Lessons on Winter

Its been a cold week here in New Hampshire. Our Winter as a whole has been warm, with little snow. Yet last week the season made its hard entrance. Temperatures plummeted, before quietly sliding into the negatives. The sun went down, and it became dangerously cold. As the darkness settled down around us, the wind kicked up, screeching as it rattled the the window. It was the kind of night when you bundle up under the covers and wait till morning.

The weekend was not much better, and I spent it inside. I love winter, yet this weekend, if you went outside in a matter of moments your face would ache. I was trying to nurse a cold, and I knew that it would be better to stay inside. I love skiing, and being outside, and my weekend felt empty, yet I knew it was the right call. Now that I have a seasons pass it doesn’t hurt to skip a weekend. I can ere on the side of caution, because there are always other days. I spent the weekend reading, wrapped up in a blanket, while my Boxer laid idly across my lap.

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The days were defined by bright sunny days and pale blue skies. The mornings are deceivingly beautiful, yet they threaten to take the air right from your lungs. The robins sing cheerfully, like it is a warm summer morning. You can be fooled as you listen to them warble, that is until you step outside.

The nights were clear, a deep blue blanket scattered with stars. The moon steadily gaining once again. It hangs like a pale yellow sliver in the sky. These are the deep blue nights of February. I like to get outside and enjoy it, once this arctic front melts away. There is something unique about Winter nights. Something about the deep blue of the sky. The bitter cold makes the stars twinkle brighter. The hard edges to the season define its beauty, creating an image that is hard to turn away from. I love bundling up and heading outside. Turning off the lights and gazing up into the majesty of universe.

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Nothing is like Winter. There is a quiet beauty, that most people miss. Our society has taken an attitude of negativity when it comes to short days of Winter. People lament about the sunshine and cold temperatures cursing Nature. Yet don’t the cold long nights of winter make us love those long sunny days? I just consider it another magnificent part of this life, and I let go and enjoy it.

Waning Seasons of Change.

Rainy Days. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Rainy Days.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

It was a dreary day here in New England. The Rainy was coming down, the temperatures have not reached out of the fifties. The air has a chill to it, and I am happy that I had the sense to grab a sweater on my way out this morning. Its was a cold wet afternoon with drizzling rains. I feel the light Drizzle cling to my face as I take a break outside. The sky is dreary and a light fog saunters through the trees, adding a mysterious quality to all that surrounds me. Its the kind of afternoon that reminds me of Maine. If I close my eyes, I can pretend that I am at Quoddy, surrounded by fog, listening to the tide slam into the rocks. There is nothing more refreshing than the crisp air at the edge of the Atlantic.I wish I could go back up there if only for a little while.

Fog at the light. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Fog at the light.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

Even on a quiet rainy day I can’t help find incredible moments. Rainy days have a cozy quality to them, and they make me want to sit down and write.

It is Wednesday, and another week is flying by. It has always struck me as funny how fast time seems to pass you by. Its pace seems to quicken as you get older, and moments pass you by in vivid flickers. That is part of why I enjoy writing. It gives me the chance to take in everything from my hectic days. It also gives me the ability to look back and enjoy what I have have missed. I am happy with my life, my only regret is that my busy schedule only gives me a brief time to write. Yet that is the way of things. Responsibilities have to come first. My life has been a blur of planning and doing lately.

Tree. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Tree.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

Writing has been delegated to tiny moments here and there. The time change has made it so that I can only do my photography on the weekends now. I wish I could write longer pieces, yet like seems to get in the way. I always find time to write, even if it is just a few moments. It continues to give me an incredible amount of joy. I am thankful because I do have time to work towards my goal of becoming a writer. This afternoon, I cannot wait to get home to write a scene that I thought of last night. I still have that fire. It serves to show me that no matter what I will always be a writer.

Grey Skies of November

The air has a bite to it tonight. The skies are dark as we prepare for rain coming in from the west. As I make my way out from work, my mind drifts to the changing seasons. I have always found the cold air against my skin refreshing. The landscape has changed so much within the last few week, that to a visitor it would be unrecognizable.

Moonrise. Photo By Colleen Ann

Moonrise.
Photo By Colleen Ann

The trees are bare and the gray muted sky reminds me of cold nights. Fall is waning, and we speed towards Winter. The days grow increasingly shorter. In the mornings the pale sunlight comes over the horizon. Soon we will be have deep cold nights full of stars.

I don’t complain if I can help it. Life is too short. I want to sped my time doing what I love. I enjoy quiet places where I can take pictures, and move around undisturbed. Like taking a stroll through a Cemetery to take pictures. They are quiet places, with an incredible amount of beauty. Many people avoid them due to their relationship to death. Yet Death is part of life. It is just part of the greater picture. Once you come to terms with that you are able to truly understand the value of your existence. So much of our experience is shaped by our attitude,

Against he Sunset. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Against he Sunset.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

I never saw my life here, yet as I look back I am thankful. I have been through so much, yet I am stronger than I have ever been. The struggles have made me thankful for what I have. I see life through a different lens due to my circumstance. I am incredibly thankful for what I have, and would not take back on of my experiences for a moment. Everything that I have faced has shaped the individual I have become.

Little Novembers

The trees are bare as we continue our march towards Winter.  The snowbirds are beginning to leave, and many people are outwardly complaining about the coming weather. I welcome this time of year with open arms. It is just another stop on the wider journey. The colors have faded away, the brown  folded leaves of the oaks are the only that remain. The naked branches reach towards the pale sky in a lonely manner that has always captivated me.  Everything is turning inward on itself, preparing for
the long winter ahead. The landscape seems to fade, yet it takes on a new stoic beauty.

Old Tracks. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Old Tracks.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

We had fog earlier in the week. It was burning off as I drove to work, and I beheld an incredible landscape. The sun peaked through where it has burned off, hitting the rolling hills below. The landscape glowed, as patches of blue sky became evident above us. Our landscape in New England is old, yet incredible. Every corner of this region has new things to behold. It reminds me how lucky I am to live in such an incredible place. It influences me, and drives me to write. The landscape feeds my soul. The bare November landscape hold secrets all her own.

Over the Water. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Over the Water.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

Now that life has settled down some, I look forward to more writing.  My weeks have been so structured, that by the time I get around to writing, it is too late. I wait until my mind is lagging towards sleep, and that is never a great time to share ideas. I have felt guilty, yet knew that taking a break was important. Being secured in my job gives me the peace of mind to be able to write, and for that I am thankful. The last six months has been a new experience. At times it has been incredibly hard,  yet I have arrived at a place where I feel better.

Bring on the Snow.

The Little Things On North Pack.

Yesterday was a beautiful day in the Monadnock Region, and we finally got out on a hike. We chose to hike North Pack Monadnock, a mountain that is located close to our home. We left shortly before noon taking Teds Trail to Carolyn Trail. I have been up the mountain numerous times, but this route was new to me. It is a place that few people know about, and because of this it has remained a special place. The entire time we were hiking we saw two people. Its one of the main reasons why we like staying close to home. The crowds are absent, and you get the same type of incredible scenery. Sometimes it is nice to get out into a quiet place that has been not been discovered.

Wapack. Peterborough NH. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Wapack.
Peterborough NH.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

The Monadnock Region is lucky to be blessed with many great hiking trails. Home to several large tracts of conservation land, the region has many trails and places for contemplation. Many of these smaller peaks are tucked away, and do not become overused.  It is so quiet that you can hear the rhythmic ringing of the bell at the sheep farmers place down the hill. Yet in places you can see the stone walls that hold the secrets of our past.  In many places we could only see where the trail went by the Yellow Blazes.

Yellow Blazes. Peterborough NH. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Yellow Blazes.
Peterborough NH.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

It was a beautiful afternoon. It was warm, yet the humidity that had hung in the air for much of the Summer was absent. The sun streamed down, hitting the forest floor in splotches. It was a great day to be alive. It is these simple things that you will remember years from now when everything else has faded.

Lone Blueberry. Peterborough NH. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Lone Blueberry.
Peterborough NH.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

Old Stump. Peterborough NH. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Old Stump.
Peterborough NH.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

These quiet untouched places have always called to me. We followed the trail through the woods until we passed into the Wapack National Wildlife Refuge. The woods are so incredibly quiet up there. The trees grow tall, and there is a special quality about the place. Frequent stops were made to gaze at the trees, or interesting features along the way. Here and there we would see signs of Moose, or smaller game. You could hear birds signing, or squirrels calling out. Tiny frogs would cross our path, disappearing as soon as we saw them.

The Journey. Peterborough NH. Photo By Colleen Ann.

The Journey.
Peterborough NH.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

It just reminded me, it is all about the journey.

The Quiet approach of Fall

Its August now. The Summer is waning, and signs are everywhere. Slowly the days are becoming shorter, though most people try to ignore this. The apples in the local orchard are almost ready. They sit high in the trees, the red blush just starting to show on their surfaces. Even the Oaks and Maples are readying for the coming Fall.  In some trees, there are small splashes of color, a sign the tree has cut the limb off, trying to streamline its food production. It is only weeks now until the Swamp Maples go. Their brilliant reds and oranges signifying the true opening of Fall.

As a native, I have been able to recognize these signs for years. There are tiny subtle things that are often overlooked. Yet every year they come, without fail. There are so many beautiful things this time of year. New England is such a special place to watch the seasons change. It is not a sudden change. It is a slow, drawn out process, but most folks only see the finale.

The End of Fall. Greenfield, NH. Photo By Colleen Ann.

The End of Fall.
Greenfield, NH.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

Yet Summer is not over. Mother Nature continues to produce warm and sunny days. Unlike other Summers, there has only been a handful of rainy days. Humidity hangs in the air as the temperatures continue to rise. The trees are a deep green, and all over the state the wildflowers are in bloom. I have been off work since April, and consider myself incredibly lucky to have such a Summer.

Long Days of Summer. Albany NH. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Long Days of Summer.
Albany NH.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

It has been such an eventful time for us all. Within a few short months my life has entirely changed.  There were moments of discovery and adventure. I know what I want to do with my career too. I discovered the open road, and hope to have more opportunities to travel. Going to Colorado lit a fire within in me.  Yet in the same turn, it renewed my love for New Hampshire. There have been life changes and moments of deep sadness as well. Deep moments of loss. Weeks of muddling through. Yet we have done our best to overcome it. We move on slowly, the ground getting surer under our feet each day.

In Bloom. Lamoine Maine. Photo by Colleen Ann

In Bloom.
Lamoine Maine.
Photo by Colleen Ann

We are getting close to a crossroad. We enjoy Summer, but Fall quietly approaches.

The Meaning of Life at Deering Reservoir

“I wish I could go outside and enjoy the nice weather” The secretary said wistfully.

Fishing the Boat. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Fishing the Boat.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

I tired as hard as I could but I couldn’t help as a small smile crept to my face. While the office was beautiful, painted and modern, there was no sun to be seen. I thanked them quietly before grabbing my stuff and heading outside.

I have the luxury of not being stuck in an office, and I am taking full advantage of it. This time of year I cannot bear to be inside.  This Spring I am lucky to have some time off. It is a little more that was originally expected, but I am taking in stride.  I am enjoying not being confined to a corporate box, and I have ample time to write.

Picnic Area Photo By Colleen Ann.

Picnic Area
Photo By Colleen Ann.

Monday we were lucky enough to be graced with temps in the low 80’s. My boyfriend and I decided to go out to Deering Reservoir and enjoy the beautiful weather on his 12 foot boat. There is nothing better than being out of the water on a warm day. Especially on a Monday when you have the world to yourself.  I like people, but there is something to be said about going out on a Monday and being able to enjoy life in a quiet beautiful way.

So we floated around the lake, below the bright blue sky dotted with pure white clouds. The slight breeze kept the bugs away, as the sun shone bright off the clear water. We saw Loons fishing, and near the shore a dozen painted turtles plopped into the water one by one. In the water, there were discarded buds and shells of leaves. The bugs and shed their protective coating. The leaves were growing, expanding in the bright afternoon sun. All around us the world  was beginning to live again.

Back of the Lake. Photo By Colleen Ann.

Back of the Lake.
Photo By Colleen Ann.

He fished, as I sat and wrote, and our old Boxer slept. All the while I looked around me, and couldn’t help but think about how grateful I was to be alive in this moment.