In the Space of Just Minutes

Few things in this life can soothe the soul like a sunset. There is something about seeing the sun disappear that tells our anxieties to calm.

We are fortunate here on our little hill to have beautiful skies in the evenings. I have not been venturing out much to see them, being averse to the cold and wind. The colors soon began reflecting into our living room through the glass in our front door though, I stepped out to see the show.

And what a show it was…

In the space of just minutes, the cloudscape began to glow, then smolder and finally it became miles of embers. The colors a reverie for everything to begin to rest.

The thing about a really great sunset is that is that it is just so bigger than we can really grasp; it is more wondrous than our minds can fully understand. When you think in terms of how wide the sky really is, how big and far away the sun exists and the spectrum of colors that our cameras cannot entirely replicate: It’s just more than we can grasp, and so we watch in awe.

As the last light slipped away I was still and soothed.

Standing in the grass of a cold night, I had not remembered the temperature, the dark nor the fact that the entire sunset occurred in mere minutes. Withdrawing from the moment I walked back to the electricity, sound and goings on of our home. And frankly it was a bit disappointing to lose the mesmerizing feeling.

Still holding on to the last lingering calm, I resolve to myself that here is enough overload in life right now. It is important to watch the sunsets when we can. I hope you can catch one where you live too.

Morning Hunt

This morning brought a silent hunter who took a rest in a backyard cottonwood tree. (My best guess on this one with limited viewing of it’s tail is a red-tailed hawk). With feeding small birds and critters come the hunters that learn they can sometimes find a snack at our feeders.

More often than not, the cover our trees provide give the song birds and squirrels the better odds.

Unexpected Guest

We recently found our back yard with a new addition to it that did not realize had been installed. Looking out of our windows, we noticed a large mound of dirt previously not there before. Soon, a distinctive face popped up from behind the dirt: A badger!

When looking straight at the dirt pile, it didn’t seem that large. But when we walked out there once the badger was underground again, we realized the amount of dirt that had been moved was nearly 7-8 feet wide.

Even the neighborhood barn cat (who we affectionately call Winter) was curious and decided to investigate precariously close to the hole.

Soon after these photos were taken, we spotted the badger at night on a game cam we put out in the back with a single baby. Thus, we dubbed the yard infiltrator Bernadette the Badger.

Bernadette is welcome to stay so long as no major damage is done beyond the den she dug to move her baby to. We’ll be keeping a careful eye on the back yard, but so far, she’s bothered no one. As long as we keep the peace, she’s welcome to the space until she moves on in a few weeks most likely.

Missing Home

Like most who have been using smart phones and high speed shutter cameras for several years, I have the equivalent of the junk drawer of photos on my computer. Laptop after laptop, year after year, the “to sort” folder of digital photos has grown regularly. Now and then when I need something mindless to do, I’ll roll up my sleeves and begin sorting the important ones into dated folders and deleting others. There are still thousands to go, undoubtedly.

Occasionally, in doing so, a gem will be seen again that brings me a smile. This one has been on my screen most of today just because of the beautiful day when it was taken and how much I miss the people in it: My parents.

This was a day where my husband and I had flown home to visit my family and see some of the best fall photo spots around town. We had been enjoying a location known for waterfalls and were strolling down the path heading to the next viewing spot. Seeing my mom and dad walking so casually with not a care in the world is something that makes me very happy.

Like most people who live far away from home and have been separated due to travel and health concerns, we’re nearing the point soon where 2nd dose vaccinations mean confidence that coming home through multiple airports will not be quite the risk it once was.

Light is at the end of the tunnel – and it looks very much like this photo.

Clouds On Fire

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This was a photo from last year, just before the pandemic hit. It’s a gorgeous photo with the only editing being to sharpen some detail of the outline of the trees and distant details. The hues of color and fire are entirely from Mother Nature. Who knew the world would change so much just weeks later. But for that evening, it was just another Wyoming feast for the eyes.

Finally, It Has a Name

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This hybrid was a total puzzle as to what it was until I did some online searching and found this beautiful lady to be a Zygotoria Midnight Blue “Cardinal’s Roost”. The blooms emit a scent like a large vase full of roses and the petals stretch approximately three inches across.  The last of the blooms recently fell off of the single stalk this week, but this photo is a beautiful reminder of hopefully more flowering to come.

Thoughts of Autumn

Revisiting autumn memories in Virginia on a Wyoming winter’s day.

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I stumbled across this photograph that always warms my heart when I see it. It was an intentionally random frame of the changing leaves in the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in  Lakeside, Virginia. This treasure chest of cultivated gardens was a place I loved to visit and always returned home refreshed and peaceful.

The garden areas one could stroll quietly were a gem in the rough of daily noise of life. Here there was quiet contemplation and mutual appreciation of the solitude from any other souls found while strolling along paths or on benches.

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” – Stanley Horowitz

On this autumn day, I couldn’t take my gaze away from the trees and leaves. All were on full, glorious display with greens, golds, reds, bronze and every shade in between. There is something special about all the seasons in every region, but autumn back east carries something unique in the  falling leaves and the variations of transitioning seasonal colors. Something wise and very old.

This is what I find myself reflecting on today here in the Wyoming winter among the sharp winds and the cold. I remember standing still with watchful eyes on a winding brick pathway aged with moss. And I can still see in my mind, beyond this photo, the old and well-tended tree branches and woods brimming with autumn secrets and beauty. Hopefully, someday, I’ll have the chance to visit again and see this place now years well past, and enjoy the quiet embrace of this beautiful east coast season again.

Mini Orchids

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I’ve started a hobby of buying discounted orchids after they’ve lost their blooms on store shelves and are no longer deemed attractive. Usually sellers will steeply discount them and leave them to dry out as they can’t afford to care for them for their multi-month resting period vs. displaying more attractive plants in bloom to sell.

This little one is a miniature orchid called Younghome Little Snow. While the leaves may grow slightly, the small stature of the blooms and stalks will stay ever small (per what I’ve read). This one began losing its blooms weeks ago and I elected to snip the stalk when it was down to the last 2 so that it could go ahead and start regenerating leaves and resting. (This was also a discount orchid with a sun burn on one of its leaves).

I’ve kept the stalk in a cup with water and the blooms are still going strong now several  weeks later – very surprising! What makes it even more unique is that these snowy white petals with the slightest hue of pink and yellow are barely bigger than a quarter. It’s such a sweet little plant; petal-perfect in every way 🙂

Quietly Merry and Bright

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This year’s Christmas was a quiet holiday at home due to schedules not lining up for all of our families to come together on the day. The hubs and I still celebrated with Fury the Wonder Cat and even had a brief wave of snow flurries (I don’t know that flurries qualify for a white Christmas but it was still nice). We kept the air of the holidays going with this concoction in the crock pot which helped our home both look and smell merry and bright!

Nighttime Visitor

We had just gotten ready to call it a night yesterday when we saw this fluffy traveller visit our bird feeder last night.

Evidently skunks eat birdseed. I was not aware of this, but, any port in a storm when it snows, I suppose.

Fury was quick to take point by positioning herself at the large bay window to keep watch on the developing situation.

We slept well knowing all was well 😉