Monday, October 31, 2011

the pheasant


It’s pheasant hunting time of year, which means that gobs of pheasant cocks have been released onto state property and the survivors are now wandering all over the countryside. They’re not very smart, so it’s not uncommon to get stuck behind one on the drive to town, watching it sprint to keep ahead of the car and wondering why on earth it doesn’t either veer off to the side or fly up.

Only the pheasants (if even them) know the answer to that question, I guess.

In spite of their mental deficiencies, however, pheasants are incredibly beautiful.

As with most birds, the males are the only ones who get this glamorous plumage. I guess they have to attract the girls somehow, since it’s definitely not going to be by their IQ!


This pheasant really wasn’t all that afraid of me, even though I towered five feet over him. He was, however, completely disconcerted by the little savage I brought with me.


See her?


How bout now?


Ewok did eventually pounce, but the pheasant was too quick and flushed. Of course, since the prey was quite a bit larger than the predator, I think that was probably a good thing!

A few more pictures from my weekend:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

october morning


I stand in the hallway, tugging the zipper on my fleece sweatshirt up to my chin. My hand rests on the doorknob. I contemplate the coming shock, the little skip in my chest that will transport me from the woodstove-warm house to the 23-degree six a.m. For a moment, I dare to imagine the coziness of my bed and my pillows, and I am tempted to turn back.

One, two, three. I twist the knob and pull the door open. The air pounds my cheeks like cold, clammy fists. I take in a gasp and feel it swirl into my lungs like ice water; it puffs back out in a misty cloud.


I step forward gingerly, feeling for the edge of the porch where the two steps lead down, and then move down the sidewalk and across the yard. I hear the light crunch of leaves beneath my feet; then the thicker sound of gravel takes over, and I know I’ve reached the parking lot.

A drapery of blue velvet, studded with diamonds, is buttoned across the sky by a crisp crescent moon. One of the diamonds streaks ever so briefly toward the brightening eastern horizon, and I rack my brain for a wish, but find that for once, on this clear, cold morning, I have none.


I reach down to touch my toes and relish the biting pain of the first stretch. I release the tension for a moment, then reach down again, slowly, and hold the position for ten seconds. One by one, I stretch my tendons, my calf muscles, my quadriceps; I walk a brisk circle and then parallel myself with the poplar tree at the head of the driveway.

I suck in another chilly breath. In half-sigh, half-prayer, I whisper, “Good morning, Lord.” And I spring forward into the rhythm of my footfalls.


Monday, October 24, 2011

autumn love



The very last zinnias, cut right before our first hard frost.


The most gigantic batch of the most amazing chocolate chip cookies ever. They have an entire 7-ounce Hershey bar grated into them. Delicious.


The glorious morning light.


Spicy-smelling Yankee candles. These make me crave Thanksgiving and Christmas like crazy.


Beauty itself. God could have stuck us all on a flat concrete slab, but He didn’t. He gave us colors, scents, textures, and sounds. He gave us rolling fields of wheat, snowcapped mountains, wooded canyons, blue skies, mist and clouds, crashing rivers, and abundant wildlife. If it’s like this here on earth, can you imagine what Heaven will be like?!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

observations from the pre-dawn


  • Dawn just  gets later and later these days. Why doesn’t 6 a.m.?!


  • Frogs constitute a much higher percentage of casualties on the post-rain roadway than earthworms do. Isn’t that depressing?
  • Mist over a full moon gives a distinctly Pirates of the Caribbean effect to the world…


  • It’s not such a good idea to set out on a pre-dawn jog without premeditating the possible creatures one could come upon. One must be fully prepared to avoid any shapes that could be a badger, a porcupine, or a skunk.
  • It’s an equally bad idea to set out on a pre-dawn jog having premeditated these possibilities. There is a high chance one will want to turn around.
  • The ranchers brought a bunch of cows down from the mountains last weekend, right? So that shape you just dodged was more likely a cow pie than one of the above…


  • One’s awareness of muscular discomfort increases as one’s ability to use the sense of sight decreases.
  • Don’t worry. The clacking you heard on the pavement twenty feet ahead was just a deer. Mountain lions have paws, not hooves… and they approach silently, remember?
  • That black thing that just shot out from under your foot was only your shadow in the moonlight. I promise. See? It’s still there.


  • That hollering to the northwest is just some donkey braying or an insane cow bellowing. Maneating lions live in Tsavo, not Goldendale.
  • Pre-dawn light really doesn’t always make the best pictures (which is why two of the ones posted here were taken during the day). These are the moments when you realize what your eyes and your memory are for.

Monday, October 10, 2011

october light

light copy
I love the way the October sun shines. Inching its way south along the horizon, it gives off a softer light than its predecessors and a yellower light than its successors. About 5 p.m., it slants just low enough to filter right through the lowest tree branches, but not so low that it loses any vibrancy.

It makes me sad that the tree branches will soon be stripped, that the mornings will be dominated by gray fog and frost, and that we’ll soon be warding off subfreezing (and subzero) temperatures with multiple woolen layers and hot fires in the woodstove.
But it makes me happy that we’ll soon be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with royal feasts, that we’ll (hopefully) have a few days of snowglobe weather, and that I’m turning eighteen in January.
Well, okay. Let me be completely honest. I’m not totally sure that the latter invokes a 100% positive reaction. But it’ll be an adventure. :)

What are you looking forward to?


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