"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I See the Moon and the Moon Sees Me

I saw the moon!
Sleepless at midnight, I wandered out on the deck
and there it was, just coming over the nearby hills.
First time I've seen old Mr. Moon since I arrived in Fairbanks, mid-May.
He looked good.  Hadn't even aged.
Full and bright and covered a bit with clouds that made him glow, reflecting his light a bit.
I ran back to get my camera to get this picture for you.

I learned today that this pretty scene is actually 
a Blue Moon.
Nothing to do with the color,
it means this is the second full moon in the same month.
It sure is an awesome sight!
That makes me think--  
my dear family scattered all over the world
is looking at that same Blue Moon.
That thought makes me smile.


I dedicate this sweet, old song to my husband,
patiently waiting for me 4,000+ miles away:

"I see the moon and the moon sees me
The moon sees the somebody I'd like to see.
God bless the moon and God bless me
And God bless the somebody I'd like to see.

It seems to me that God above
Created you for me to love
He picked you out from all the rest
Because He knew I loved you best."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Curiouser and Curiouser

I like to share the good, bad and ugly on the blog.
Well, not the "ugly" so much as the odd.
So I keep my little Canon at the ready in the car.
I was glad for that when I saw this...uh...

What exactly was it, anyway?
Looked sort of like a tractor trailer from the front.
Or a garbage truck... 

But the back of it was all homespun.
Others in the parking lot were also checking it out.
We never saw anything like it before.
It reminded me of one of those trucks moving
a modular house with a "wide load" sign on the back.

But this was no relocation house.
This was permanent.
An RV like no other.

Traveling all the way from Maine,
the only thing missing was the rocking chair 
on the back porch.
My grandson has two passions:
campers and garbage trucks.
I wish he could have seen this!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I Can't Help Myself

I've written about the Alaska's magical long days where the sunlight lingers
all night long.
That light makes for the most remarkable plant growth.
August is the month when the flowers are stunning!
Their size is incredible and the colors--so vivid they glow!
I've included many, many pictures of Fairbanks' flowers in past
August blogs, I know.
I just can't help myself!!!!

I wandered among the acres of tended flower patches at 
UAF's Georgeson Botanical Garden and simply HAD to take pictures.
Again, I simply can't help it! 
I MUST try and capture all of this beauty!
And then share it with you.

I usually photograph a scene or object as it simply appears.
I'm not an artsy photographer.

But I wanted to add a flair to these amazing flowers and let you
focus on some of the striking details that we often overlook.

So I angled.  And zoomed.  And cropped.

And behold-the wonder of each petal came into view.

The patterns and colors that invite the bee deep within,
pollinating and propagating the flower while he gathers pollen.

There is not one part of these beautiful flowers that is simple.
Each, from the daisy to the sunflower, shouts out Magnificence!
God's creativity at my fingertips!

Variety en masse!
Stars fallen from the night skies.

Petals as delicate as tissue paper.

Rotund Raspberries Ripening Roundly.  

Notice not the yellow of this glorious sunflower,
bit stare into the cluster of seeds and see the pattern of swirls.
They almost appear to be rotating and moving, don't they?

Does this not remind you of a teacher amidst the happy faces of her students?

 Jesus used these flowers as he taught about worry.
"And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the lilies of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."  (Matthew 7:28. 29)

Do you now see how I can't NOT fill my camera with such as these?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

We Flew in the Same Sky

As Abigail and I continued our downtown field trip along the Chena River,
we came upon yet another monument.

This one commemorates the heroism of the American and Soviet pilots who flew nearly 8,000 warplanes half way around the world between 1942-1945. 
 The flights of these American-made planes crossed more than 12 time zones as they flew some severe weather conditions from the continental US to the Russian warfronts.

WASPs (Women Air Force Service Pilots) flew many of these planes from their points
of manufacture to Great Falls, Montana.
These pioneer pilots were honored with a plaque, as well.

"Now is not the time for women to be patient.  We are in a war and we need to fight it with all our ability and every weapon possible.  Women pilots are weapon waiting to be used."
Eleanor Roosevelt, 1942

US Army Air Corps pilots  then flew these planes from Great Falls to Fairbanks, Alaska.
Here, pilots of the USSR Air Force flew the planes over western Alaska 
and across Siberia to the Russian fronts. 
Named the Alaska-Siberia Airway, this route was hastily created to promote 
the defense of the US during WW II.

The pilots stand tall with fur-lined flight suits,
two nations joined in the common goal of defeating Hitler.

We moved on from the sobering history of war
and our moods lightened by the sight of the newest rage in tourism.
Alaska's trademarks, the salmon, bear and moose
take a turn on these segways.

We then enjoyed watching a group of REAL tourists
learning how to maneuver up and down little slopes on them.
The animals seemed to manage better, I must admit.

But, when a special little girl is my companion,
all the history lessons pale when pretty
 flowers abound and call out to be sniffed.
And that's quite OK.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Knitting and Knotting Memories

The same day Abigail and I strolled along the river walk 
and saw the tribal chief memorial sculpture, 
we crossed under the Interior Alaska Antler Arch.
Many of the sets of antlers are larger than this little girl.
She was quite in awe.

I'll print out some of what the information sign read:

"This arch of antlers might also be called an arch of stories.  Each antler was given to the arch in the spirit of linking experiences from all around Alaska.  Knitted and knotted together here are memories of campfires, packboards, meat cutting tables, and warm kitchens shared with family and friends...and  of relics of wild animals whose language and life stories we know only fragments.  The gift of the arch is to let us imagine the personal stories and respect the intertwined lives represented here."

Made up of more than 100 moose and caribou antlers collected from all over Interior Alaska,
this arch is an interesting landmark.
For us, it was part of an fun and sunny day for wandering and exploring.
I brought Abigail and she brought her little "Anna".
And we all learned together.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hail to the Chief (s)

There is a rather fascinating monument in downtown Fairbanks.
Alaska continues to hold numerous native tribes scattered throughout
its immense size and space.  
This particular memorial honors the tribal chiefs who have ruled these tribes 
of the Alaskan Interior in the past.
Using a kind of metal, the sculptor designed the figures
by placing the material in the shadows and dark places.
A bit like a reverse negative.

Lightened areas are empty.
From close up, the figures look odd,

broken and unfinished.
See the side of his face and head--nothingness.

But, by stepping away, the blankness fills in 
or perhaps our amazing brains realize what the image is meant to be
and fills in the spaces for us.
And, in doing so, each chief gains completeness.
Yet, there is a lack of substance.
As if this depicts the spirit of each beloved chief that no longer 
lives with his tribesmen.
I found this appropriate, unique and attractive.
 I thought you might, too.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Alaskan Gothic

This is a bit of a twist on the post of the moose in the yard last week.
(post dated August 1)
I called them "unwelcome neighbors".
Josh and Kathleen took the whole incident up a notch--
or two...or three.

Kathleen was especially agitated and anxious.
And rightfully so.
You see, she was the one who planted tiny seeds in pots last March...
then watered and watched...
transplanted in June...
and is on the verge of harvesting all this bounty of vegetables.
She knows the moose could harvest them all in one hungry meal.

So, she prepared to sit out after the twins' visit--
waiting for them to just try and take the garden late at night.
Josh, in his role as protector of both his wife and property, joined her.
Each had a weapon, and I don't mean a water pistol.
The serious tone of them sitting on the deck reminded me
of the "American Gothic" couple by Grant Wood,
minus the pitchfork, however.

But, as I nervously eyed the real guns with real bullets in their laps
as they sat their vigil,
I decided they were more like the Hatfields or McCoys,
daring those moose to take one step on this property!

Do you want to know the ending?
They finally went to bed hours later, though Kathleen was too
nervous and restless to sleep.
At 5:20 AM she heard rustling just below their window and-
sure enough-it was the massive moose twins, munching on the snap peas.
Waking Josh, he removed the screen and shot the ground next to them
a couple of times.  (Moose season doesn't begin until Sept 1---)

The twins have not been seen since.
But the vegetables are still flourishing and the guns handy.
Just in case.
And moose season gets closer every day...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Come and Set a Spell

I am aware that this is not grammatically correct,
but rather a down-home expression:
"Come on in and set a spell!"
While happily 
wandering through the botanical gardens, 
I noticed several strategically placed  benches and seats.

Tucked into arbors or near waterfalls and goldfish ponds,
these seats whisper, "Pause and relax."

These charming chairs were designed to look like butterflies
fluttering among daisies and the bluest of blue delphinium.

The "dinner plate dahlias"
(named appropriately for their size)
were just starting bloom in this peaceful spot.

 In back of the memorial chair
(the one like I'd like for my own someday)
sits a handcrafted bird feeder.
Its stationary bird perches as if ready to sing.

I tried out some of these appealing spots but life just has a way
of robbing us of languid time when we may do just this
and not mind the passing minutes.
Schedules rudely interrupt the quiet moments we have to sit
and simply breathe deeply surrounded by, not technology nor noise,
calm and beauty.  God's creative handiwork.
I can choose to return here in the next few weeks
when the long hours of sunlight add remarkable size and colors
to these spots.
And I plan to do just that!
Would you come with me and set a spell?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Blue Skies Smiling at Me

I was driving home rather late the last night.
It was 10:30 PM
I paused to recognize how pretty the sky was at that hour.
Still very blue and light.
I pulled off the road and grabbed the camera.

 For the sun to change from being out almost 24 hours/day in June
to almost not at all in December, 
the daytime changes have to be rather remarkable.

 The shadows are definitely longer at that late hour,
but the sun still sits fairly high as it travels across the evening sky.

 There is actually dark at some point,
but I am sleeping then.
I've yet to see the moon.
I've yet to turn on my headlights.
Or a household lamp.
When I awaken at 5 AM the sky is as bright blue 
as it was when I went to sleep.

 I read in the local paper that we lost 7 minutes of daylight yesterday.
In one day!
The length of day was listed as 18 hours, 2 minutes, 2 seconds.
Of course twilight brightens the sky for several hours besides,
both before sunrise and after sunset.. 

I am reminded of a Bible verse where a prophet of old describes the end of the 
world as we know it.  A time when Christ will reign and 
 evil and darkness will be no longer.  
"But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night:
but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light."
Zechariah 14:7

These long, wonderful summer Alaskan days seem a taste of that future time.