out to the living area of our suite.
For some reason the door lock system kept refusing my key card and if I left to go to the lobby, eight stories down and then came back to the room, the key swipe wouldn't work.
I'd have to go back down and have them reset the card every time.
Eventually they had a building engineer come up.
He suggested that I wasn't doing the card swipe right.
He is very lucky to still be alive after saying that to me.
I clenched my teeth and suggested HE try the card.
It didn't work for him either, surprise surprise...
He kept swiping and felt that two reads out of eight tries wasn't too bad.
I disagreed.
Eventually they installed a new card reader to our suite.
But that wasn't the only low moment.
Right after lunch with Bernie I got a call letting me know I had been selected for a position with the St*te  of  Ut*h  L*bra*ry  system.
(I am putting * in the words as I do not wish to "found" if you know what I mean....)
I had been looking for a new job, and had applied for the open position which had sounded interesting.
I was shocked when six weeks later I was called for an interview.
The interview had gone well two weeks earlier...I felt that I had nailed it.
I just mentally wasn't in the place to get the news of a new position while in SC.
Especially since I was feeling funky.
And the new job would be both full time and much more challenging.
Anyway, I told the person calling me I needed to think about it before accepting.
She was OK with that...but said they would like me to start ASAP.
I asked if it could be a first of Nov. start date.
She was OK with that too.

So while I was mulling what it would mean to take this job (which believe it or not also required getting a truck driving license...I don't do well with mirrors...)
I got ANOTHER call.
Remember I had written about having a racing heart rhythm back in August/Sept?
I had seen my general practitioner who referred me to a cardiologist, who put me on a monitor for a full month.
(My upper chest area skin may never look the same, the monitor pads left circles everywhere.)
Well, this second call on a rainy unpromising looking Monday was the cardiologist's office.
They wanted to see me IMMEDIATELY.
I explained I was in South Carolina.
They asked if they could see the next day.
That got my attention fast, let me tell you....
Eventually we booked an appointment for the day after we got home, which was to be Friday, five days after this disturbing call.
It kept raining all Monday and Tuesday.  For every moment of bliss I had experienced in Charleston I now was experiencing a nightmare.

What exactly was the problem with my heart?

What would the new position be like, really?
How could I start a new job if there were cardiac issues to address?

Would you be surprised to learn that it wasn't too long before I was mentally and emotionally strung out?

And that then the stress then took on my digestive system?

Being sick in a hotel is NO fun.

By Wednesday I had had enough. 

I took the car and decided I would drive around and eject any troubling "what if?" from my mind for the afternoon.

I bought a map, turned on my cell phone's GPS and headed out to the countryside.

It was a bit sad to realize that fall scenes like this are common just about everywhere.
Where was a scene that was as distinct as the sights of Charleston?

Perhaps the southern red soil was distinctive?

I had decided to head to the town of Travel's Rest, thinking it was a small town.
It actually was a sprawling area, so I took another tactic:
I would take a drive to Pumpkintown.
Nice back roads, pretty scenery, and I had no idea what charms a placed called Pumpkintown might hold.
I felt my hopes rise when I saw the sign...
And then I was at the town's crossroads.
In one corner: A produce stand.

In the caddycorner...a general store.
Now aren't you glad that I went to Pumpkintown so you don't have to?
Really, there wasn't anything else to see.
This was as good as it gets.
From there I checked the map for other "interestingly" named places.
"Table Rock" sounded interesting.
So away I went.

At Table Rock State Park, beauty berries were to be seen in large plantings.
Their leaves had turned golden in the sun; the plants growing in the shade still have deep green leaves.
I thought that was kind of interesting.

A view to Table Rock.
Well, I was not overly impressed.
The state park offered camp sites and cabins. I could imagine camping there and hiking up to Table Rock would be a nice family activity if I lived there.
I glanced at the interpretive materials and still was not impressed. 
(Do you get the sense of how glum I was during this last part of the trip?)

This was near the same area where the movie the Last of the Mohicans was filmed.
I think I might have liked it better if I could of seen Daniel Day Lewis charging through the trees with his long musket in hand.

Someone in the park commented to me that the triangle on the rock face is quite curious, and no one knows who put it there.
I really didn't care.
I still don't.
From there I turned my car towards a place called Pendleton.
Bernie's great, great, great, great, great grandfather Reason settled there in 1790 with his wife Comfort.
Their son Elijah, Bernie's great, great, great, great grandfather was raised there, and left there to enlist in Washington DC to fight in the War of 1812.
Elijah's son James Joseph (JJ) was born in Pendleton.
Elijah died of consumption there in the late 1820's.
JJ was taken as a six year old up to Illinois with his mother and her brothers.
To the best of our knowledge, he never returned, and we only know that Reason continued to live there until the late 1830's when we lost track of him in the census.

My goal in visiting Pendleton:
To photograph buildings that stood during the time that Bernie's family lived in that area.
I parked in front of an old gas station that had been converted into an antique shop.
Since it was quite warm and I was still feeling quite off, I didn't indulge in shopping.

Instead I crossed the street to go over to this building.
Farmers Hall.  The dates were right for Reason to have visited this building.  He was a lawyer but of course would have farmed as well.

I did admire how the town had added fall touches to the area of the town square.
The Pendleton Visitor center was inside the Farmers Hall. I was able to get a handout that would guide me through the area's historical district.
The woman manning the center said they could do some research on my husband's family if I wished. I got an email address and hopefully they will assist me in identifying which bit of area property was owned by our family way back when.
I selected to see only the building that would have been standing between 1790-1840 when Reason's family lived in the area.
Lowther Hall was one such candidate.

Lowther Hall.
Now seriously...would you have guessed this house dated back to 1793 if you didn't have a guide to tell you so?

Of course the massive oak tree in front might have tipped you off that it was a very old piece of property.

Next up...Elam Sharpe House.  Built shortly after the War of 1812.

It had that double stair case to separate the men from the women thing going on.
I would have liked to see what it was like inside.
These houses are private residences and no touring hours were offered.

My favorite house...

Boxwood was my idea of a charming home. 

Another view of Boxwood.
I could picture Reason riding up to this place, maybe standing in front discussing the War of 1812 with the owners...

Reason was born in  31 August 1766 in PG Co. Maryland and was baptised in an Episcopal church.
I do know his wife, Comfort Dedman was from a family with a varying political/religious take on life, and he met and married her in Rowan North Carolina.

Not sure if they were Episcopalian or not while they were in Pendleton.
I do know he and she were not buried at this church.

Kind of too bad that they weren't as it was such a charming old graveyard.

The damp air brightened then clouded over and over again, with the moments of sunlight causing the fall leaves to glow like stained glass windows.

Pecans had been hulled and shelled at one crypt.

I just wandered a bit...wondered if Reason or Elijah or even JJ had ever had to attend a solem occasion here during their lives.
Wondered if they had ever sat in the pews on a fine autumn day and enjoyed seeing the colors glowing outside?
Perhaps someday I will know.
My explorations done, I got back into the car and drove back to the hotel.
We flew home the next day with a stop over in Detroit.
Flying while one's stomach and emotions are churning is pretty crummy.
The next day we saw the cardiologist.
I have what now seems like a rather common (and mostly correctable) heart rhythm problem that will be treated on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
I accepted the new job and will begin work on Halloween (!!!)
How much time I will have to enjoy blogging once I begin work will be much more limited than before.
I hope I will still be able to enjoy reading favorite writers and friends, and post occasionally as well.
My new position will involve me overseeing librarians across the state...I will be traveling to rural areas and hopefully my camera will go with me as I travel.
My life is taking a turn, heading into a new chapter both physically and professionally.
And in other ways as well...

To be continued...