Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Late January Sun

I felt well enough today to stand around outside for a while as Denny worked on some projects. The movement and fresh air felt good after being inside for so long. The afternoon temperature was in the mid-teens. My feet got cold because I had taken the felt liners out of my boots. I bought new liners last year and the boots have been too tight ever since. I may have to wear them with heavy socks in the future because although I hate having cold feet, I hate having cramped toes even more.

As the sun climbs higher in the sky with each day's transit, we are beginning to feel some warmth from it. Water was dripping off of the roof in places and under the blue sky, the snow took on a warm softness.

As the long shadows indicate, the sun is still far to the south even at midday.

The Chevy pickup--parked in the shadows on the north side of the house--wore a beard of icicles.

Click for larger views...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sunrise on Snow

I looked out the back window and noticed that the snow was pink...

When I went outside, I could see why....

It was a glorious, ephemeral moment in time.

Every day the sky puts on a show for free.

Click for larger

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Snow and Blowing Snow

On my way to work this morning...

Conditions were calm up at the house and the snow was falling very gently but once I got down near the water, the winds were gusting and sending the fine, dry snow everywhere.

I think this is what is termed a "ground blizzard."

It is difficult to capture blowing snow with a still camera but I thought these shots at least gave a sense of our early Sunday morning streets.

Most lovely was the causeway across Beluga Slough, a dark stretch of road that separates the slough from the artificial lake that seaplanes use in the warmer months. The flat, open space is a natural wind corridor and drifting snow isn't unusual there.

I thought the contours of the drifts were intriguing.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sunrise on Augustine Volcano

Another day begins on lower Cook Inlet.

The photo is from the webcam on Augustine Island (about 75 miles southwest of Homer) operated by the Alaska Volcano Observatory.


The is some primal joy in watching dawn break. Something that pre-dates humanity, deep in our mammalian genes. And deeper than that, even. All life seems to yearn toward the sun.

We are fortunate that our home planet rotates in such a way as to divide the light and darkness into managable periods. It is never dark for so long that those things that live off of light fail. The sun is never in the sky so long as to completely parch the world. There is always the hope of respite. Our planet lies in a narrow zone of space just far enough from the sun that water can exist in liquid form, a temeprate zone that has been the nursery of life on this planet. We are fortunate and every dawn reminds us on some level of that fact.

But then, if we weren't fortunate, we wouldn't even be here.

It's ironic that so much effort is spent seeking life on other planets while the miracle that is life on earth is so often under-appreciated. Humanity will never find anything in outer space as closely-related to us as our fellow creatures here on our home planet. We have been evolving together for billions of years. We are kin in deeper ways than we can realize. Perhaps that would be the true value of finding life elsewhere in the Universe. It would bring into focus just how special and unique life on Earth is. Because whatever we might find out there, it will be alien to us in a way that nothing on this earth is.

Just some idle thoughts.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Birds Around the House

This downy woodpecker is one of a pair that have been enjoying the ham skin we hung outside a month or so ago. (It lasts a long time when it is twenty degrees out there...)

One of the many nuthatches that frequent our feeders--this one has the ham to himself right now.

I hung one of those commercialy-made suet blocks out on the back deck but the birds prefer our ham skins and pieces of beef fat to the store-bought stuff.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Homer Post Office

I usually stop by the Post Office on my way home from the late shift. I took these photos about ten at night.

The stained glass window transforms a utilitarian building into one with distinction.