Saturday, June 23, 2012

Forest for the trees: Former city girl in nature

The road that leads to where I am going. 

Getting closer now. 

'Tis the season for hiking!

A creek runs through the forest.  

The snowy patches cool the mountain air. Deep breath.


Wild blooming Rhodies love dappled sun and gather under trees. 

P. has not seen snow for several months. Cause for play!

Nose work and forest exploration.

R. tells me this is what an old growth forest should look like. Older, dead and dying trees mixed with the new.  It all works together and acts as food or shelter for the ecosystem throughout. A delicate, yet rugged process of life.  A busy, yet quiet place.  A forest of intricacies. 
A couple more examples.

Thanking the trees for clean air we enjoyed here.
 Under the canopy.


Indian Paintbrush

Crazy, beautiful rock flowers


Where the snow line broke.

Who lives here? Marmot hole?
Care to stick your hand in there and see what bites? 
No thanks.


On the way home, R. stops the car suddenly.  The tires skid and a cloud of dust from the dirt road engulfs the car.  "What is it?" I gasped. 
"I have to get it out of the road so no one runs over it."
We slowly back up and I look in the rear view mirror to try to see what he is talking about. But I don't see anything.
He stops and gets out. I grab my camera and follow.
It's a snake.  R. loves snakes.  I like them too as long as I am not touching them. I know they are beneficial because they eat bugs and I think, slugs.  I also know they are about as afraid of me as I am of them.  Somehow, this relaxes me.
R. shoos the little 2ft long garter guy off the road. It's the first snake I've seen this year. To me, it's a sign of good luck and summer.

True Story!

Thanks for visiting, take care.
Watch the road for little critters.
'Til next time.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Free bedtime stories from a make believe storyteller

Now you lay yourself down to sleep.  What kind of story would you ask the storyteller to tell ?

"Tell me a story about a tree.  Tell me a story about a storyteller.  Tell me a story about being lost and then found.  Tell me a story about why we need to tell and hear stories. Tell me a happy story."

A Story About a Tree

Once there was a tree in the forest  This tree grew up with lots of other trees around it for a long time. The soil below kept it's roots damp and full of life. The other trees offered protection from wind and intense sunlight.
Many birds and wild things would climb on it's branches and some even made their homes inside the shelter of this tree.  It was a quiet and peaceful place.  One day, there was a lot of vibration on the ground from large vehicles.  The trees nearby were being harvested. The tree didn't know that the other trees were gone.  It was exposed to sun.  Wind whipped against it's hard bark. The wildlife left looking elsewhere for a canopy to hide under.  The tree fought to stay alive and strong.  But, it had no choice. One night it slowly began to dig itself out of the dead dry soil. It picked up it's roots and moved into a new forest where there were many trees of different ages.  It planted it's roots in the soft vibrant soil next to a clear running stream and grew bigger and bigger. Now it is the biggest tree in the forest. It helps the young trees stay healthy.  It is still there today.

A Story About a Storyteller

One day a storyteller became a writer.  She wrote about herself and her cat.

On a damp morning, a day of rest awaits. I sip a latte as Lottie gazes wistfully out the window.  She shines from grey window light into soft shades of billowy white fur.  Her marble yellow eyes dart to anything that moves.  A cat of the wild stirs something inside her.
It is quiet in the cabin except for the settling of the fresh log just put in the wood stove.  The forest that surrounds us is dewy, green and still. This is my favorite time of day.  With the ticking of the cuckoo clock, I look around at the items I've acquired over the years.  Beautiful things I've placed strategically around the breakfast nook.  Vintage prints on the wall, a second hand indian tablecloth and handmade lace drapes over a dresser.  A linen peace sign that hangs from the door sill blows through the open airway on gentle spring breeze. A colorful flashback of the 60's seems oddly out of place amongst the rest of the tea stained collectibles. My imagination leads me to consider their former residences.  They have their stories to tell and I would love to listen.

The writer thought about the last sentence. She was now ready to hear the stories of others.

A Story About Being Lost and Then Found

One day a black dog wandered away from home looking for something to do.  She was bored and had nobody to play with her.  She decided she would jump over her fence and explore the world.  After all, she would be home by dinnertime.  But somehow, she got lost.  The noise around her was loud and frightening.  She started to get hungry and didn't know where to go.  She was even lonelier than before.  A nice man who seemed to know her put her in his truck.  She was taken to a building and put in a small area with bars and a high wall.  There was no way to escape.  There was food though, and loud barking around her.  A long time went by and the black dog began to want out.  A nice lady came in and took the dog outside.  The lady adopted the black dog and brought her home.  Now they like to hike together and explore mountain streams.

A Story About Why We Need To Tell and Hear Stories

Once there was a bird who was only interested in his own song.  So much so, that he did not want to hear what the other birds were saying and doing.  He wanted to live his own way and thought his song was the prettiest one.  The other birds took note of this and many did not want to waste their time with someone as selfish as that.  But, a few birds tried harder to win the friendship of the selfish bird.   Because in the bird world, there is alot of communication.  Many birds understand this and entertain one another with stories through song.  They share information about the weather or where the new sprinkler is in the neighborhood.  You know, important stuff.  To them, survival is more important than the prettiest song.
Some birds are wise and have experiences to share.  They know how to recognize clean windows so they don't fly into them.  They know what to do if they are caught by a cat.  They know what is good to eat and how to avoid a sour worm.  The wise birds explain these things to the others and the stories get passed from generation to generation. 
One day, the selfish bird overheard part of an interesting story about a weasel.  He pretended not to listen.  He learned about the ways a weasel could trap a bird by offering a berry and then pouncing on top of it  After awhile the selfish bird went on his way.  A few days later, a weasel asked him to help him find a berry to eat. Selfish bird remembered the story from the other birds.  He got away because he knew what to do.  He decided it was time to tell a true story.

Of course, none of the birds above are selfish birds.

A Happy Story

On this day, the (formerly) selfish bird, the black dog, the writer and the old tree met in the forest for a picnic.  The old tree provided the comfortable shade, the writer brought her pen and paper so she could interview the guests(and yes, Lottie came too), the selfish bird shared a story about how he tricks cats. (Lottie ignored the story by taking a cat nap) and black dog brought along her lady and shared tips to make trail mix for people and dogs and how to properly hug trees.
The weasel who lived in the tree listened from above to make sure no one was talking about him.  A great time was to be had by all....  THE END

A few more happy pictures before we go.....

It's ok if you feel a little out of place...

Show your true colors.....

A.'s morning patrol in the compost bin........

Thanks for visiting, see ya next time!