Finding a Slice

Every Monday, my mind begins to sift through the happenings of the past week to pluck that just right snippet of life to become my “slice of life” on Tuesday. All week long, I am collecting bits and pieces in my mind (and photos on my phone), but none jump out and say, “I’m the one you want to bring to life with words.

I could write about what’s growing in my backyard sanctuary.

 

I could write about the strange shape and color of clouds that appeared after dinner.

The next day, I learned about a tornado that touched down within twenty miles of us about the same time I watched the clouds.

Just as I was thinking there was nothing interesting to write about, I saw my slice, but it happened too fast to get a photo.

My husband and I were on the way to my mother’s apartment. There’s a long stretch of road that has fields on both sides. One field usually has horses. Recently, I wondered where the horses had gone because the field was empty and the grass was long.

All of a sudden, two horses came running from the top of the field. Manes and tails flying, as they ran along the fence. I started to make a comment on how frisky they were when I my gaze swept across the road. A young deer bounded across the road  and disappeared into the wild brush. The horses came to a stop when they reached the fence parallel to the road. A possible new friend disappeared, they seemed disappointed as they stood there, eyes glued to the spot where the deer vanished.

On our return trip, the horses were back at the top of the field. I imagine they were discussing the stranger who didn’t stay to play.

Sometimes, a slice just runs right in front of you and all you can do is catch it with words.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

 

 

 

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This Land of Ours (Part 2)

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

After spending the morning at Arches (which is on the east side of Utah), we traveled across the state (340ish miles) to explore Zion National Park. As we were driving an unusual looking cloud appeared on the horizon.

This cloud was actually a snow storm.

Soon the ground was covered, but it didn’t stick to the road.

Eventually, we made it to our hotel. A good night’s rest was just what we needed before hiking the next day.

We stayed in St. George, so we had about an hour drive to get to the park. Everyone warned us how busy the park gets, so we arrived shortly after eight. We were able to find a parking place easily. After a short visit with a ranger, we had a plan of several short, easy hikes for our adventures.

Zion is rather unusual because the main road is only accessible by a shuttle bus. This bus is like a hop-on-hop-off bus stopping a places near trails. We decided to ride all the way to the end and work our way back towards the car. It takes about forty-five minutes to reach the end.

These canyon walls make one feel so small.

First hike was Riverside Walk (2.2 miles round trip). Canyon walls tower above as you follow the Virgin River meandering through this canyon. Weeping walls create hanging gardens.

Plants grow out of the cracks in the rock walls. Sadly, nothing was blooming when we were there.

 

Walking along the Virgin River. Seems more like a creek here.

A few interesting views of nature along the walk.

When you get to the end of the path, you don’t have to stop, but you have to walk in the water upstream. Of course you have to be outfitted with the right clothes: waterproof shoes, some kind of waterproof pants, and a large walking stick. To get to the Narrows, you need to allow six hours of hiking. Walking in freezing cold water was not high on my “must do” list. However, my husband now has a burning desire to do this hike.

Someone is wishing he could go further upstream.

On the return trip, we walked along the sandy edge of the river. Suddenly, a mule deer crossed the river oblivious of us.

Mule deer nibbling on new leaves for a snack.

Before starting the next hike we sat at a picnic table and devoured our snacks and drank a bottle of water in our backpacks.

This is my view while having my snacks or should I say lunch? Not bad, right?

After a few missteps, we finally found the start of the Grotto Trail (1 mile), which ends at the Zion Lodge. This led us to the Lower Emerald Pool trail (1.2 miles). It was a nice paved path, but it was a gradual uphill walk. I have to admit, I was starting to tire.

The easy section ends with a walk behind a small waterfall.

Guess the green water is why they call this the Emerald Pool walk.

After this walk, I announced I was getting worn out and I could feel some blisters forming on my big toe and heel. It was time to head back to the hotel for a shower and relax before dinner. Another day of great weather and beautiful sights.

A shower was calling my name, but when we got to the hotel, the front desk announced the water was off and they hoped it would be back on soon. I decided to wait for the water in the spa pool. That felt wonderful, however, the water was off another two hours. That was aggravating. Of course with the water off, there was no hot water for a while. Eventually, we were able to get showers and go out for dinner. Our adventures in national parks was over for this trip. Wonder where we will go next?

 

This Land of Ours (Part 1)

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

The two items above (national parks pass and new hiking shoes) have kept me away from my computer and slicing for the last two weeks. Here’s where I’ve been . . .

An open two weeks from work and appointments meant we had some time to head west to visit our son and his family. Instead of zipping out and back, we decided to put that national parks pass to work before our visit. Arches and Zion (both in Utah) were the parks selected for this trip.

Shortly after lunch, we entered Arches, ready to stretch our legs from driving. Incredible rock formations had us speechless as we drove up the switch back road. I cannot imagine the reactions of the early explorers who first laid eyes on this land. These rocks were massive!

Top left is Balanced Rock (total height is 128 feet, rock on top is 55 feet). The top right is Courthouse Towers. Bottom left is Three Gossips close up, then on the right it is in the distance.

Delicate Arch was the first hike. It was listed as challenging. I had my doubts about my ability, but we set off. Halfway into it, I had to give up. It was too steep for me, but I sent my husband on. I slowly made it back to the car. While waiting, I took the map of the hikes and arches and created a plan for the rest of the day and the next morning.

Here are some of the arches .

Top left: Delicate Arch taken by my husband as he fought 50 mph winds. Top right: Landscape Arch, just over 300 feet long, it is the second longest span in the world. Middle right: North Window Arch Bottom left: Turret Arch Bottom right: Double Arch

The Fiery Furnace

A massive wall of rock called The Fiery Furnace is on the left, then turn slightly right and you see the field on the inset picture at the bottom.

Sand Dune Arch

To get to this arch, you have to walk through deep sand and a narrow crevice (pictured on the bottom left).

As we were leaving the park, something caught our attention. We had to turn around to get a closer look. Would you do this? I would not!

Thanks to the zoom on the camera, we could see this ant fellow climbing this rock.

What a fantastic park! I know there were arches we didn’t get to this time, but I bet we will be back. Next week: Zion National Park.

 

Prit-ty, Prit-ty

Cerulean blue skies,

Crisp, fresh air,

Nature’s musicians twittering

As I climb the apartment staircase.

Mid-step, I stop . . . listen . . .

Brit-ney, brit-ney,

Britney?

Silence my steps,

Turn towards the sounds,

Hold my breath,

Listen . . .

Prit-ty, prit-ty!

Who me?

Why thank you!

Pruning Time

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

It’s been two years since we’ve seen them. They came with all their equipment. They stood below, studying  the intricate structure of the maples. They had been given orders: remove crossing/rubbing limbs and excessive sprouts, subordinate prune co-dominant leads for better structure, reduce longer limbs for weight and vase structure.  Those words meant nothing to me, but they had a vision of what needed to be done.

Nimbly, they climbed into the trees. Cautiously they snapped safety ties, just in case. Higher and higher each man scaled the tree. As I watched the dance in the trees, I couldn’t help but think of the lyrics,

“He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease,

That daring young man on the flying trapeze.”

 

 

Once they had reached their highest point, small limbs began to rain down to the yard. The thicker branches hit the ground with a “thud.” A man on the ground raced to collect the discarded branches. A machine hungrily devoured limb after limb, each one became a pile of mulch. Sawdust shimmered in the light below as the chainsaw buzzed like an angry wasp. It didn’t take long to prune the two red maples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last bit of pruning was my peach tree. I had been warned it needed to be reduced by half. Yes the limbs were too high for us to reach the peaches. Yes, the peaches were too heavy for the branches. Yes, the peach tree is fighting for sunlight with the arborvitae trees beside it. But . . .  it was still a shock to see how much had to be pruned.

Before

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though I knew it had to be done, it was sad to see it happen. I will be surprised if we have any peaches next summer.

Hopefully, all this pruning will extend the life of our trees for many more years.

Come With Me

Come with me,

Explore

joys of spring.

Observe the new green announcing, “Hey world, I’m back and growing strong!”

Discover powerful plants pushing through to greet the sun.

Notice a bridal bouquet, colors pop!

Spot one plant “walks” up the fence, through the slats searching for the sunny side.

Bzzz, humm, bzzz

Confirms fuzzy, buzzy bees explore the holly blossoms.

Come with me,

 Enjoy spring sights!

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

 

Day 26: Have You Ever Seen . . .

Have you ever seen . . .

A gathering of exotic blooms?

Sepals, petals, stigma, anther,

Oh my!

Linear lines, polka dotted?

Bundled bouquet, solitary singleton?

Frilly edges, sleek form?

Have you ever seen . . .

Furry flowers?

Alphabet branches?

Have you ever seen . . .

A palm frond wall?

A living variegated carpet?

I have.

I have seen it all.

I have seen it all at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.