Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Longer Day

The Winter Solstice has come and gone. Today, the day after, is the day I celebrate. It's the first day that has been longer than the day before ever since the long slide toward Winter began.
We've had dark, chilly, wet days around here for the past week. The snow we had in the valley quickly melted away under a drizzling rain.
Then today the wind picked up from the north and blew the clouds away. As I write the temperature is under freezing for the first time in awhile, and the crescent moon is settling down behind the western ridge while the Dippers and Orion glitter brightly in the frosty sky.
The light is coming back. The long rise toward Spring has begun.
Merry Christmas, indeed.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Flashback: Sixth Grade Camp

Way last Spring, Isaiah and the sixth grade Middle School class went to camp for four days up in the mountains. It goes without saying that he had a blast. His first real taste of freedom.
We went up for a family night. Here he is telling us to get lost until the program is ready to begin.
We mingled and visited with friends whose kids had also avoided them.
Then it was off down the trail to the campfire circle.
It was a great spot, and the fire was fragrant and welcoming. It also provided a little warmth as the evening chilled down. We were fortunate to be there on an unusual year: it was cool but dry. Typically the camp is plagued by soaking spring rains.
It was a real campfire: singing, entertainment, corny skits, and awards. I'll spare you the skits, which took forever to get to the punch line--when there was one, and were full of inside jokes. The kids cracked up and the parents sat there with worried looks on their faces. But here's a taste of the singing, with the counselors leading out.

We were also treated to some entertainment, a one-man band par excellence. I'm sorry that I can't remember his name. I did learn that he's the principal cellist for the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, and comes to the camp every summer to teach music and help in the mess hall.
This is great stuff. I loved it. I think he should quit the orchestra. Judge for yourself.

It wasn't too long ago that out of the blue Jeremiah brought up sixth grade camp. He gets to go come springtime. He can hardly wait.

Warm Puppies, Cold River

A pall of arctic air has settled over the valley. Highs around 20 degrees, lows in the single digits.
That makes it nice to be inside by the fire with the puppies. They're a handful, and even though they aren't my dogs I've ended up doing most of the housebreaking.
More work to do on that.
But ain't they cute? If only they slept more.
Through it all I'm having serious fishing withdrawal. One of the primary reasons I fish is to find space and a semblance of solitude. Those are in short supply around the house, especially since the puppies invaded my territory.
And now the lakes are frozen over, and the river is ice-choked in places.
I took these pictures yesterday in late afternoon. You'll notice the point of view is not mid-river. No, I was on my way home from work, and was way up on the bank where the risk of hypothermia is a little lower.
Should the weather moderate a little I will still entertain the notion of venturing in for another go.
Wouldn't want to be a wimp about this.
Meanwhile, the puppies need me.