Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter...

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“Look round and round upon this bare bleak plain, and see even here, upon a winter's day, how beautiful the shadows are! Alas! it is the nature of their kind to be so. The loveliest things in life, Tom, are but shadows; and they come and go, and change and fade away, as rapidly as these!”

~ Charles Dickens

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I've mentioned many times my love for sitting here at my qwerty in the early mornings and watching through the windows the morning's dawning. With the big sky we have here at the farm, sitting in the middle of the valley as we are, we witness some awe inspiring sunrises and sunsets. But for me it is the sunrises... I'm a morning person and I can think of no better way to start my day than waking with my part of the planet. Living out in the desert in southern Oregon had to be my favorite place for day after day sunrise greetings. The quiet in such a broad expanse suits me.

Here in the south Willamette Valley we get our share of fog. Especially as autumn moves into winter we see more and more fog. There are different fogs that form... and I'm a sucker for those low, thick, drifting fogs that ebb and shift and only get 3 feet or so deep, hugging the ground. The next photo is from a couple of weeks ago:



Back in early October we had our first snow in the Cascades.



It surprised me a little... Oct 9 is way early. But our weather here in Oregon can be pretty diverse from year to year. I've lived here long enough to know the stories of the "big snow" back in the '60s (I'll follow up on this with some more specifics). Here in the valley we apparently had 5' - 6' of snow and the storm shut life down for a few days. As I heard the stories (and you'll hear 'em hanging around old farts) it dawned on me that that storm was the one that dumped 20' on Opal Creek when Indian Billy was the only person in camp. 20'!

My first ever snow camping trip was in the Sierras, led by my friend Greg Burke (his photo galleries are linked over in the left column), when we went into the backcountry skiing on a base of about 25'. Phenomenal skiing and fabulous views. With 25' of snow under us there were no rocks, no brush, just big, big trees, snow and sky. Aaah, such good stuff. Of course I'm less a fan of snow now. Its cold, creates extra work and takes more money out of my pocket...

... anyway... that snow in October kind of told me that we were going to have some real winter storms. Then came the rest of October and such great weather! Then came November. One of the warmest and mildest Novembers I remember. There were a couple of good freezes and the cold snaps really made the autumn leaves put on a great show that lasted way longer than normal because the weather was so cooperative.

But now we've had some real winter. Down to 10º here early last week. Snow and ice. The weather almost shut Portland down earlier this week.

Our last good snow storm came overnight and the morning was gorgeous... here are some photos from that morning:











I hope everyone stays safe this winter in the cold climes of the northern hemisphere. Those of you in the southern hemisphere... you're on your own with that warm weather stuff...

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“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

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