Posts Tagged ‘snow’

Snowstorm – Springtime in the Rockies

March 23, 2016

Wind carving

Fourteen inches of snow fell today in Cheyenne.  The wind was blowing 30 miles an hour.  The wind carves at its own desire.

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Where’d that come from?

February 6, 2016
Hmmm.

Hmmm.

I am departing from my usual high standards today in showing you this pile of … poop.

Why, pray tell, would I do such a thing?

This isn’t just any kind of poop, but rather antelope poop.  The reason it is so special is because it is in the road right in front of our home.  I know it’s antelope poop because antelope have been in the neighborhood, and a group of them were eating the flowers in my neighbors yard.  Plus I know what antelope poop looks like.

This wouldn’t be so unusual except for the fact that I live two blocks from the state capitol in the largest city in Wyoming.  This is a renegade herd that usually spends their time on the confines of FE Warren Air Force Base, a very large encampment with lots of grass and open space, which is just what antelope love.  They have apparently worked their way down here browsing in neighborhood yards along the way.

These are probably the safest antelope in Wyoming. Nobody shoots at them and people watch out for them on the road.  Everybody gets a little excited when they see them near their home or in the road on a side street. Antelope are thick as flies across the state, and seeing them on the plains is really not a big deal.  It’s more surprising when they show up in front of the house.

If you come over to my home, don’t step in the antelope poop.

I’d like to introduce you to Jim

February 2, 2016
Jim

Jim

One of the nice things about this blog is I get to introduce people to friends of mine. Jim is my friend.  Correction – Jim, and his lovely wife Carol, are Sherry’s and my very, very close friends.  It’s convenient that they are our neighbors, too.

Today we had a foot of snow on the ground, and Jim was out about 8:00 running his snow blower.  He and I usually have a race in the morning to see who can get our first to clear a path around the block.  Today it was him.

Jim is a Navy veteran, having been aboard ships during the Korean war.  He and Carol have been married many years, and they have lived in their home nearly 40 years.

He had a long career with the Bureau of Land Management, followed by owning a landscaping business after he retired from the BLM.

Jim is one of my favorite people in the world. He’s a faithful Catholic, a well-read man, a polka lover and an all-around good guy.  And he’s 82 years old.

Glad you can meet Jim.

Snow day

February 1, 2016

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Today pretty much guarantees that no self-respecting groundhog is going to come out of his hidey-hole tomorrow, because he is going to have to climb up through a foot of snow.  We are in the midst of what one might call “seasonal weather” for the high plains.  That means really cold, 30 mph winds and 24 hours of snow.

Here it is the worst weather in a while, and I chose to walk to work today.  It’s not bad, really, as I only have about 5 blocks.  As I was walking, I watched cars struggling to get around, and I congratulated myself on  making the foot-travel decision because it was safer than being on the road.

The Capitol is about halfway between home and the office, and because of construction it is closed these days.  Despite that, it is a grand building and the tallest thing around these parts.  It’s pretty easy to pick out, too, as there aren’t any other gold-domed buildings nearby.

There’s nothing on fire here, just steam coming out the exhaust tubes from the underground heating plant that heats the capitol and the Herschler building, an office building that sits next to the Capitol.  On cold days like today, the steam rises out of the ground as though the earth has opened up to let the smoke from hades itself come to the surface.  Then the Capitol dome, gold against the gray sky, rises out of the ashes and smoke like the Phoenix, in defense of democracy and freedom.

The snow will stop at some point, and somewhere down the road it will warm up again.  Tomorrow the groundhog sleeps in, while I fire up the snow blower and clear the block.

I love living here.

 

The Proper Order

January 28, 2016

 

Shadow ladders

Shadow ladders

I visited a friend in the hospital today.  It was a good visit, because she was there for some serious stuff.  She looked good, even though she had just undergone life-altering surgery that was anything but planned.  When I left her room, I made my way to the elevators and, while waiting, looked out the window to see this street stretch off into the horizon.   As the sun was setting, the cross streets created an open corridor for the last rays of the day’s light to illuminate their paths, while the homes and trees in the blocks in between filled the space with shadows.

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Abandoned and forgotten

 

I left the hospital and walked down the street I had just seen.  A block away from the hospital is a group of homes that no longer have occupants.  As is their wont, hospitals like to acquire property because they grow like nothing else. These homes were in the way, and the owners – a group of investors – wanted to knock them down and sell the land to the hospital.  The homes were considered by some to be historic, and therefore a hue and cry went up up prevent their destruction.  Now they sit empty, and the owners will give them away for the taking, and pay $10,000 towards the moving cost.  In the meantime, the environment is taking its toll. The once beautiful and distinct homes, filled with unique character, are going back to the land.  The paint peels, the wood rots, and soon enough they will be beyond repair and will come down on their own.

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Two dimensions

 

While the paint comes off the wood, the trees show their outlines against the chimney, perhaps in a scene from the future as the only thing left will be the shadows of what once was.  Even brick and mortar give themselves up to the wind, the rain and the cold.  It won’t be long before the shadows will migrate east as their screen disappears.

Light and water

Light and water

And then the snow, the cold, forbidding snow, loses its grip on the roofs and sidewalks as the sun warms it and turns it, drop by drop, into the water that will eventually end up in the Gulf of Mexico.  Today it came down like diamonds falling from the sky.  By Monday, the snow will be back and winter will slap us once again.

My trip to the hospital was quite an adventure.  My friend is resting, recuperating, and we pray for her.  The shadows will come and go again, and the homes will make their way to the land. This is life.  This is the proper order of things.

Rainbow

January 18, 2016

 

Color

Color

The snow melted some today.

There has been snow on the ground in Cheyenne since the middle of December.  For many places where winter is reality, that is not so unusual.  For us, it is.  Most years we’ll get snow and then it melts, or blows away, a few days later.

Today the temperature rose a little, to the point where ice was being replaced by water and people were clearing melting snow off parking lots.

This little bit of color took away some of the gray of winter.  I understand the toxicity of what I was looking at, but I still liked it.

There is still plenty of snow around, but this was a nice respite.

January 13, 2016
Cosmic accident?

Cosmic accident?

I was in the middle of a discussion last night with some of the most literate, well-educated men I have ever met.  We were discussing a book titled The Privileged Planet, a fascinating tale of how an incredible number of things had to come together to provide for all the things required to support carbon based life, aka human beings.

The point of the book, and the man leading this discussion, was that this didn’t all just happen by accident.  Our world, our universe, isn’t simply a random happening. Rather, beginning with the Big Bang and carrying on for the next 13 billion years, the universe continues to expand, and the improbable story of human existence came into being and flourished.

For some reason that I cannot figure out, brilliant men are unable to even acknowledge the possibility that God could have a hand in this, much less that he exists at all.  One of the group called it a “myth,” and then proceeded to tell us that there was just no way that with all that space out there, there simply must be other planets that support carbon life forms similar to humans.

Yet there is no evidence for it.  None.  We can say we just haven’t found it yet, which would be accurate, but it’s also accurate that there is not even a hint at it.  So these bright guys are willing to place their faith in something that has no evidence at all, based upon their conclusion that, due to the sheer size of the universe, there simply must be other planets with life as we know it.

Think about this for a few minutes – there is lot’s of evidence of the existence of God, and there a billions of people who believe in His existence.  There is no evidence whatsoever of life forms on other planets, even after many years and billions of dollars spent looking for it. Given an opportunity to believe in an evidence-based God and no-evidence of extra terrestrial life, they choose the aliens.

Every time I look in the sky and see the wonder and the beauty of creation, I am dumbfounded how others can look at the same sky and fail to see the hand of God in it.  I understand that orange clouds at sunset are functions of light shining through prisms and reflecting off water vapor in clouds, but when we look at them and see beauty, the fact that we see beauty is, in my mind, greater evidence of the existence of God than the orange clouds themselves.

I’m grateful to God for all that he gives me, which is everything I have.  This sunset, between Douglas and Casper, Wyoming, was an awesome gift.

This world an its inhabitants are no accident.

Catching up

January 10, 2016
Here's looking at you

Here’s looking at you

In the beginning of this project, I committed to a picture and a post a day.  I Missed posting yesterday, although I did take a photo.  Today I catch up.

This big fella is on the east side of the Wyoming State Capitol.  I have walked and driven past him hundreds, maybe thousands of times.  Every time I see him, I am awestruck by the reality of the sculpture, to the point where walking up to him, I almost expect him to turn his head to look at me.

I would never do that to the real deal.  Since hunting bison at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming 6 years ago, I have gained a love for this animal that I never thought possible.  I always pictured them as lumbering behemoths who were as challenging to shoot as milk cow.

If that were the case, bison would have been extinct a long time ago.  They are some of the oldest mammals on the earth, and I’m certain they will be here for a long time to come.

The bison is the state animal of Wyoming, and it’s silhouette is on the state flag.  In many ways, it’s deeply symbolic of the people of Wyoming.  The bison is built to withstand the toughest environment – many feet of snow, below zero temperatures for extended periods of time, long winters and food that’s hard to reach.

Wyomingites are built for tough environments as well.  While we can get food in the grocery store and then go home to a heated home, the small numbers of people and an energy based economy that goes up and down like a yo-yo make this a tough place to live.

Like the bison, we just keep getting up each day and going to work, knowing that those before us had it a lot harder than we have it now.

That’s why I like looking at this guy and why I find him inspiring.

 

January 8, 2016
Put a head on it

Put a head on it

The snow returned to Cheyenne last  night, giving us a fresh, new blanket of powder in 15 degree cold.  As I have stated in the past, the wind in southeast Wyoming can have devastating effects on just a few inches of snow, turning it into the stuff of whiteouts and deadly crashes.  Just a little snowfall can turn I-80 into a zone of destruction and terror.

We live as much in town as you can get – just a couple blocks from the capitol building.  Here it’s quite different than on the interstate, or even just on the edges of the city, as the wind does not typically blow and cause all the drifting and  misery so many of our friends must endure. When it snows, it comes straight down, as though you were in the middle of a Hallmark Christmas movie.

I love the snow, and so does Sherry.  This planter is on our front steps, and the frothy head on it is the result of a day’s worth of snow fall.  We actually got a fair amount more than this shows, but it never ceases to amaze me how incredibly beautiful snow can make things.

It’s easy to curse the snow, especially if you have to work or drive in it.  Yet when we go out at night, we get to see things like this that tell us that with all that is not right in the world, here is a little slice of calm.

It’s still coming down, straight down, and it is just glorious!  Thank you God for the snow.

 

Cold up there

January 7, 2016
Winter up High

Winter up High

This is Vedauwoo.

For those of us blessed enough to live here, we know how to pronounce that weird looking word, and it’s not what you might think.

Even though it looks like Vee-daw-woo, if you say that around here people will just smile and nod, which is our way of saying “you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

So here is the secret – it’s Vee-duh-voo.  Not so difficult, but no way to figure that out by looking at it.

Vedauwoo is an amazingly beautiful place.  The rocks look like giant blocks stacked up on each other.  The wind howls all winter with a ferocity and constancy that keeps the trees free of branches on the windward side.  The snow piles up to 6 feet deep in drifts, while a few yards away the sparse grass is visible where the wind has swept it clean.

Winter comes early up here, and it hangs around a long time.  When spring finally makes a little headway in May or June, it is the home to vast, fearsome and bloodthirsty swarms of mosquitoes.

There is plenty of wildlife here as well.  Moose, elk, mule deer, antelope, mountain lions, eagles, hawks and lots more make their homes right where you are looking.

If you like to cross country ski, there are groomed trails on the mountain in the distance.  Plenty of mountain bike trails on that mountain for the warmer days, too.

Vedauwoo is spectacular, and less than 30 minutes from Cheyenne.

As you can see, winter is in full force here, the wind singing it’s constant song that drowns out all other sounds, and the snow keeps piling up.

This is one of my favorite places.  Come and see it sometime.1Z1A0540 1Z1A0530 1Z1A0529 1Z1A0535


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