At 3:05 a.m on December 21, 2020 (0305 Tango) our Spaceship Earth reached that place in her solar orbit which made it appear that the sun has stopped moving south. A moment later Earth's velocity moved her past the point of Winter Solstice (solstice = still sun, more or less) and from our perspective the sun began moving north again. Daylight periods, which had been getting shorter, began to get longer.
Now we are at the point in the annual cycle where autumn is completely behind us and all of spring lies ahead. No more fall to muddle through! We've just got this pesky winter to deal with.
Out in nature's reality the new year arrives before the calendar changes. Kinda cool, eh?
On Christmas and Boxing Day, weather conditions were quite nice here. It was anything but a white Christmas, but there was step running and outside enjoyment to provide icing on the Christmas cake.
On December 28-29 a weather front moved in and delivered a bit of winter cheer in the form of three inches of new snow. There was a bit of wind overnight, but at 0400 that had gone. As I headed for the widget foundry at 0550 the air temperature was 25 degrees and a light snow was still falling, muffling sounds and participating in the smile-making hush which only winter's still air can make.
It was a beautiful morning, and the dogs appreciated their morning chow.
On Thursday at midnight there was much fanfare and many fireworks and lots of people wearing chin masks blew noisemakers and blew chunks to mark the beginning of the new calendar year. My New Year's Eve celebration was less frenetic. I watched children play and spent some quality time with grownups who are not lost and who are serious about livin' this whole life thing. I think the best part of the evening was watching the littlest play with a six month old little girl. The pair sat face to face on the floor and patted faces and talked to each other for what seemed like hours. The two year old was so excited to play with a real baby; such a different experience than playing with her fleet of doll babies. It was a very centering experience for me. I wanted to take a couple of pictures of the two little ones at play but I knew somehow it would interfere with the magic.
Saturday was a beautiful day. The air temperature hung in the mid-30's, which is a bit chilly, but the sky was blue, the sun was warm, and the day's forecast winds held off until well into the afternoon.
I got out and ran steps as usual. There is always enjoyment and satisfaction in working out, even on the yuckiest of days. On days like yesterday the enjoyment is boundless. Being out there in the moment, working hard and pushing through difficulty, with the warming sun balancing cool air and the feeling of cheating misery by stealing windless moments, sinking into the moment and livin' the moment...
I am so blessed.
As I ran I felt fresh and my legs felt strong. I passed the 30 minute mark when my legs often begin to tire, but yesterday they remained strong and fresh. Indefatigable. Which was sunk at Jutland of course. See how my mind works?
I could blather on and on and continue not saying much at all. What are these observations of a shattered but healing life all about? In the main I suppose they are a mashed up record of livin', and perhaps that's enough.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.
Nothing quite like the stillness of a morning snowfall before the sun comes up. (Provided there's no wind of course!)ReplyDelete
It's a beautiful experience. So are the windy ones, but in a different way. There is beauty in misery, but it's still miserable! ;-)Delete
Happy New Year to all! Good post.ReplyDelete
Dog tag photo has some numbers visible that ID thieves love to have. Photoshop edit??
Will we see the finger tats soon? It would be a good excuse to enlighten us on how the process works, both the safe and sanitary way, and olde time sailor and prison tat methods.
Good catch, I'll fix that. And punch a hacker or two.Delete
Good idea you've hatched in my brain. The finger tats got put off in the holiday busyness but are set for Saturday after next. I need to recruit a film crew. Failing that I'll try to get images and give an account of the thing. Have to research the olde tyme sailor methods...
I was nearby 12/29, RON Lexington. Headed West on I-80, it was closed at Ogallala. Went South on to US 6 to get around the closure.ReplyDelete
The three years of running the medical courier route down Hwy 71 through your town came to mind. Nebraska roads can be as nasty as any in the country.
What a place to RON!Delete
Yep, the roads can get bad when nature flexes her wintry muscles!
We haven't had much a steady Winter here. A couple of early storms with 20" of snow, and then a couple more with 3~6" snowfall. I haven't compared temps with last year yet, but now that I've had the weather station recording for a little over a year, I can generate my own y-t-y reports. And hearing how quiet it gets here when it's snowing is always a treat to me. This is a quiet neighborhood in a quiet part of town, so when we get heavy fog, or a decent snowfall, it gets spooky quiet outside. I swear you can hear the snow falling if the flakes are big. Some day I should tell you about the time we went out in the summer to hear the corn grow.ReplyDelete
The winds out here are a new thing to me, both in intensity, and duration. We primarily get hit from the NW, with an occasional event from the East. The Hams I first met here chuckled at my questions about snow and ice loads on antenna causing damage. The said the winds would get them YEARS before we had a snow event that would break 'em! I haven't had any break yet, but I put in spring "shock absorbers" and slack-line pulleys that allow the wire to ride with the wind, moving several feet with ease, and then getting brought back to normal by the springs and pulley. This is their second full Winter, and they're doing fine, so I think I got it right.
This whole cycle-of-seasons and the cycle-of-life I see with the five grandkids and your Little Ones just seems so natural here. People who don't get to be part of this, or even just observe it, are truly missing being a part of Life. One of the older girls is a senior in high-school this year, and she just exudes "Teen Age Angst" like the cloud that always followed Pig Pen around in Peanuts. Since we first met her five years ago, she's gone from being "Blossom" to being Claire Danes in "My So Called Life". I vividly remember that time of my life, and I knew girls with same attitudes. Hard to convince them that they'll be fine in a couple of years....
I'm a bit concerned about the feel of the regional climate over the last half-year or so. Feels like a dry spell. The 2020 calendar year featured only 11.331 inches of precip here, compared to the 128 year average of 16.77 inches. Our "rainy" season -- April-August -- was 4.64 inches below average, and grass production showed the shortfall. I'm concerned only in the sense that managing grazing is hard work during a drought. The ecosystem will be fine if we don't overgraze; the prairie has been weathering drought just fine over the last 15,000 years.Delete
The hush of winter snowfall and the hush of heavy fog are magical experiences. So is listening to corn grow in the hot stillness of a July afternoon. Nature provides so many beautiful experiences wherever you go. Seems like most people miss out and in doing so have a hard time with scale, context, and perspective. The present hysteria is an example of groundless fears running wild in the absence of any breath of reality. It's a very strange thing.
The winds are amazing. The way the air mass moves and pushes stuff around is astonishing. It's often quite uncomfortable, miserable, and potentially deadly, but it's also always magnificent. Managing our ephemeral structures in the face of wind challenge is always fun and always way more work than you think it will be. Sounds like you've got a good system in place to protect your antenna.
I'm blessed to have been able to sink into the cycle-of-seasons/life in my own life. There's so much beauty in life and watching things unfold over time is an amazing experience. I too recall the angst and impatience of the mid to late teen years. I was fortunate indeed to have the navy take me in hand and teach/guide me through the transition into adult(ish)hood. The kids are all teaching me so much and gifting me with boundless joy every day. Such an amazing experience and I almost missed it!
The Feel Of The Regional Climate....ReplyDelete
Very well put! After 35 years in SoCal, where "weather" is a concept more than an experience, I'd forgotten what living in four, real seasons was like. I look back at the stroed data from having my weather station up and running for 10 years in SoCal, and all you can say is "BORING!"....
Grass production vs rainfall is one of those relationships that's pretty much carved in stone. I remember hearing an old mechanic tell me that it was very important to learn to "Read The Parts". He said it was important to spend some time looking at the parts you were replacing because they would tell you why they failed, and possibly point at other things that were getting ready to fail. Years later I became quite familiar with Failure Analysis, and all that implies. Learning to "Read The Land" is similar, but takes longer because Mother Nature moves at her own pace, not ours!
As far as mounting the antennas to withstand high winds, I used information from some of my OLD Radio Handbooks, where you had to figure out a way that could be done with "hardware store" bits and pieces, didn't cost much, and would last for "quite a while". The only modern concessions are the support rope, which is similar to paracord, but bigger, and has a highly UV-resistant braided cover. Way better than swiping some of Mom's clothesline, and doesn't have to be replaced every other year, and using all stainless steel/galvanized nuts, bolts, brackets, etc. It really bounces around in the wind, but that's better than having the wire snap. At night. When it's snowing. With a 40MPH wind blowing. And it's so cold your soldering iron can't heat up enough to melt solder. No sir, don't like it at all!
Playing with the Little Ones on Christmas Day was fun. Except for the two youngest, they're all old enough now to remember me and call me by name, so I always make sure I spend some time with them trying my best to amuse them. And it's a joy to watch them interact with each other, from chasing each other around the house, to the three of them just sitting there looking at books or playing with their toys. They're completely in their own world, protected from the evil that lurks Out There.
And the magic of that period of their lives flows both ways.....
Over time I've learned to read cattle and read the ecosystem at a glance. I can get a very good feel for present state and trends in a very short time. It's a pretty cool ability and it only cost time, looking and learning, curiosity, and a desire to learn. Oh, it took patience too. Lots of patience.Delete
Grass production is directly correlated to precipitation quantity, at least it is around here. Water is one of the building blocks required to make lignin and cellulose; atmospheric carbon is just bad breath by itself. Teamed up with water and driven by happy sunshine, photosynthetic cellular factories make grass to anchor and nurture the ecosystem. What a beautiful wonder.
Sounds like fixing fence breaks and antenna breaks are very similar forms of misery in the winter. You don't want to do it over much, but it is nice to be in the actually done something in reality club!
The little ones are a mooring I had no idea could exist. They center me and remind me that most things in the universe are more important than my immediate desires. They are a blessing bestowed by God. I am so very blessed.
Happy New Year to everyone (including the puppy dogs!) Keep on livin' and talk to us when you can.ReplyDelete
Puppies say "back at ya" as do I. Working on the next post...Delete
Driving through Kimball, TN today - saw the town sign and thought of you.ReplyDelete
Happy New Year.
There are more Kimballs than you would think. Kimball, Tennessee is only 18 hours away. I-80/I-29/I-70/I-64/I-24. Interesting looking little town. Got a wallyworld!Delete
Thanks for thinking of us Frank.
The railroad habit of naming towns after various execs led to a lot of towns, in different states, all sharing the same name.Delete
I wondered about that. I know this one is named after a UP guy. 1885 I think.Delete
I've noticed a lot of the smaller towns here, like Carr and Nunn, are named after railroad people. All up and down the Front Range along what's now the I-25 corridor, and was previously the railroad corridor, you see towns with railroad people names. And the same East and West, like through your area.Delete
Wasn't something I'd ever thought much about, but after hooking up with Frank and seeing the Big Boy, it hit me how important the railroads were "out here", compared to growing up in Illinois. We had the I&M canal, and other canals back in Illinois that served the same purpose before the railroads came, and we learned a lot about them, as they were vital to the area's development. When it came to railroads, we learned about the transcontinental railroad, and that it was very important to American growth, but it never stuck me just how important it was until we moved here, and I saw it in personal.
Railroads were the "Big Tech" of the day, and the driving of the Golden Spike was an Apollo 11 moment for the country.
And then came the Lincoln Highway (right outside my front door) and the Interstate Highway System...Delete