A Million Invisible Choristers

I love the sweet sounds of springtime. Especially the sounds prompted by a good, wet rain. Over the past week, we’ve been blessed with more than 3 inches of rainfall, and a chorus has burst into song out in our stock dam. We hear them at at night, singing heartily with the insects, and even during the day their song is tireless. It is amazing how beautiful the ruckus is when a million frogs start singing.
IMG_7254eBut as beautiful and joyful as the song is from a short distance, up close it is stunningly deafening! I was amazed and delighted. I poked around along the banks of the giant mud puddle searching the tufts of grass and smooth brown water for any sign of the little creatures. Not a one was to be seen. Not the smallest plop or telltale rippling of the warm water. I tossed a pebble or two, trying to disturb one enough to make him hop, but they kept right on singing and paid absolutely no attention to me. I could hear them, mere feet away from me, but I couldn’t catch even a glimpse of them. It baffled me, that creatures so tiny and so invisible could be so utterly deafening.
IMG_7251eOne of my favorite springtime sounds.

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Breathtaken by Aspens

Just behind our cabin and against an old gate grows a stand of slender aspen trees. No one knows why Grandpa planted them against the gate, but that’s where he planted them, and that’s where they’re flourishing. They’re placed just so, so that when seen from the cabin in the morning hours in the summer, the leaves glow and flicker and glint like little green flames. And in the spring when their catkins are blooming, when the morning sunlight catches in the little hairs in just the right way, the aspens and their grey and pink catkins become a pale cloud of silvery, shimmering lights. The effect is breathtaking, startling, and a slightest change in the light breaks the spell.
IMG_4908eHow often that is the case! Something of exquisite beauty cuts us to the soul, and fades as quickly as it appeared. I think that is part of God’s goodness, to show us glimpses of breathtaking beauty, but then, as if to remind us that we aren’t meant for this world, He leaves us with the only memory of it and a desire for more. Perhaps that is one reason I love photography – I can try to capture that memory and hold it dear a little longer, a little nearer, and remember it a little clearer. What delight!

The Hunt for Spring

The hunt began a week ago. I prowled around a certain hilltop about a mile’s hike from my house, a certain spot for pasque flowers. They grew there in abundance last spring, and I just knew I’d find them there again this year. The first two hunts, in spite of the warm weather, turned up nothing. But today, in spite of the snow and fog and freezing temps, turned up tiny, fuzzy, baby pasque flowers. They were nestled in beds of pine needles, almost invisible. I gently untucked them, took a few pictures, and re-tucked them in.  They stood probably about an inch and a half high, or less.
IMG_4158ecIMG_4149eIMG_4129ec“Just one, LORD,” I had prayed, smiling, wading through last years grasses, following deer trails up one hill and another, through clearings and stands of snow-covered juniper and pine to get to my hill. “Let me find just one.”

He let me find four.

 

The First Day of Spring

With snow in the forecast, we welcome the first day of spring!
IMG_4213The glory of springtime is the promise of things to come. The springtime frosts will continue, eventually giving way to the warmth of May and June. The buds begin to leaf out on the trees and the lilac shrubs, poppies and daffodils and tulips push their way above the soil, and beneath the layer of last year’s grass, a new world of green is springing up. Springtime is the season of anticipation – Anticipation of new life, baby creatures in nests and dens, delicate flower life, fresh rain on the earth, new birdsongs, new color to the landscape. We can begin to imagine the fruitful garden we hope to enjoy in the summer, the hopeful harvests of wild fruits, the putting up of produce. We can begin to imagine the heat on our backs, cool dirt between our toes, sunburnt noses, ice-cold tea, picnics, hikes, warm evenings and cool nights. Springtime is a time of promise.
IMG_8716I’m looking forward to prowling around in search of flowers, or stopping in awe at the sight of speckled fawns, or feeling rain on my face and hearing the sound of thunder in the distance. I’m already savoring the longer days, the warmer temperatures, the fragrant mornings.

Winter has left us, but she will return in season. For now, we welcome spring.

Happy March!

The month of springtime is here! After the taste of early spring we had last week and the week before, it was hard to settle back into winter mode – And it still is winter! Once you’ve gotten out the sandals for a few days, and shed the jackets and coats and many layers of wintertime, and hiked without mittens, hats, and scarves, a return to winter is a little daunting. A beautiful snowfall yesterday and last week make my soul sparkle, but there is something exciting about the first day of March. Springtime is just around the corner, bringing new adventures and new scenery and new life and the hunt for the elusive pasque flower.
IMG_3024In the warming days we’ve had, I’ve smelled again the damp earth, the warm fragrance of old leaves carpeting the woods, the perfume of freshness and newness and greenness. I’ve seen the buds on the lilac stems, felt the mosses growing lush in the ravines. Just a hint of what is to come, but it whets the appetite for springtime. I am looking forward to the smell of rain, the longer days, a greener earth.

Spring is coming.

Happy March!

Laura Elizabeth

May Day Blue

Yesterday I mused wistfully that Harney Peak frosted white would have been stunning under a clear blue sky. The drive to church this morning didn’t disappoint! We’ve hardly seen the sun in the last week or so, but this morning it finally decided to come out and wake everything up! Amazingly enough, we had left sufficiently early for church this morning so that we actually had time to pull over on Palmer Creek Road on Hwy 244 so I could snap a few pictures.
IMG_0194Other than on Harney Peak and the rest of the high-elevation hills which were glazed with frost, everything has greened up, refreshed by the rain and snow we’ve had over the last couple of weeks. Over the next few weeks, spring will truly come rushing in!
IMG_0561Twitterpated birds are busy nesting, making a racket in every tree. Goldfinches have gotten their summer plumage and no longer look scruffy, and bluebirds flicker brightly in pastures and from fence post to tree to shrub. Meadowlarks are back to sitting on fence wires, singing their little hearts out – What a life!

This really is a glorious time of the year. What other time of the year can one enjoy the serene beauty of winter and all the fire and life of springtime, all in the same day? And I’m really so glad we live in a world with color.  God didn’t need to create color. But He did.

Laura Elizabeth