Living – Places: 30

"Only in growth, reform, and change—paradoxically enough—is true security to be found."
– Anne Lindbergh


Yesterday, we were graced by the beginning of the first snowfall of the new year. I took this in the afternoon after the first couple of inches of very light, fluffy stuff had fallen and there was a lull in the storm. Overnight another 11″ fell, only this time it was a fine, dense powder. Our world is a magical wonderland today.

First snow of the new year nestled on pine needles

One of my favorite moments in life is the morning after a big snowfall when the first rays of sunshine come up over the ridge to the east of us and light up the freshly fallen snow on our ponderosas.

Snow on the boughs of ponderosas brighly lit by the morning sun

One thing I love in the springtime is the graceful contrast between pale hues of the dried plant growth from the previous season, like this milkweed pod husk, and the freshly minted green of the newly emerging grasses.

Dried milkweed pod husk against a background of fresh spring grasses

After a day that gifted us with nearly 2" of wonderful rain, today dawned bright and sunny, and warm but not too hot. I took a walk and came across my favorite spring flower, salsify.

Bright yellow salsify flower

And here's a salsify seed head some days later:

Salsify seed head

Wow! Spring was unfolding fully, grasses and flowers popping up, leaves unfolding, songbirds migrating through, and then we were walloped with a wonderful snowstorm. Even though the temperature was hovering just above freezing, the snow piled up over the course of 24 hours to more than a foot of the densely wet kind. Up in the mountain communities, they received several feet. Then the sun came out the next day and it all started rapidly melting away.

I came across this view two days later when I was driving home after a morning appointment. No more snow down here, but Mount Meeker was still fully blanketed. So beautiful! I rushed home to get Garima and my camera and drove back out to this viewpoint to show her and snap some photos.

Mt Meeker after a snowstorm

I really love springtime. Today, we were cheered on our walk by lots of Gaillardia blooming along the way; they are sunshine personified.

Gaillardia in full glorious bloom

Here's a more mature Gaillardia seed head a few days later (with a halo of the cottonwood fluff that's doing its magical floating dance right now):

Gaillardia seed head

And I'll admit it, I take an almost guilty pleasure in blooming thistles. Yes, I know they are an invasive species, and yes, they create some awfully gnarly burrs, but the color and vibrance of their flowers always provoke such a sense of awe in me! This one is just about to burst into bloom.

A thistle just about to bloom

(And speaking of prickly invasive species … ever look in a mirror?)

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