Just after my last post, we had a large ice storm which, sadly, split many large trees down their centers, causing power failures throughout our town. We spent just about 5 days without heat, telephone, or internet. The first two days were rosy and quiet. We read books, played cards, and snuggled together on the couch. After that, the romance wore off and I started to feel cold and isolated. I took a long walk into town to see if maybe the library would be open, or maybe a coffee house where I could check my e-mail. But no. Even the post office was black, and the best thing I got from my hike was exercise. I thought about my ancestors, who bore the cold and dark for the whole of late fall, winter, and early spring. Who never had hot water on tap. Who never had conveniences like a washer and dryer. Whose babies often died from exposure, illness, or hunger. I looked at my soft, easy life, and felt humbled and appreciative. Appreciative for my ancestors' hardiness, and appreciative for the conveniences that I take for granted. I'm glad that we had the storm, even though I'm sad that we lost two trees in our yard. It was a good reminder to me that I have been pampered and fortunate, even when I am feeling sorry for myself.
Snowy Owl, by Barry Troutman
I am including in this post, two spectacular photographs that were taken by a dear friend and photographic advisor, Barry Troutman. Barry has a special affinity for wildlife (and especially bird) photography. We have had the good fortune to experience an unusual influx of Snowy Owls in our region, and Barry went off to "see what his camera could see." When he found the owls, he was dismayed to see that they were quite litterally being mobbed by photographers, who were hoping to get a close shot. Barry, not wanting to participate in stressing the birds, chose a remote location where he could simply sit and watch the birds, and maybe get a far away shot as a souvenier. Not long after he got settled, one of the birds was disturbed from its perch and took flight, traveling right towards Barry. He said he just lifted the camera and started shooting; getting some fabulous captures of the owl in flight. Just look at those huge wings and talons. Amazing!