5:30 VS 8:00

Let me make this perfectly clear, the times in the title are a.m. not p.m. This is the time of day you will find me on the sidewalks of my subdivision.

I am not happy about the 5:30 time, but the temperature and humidity have risen too high to make my original start time (8:00) survivable. As I walked, I considered the pros and cons of the two start times.

Pros for 5:30

At 5:30 it should be cooler (although the humidity often makes it just as miserable). Just for the sake of argument, I will state it is cooler than the later time period. The light is more muted because it is before sunrise, but it is not dark. The sun does not blind me and make me squint as I look ahead. Occasionally, there might be some color to the sky in the east. More often than not, there is no spectacular sunrise.

The beauty is not just in the sky. When the conditions are just right I find ground fog in the field. A gauzy veil draped over the ground.

There is no social distancing to worry about. NO ONE else is out and about at that time of day.

Cons for 5:30

When I need to be on the move by 5:30, I cannot snuggle back into my bed, for another hour of drifting between asleep and awake. I must get up, get dressed, and get out the door. No time for caffeine to simulate my conscious being. Awake and moving are the order of the day.

At 5:30 there is a water hazard to contend with on my journey. Sprinklers on timers often run at that time of day. Usually I see them and can veer down a driveway into the street and use another driveway to get back on my route. However, there have been times I’ve been caught off guard. When I hear a sppp-sppptttt-ssppttttt I need to pick up the pace or be pelted with water. (Which might offer a little coolness.)

Pros for 8:00

There is no water hazard. The sprinklers are finished. The sun shines brightly revealing the sparkles not seen in the muted light. Dew is not the only thing to glimmer in the bright light. Slugs have been laboring across the concrete leaving their secret code behind. Those faint white lines glisten in the morning light. I must say that even though I admire the glistening lines, I loathe slugs.

Look to the left for the squiggle to start and go up.
Does X mark the spot?
Look at the top middle, the trail stops. Where did the slug go?

I have time to savor my coffee and allow the jolt of caffeine to take effect before beginning my walk.

Cons for 8:00

There are others walking, so we play the game of chicken (more commonly referred to as social distancing). Who’s going to step off the sidewalk onto the road?

That brilliant sun makes it HOT! Sweat rolls down my nose. Sweat slides down my forehead stinging my eyes. Sweat lingers at the roots of each hair follicle. I am MISERABLE! I am a dripping mess!

The conclusion of analyzing the pros and cons of the two times is to stick with the early time slot and just suck it up. When it gets cooler, you will find me still in bed at 6:00. I can’t wait for those days to return!

Don’t you have a story to share?

Icy

Quietly the mist blew in as temperatures dropped lower and lower. The mist settled on every surface creating an unsuspecting hazard. The day remained gray and dismal, trapping everyone inside until sun rays returned to release us from this icy grip.

All schools were cancelled, the roads too slick and dangerous, in the morning. By noon the sparkling world dripped. As the wind blew, the ice became bits of glass flying through the air to land as shards littering the yards.

A bluebird searched for berries in the holly bush outside my office window. It must have been an icy treat.

A beautiful world melted away (unless it was caught in a shadow).

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

Day 13: Is There Hope?

Weather report prediction: snow with morning temperatures at seventeen degrees.

My heart sank like the Titanic. The peach tree in my backyard was in full bloom. Seventeen degrees spelled certain death to every blossom and future peach.

The tree before the predicted snow and temperature drop.

Not again, I thought. Several years ago, the tree did not bear one fruit. It never even had the opportunity that year to produce a blossom. The cold froze the buds just as they were forming.

Last year, my husband and I draped the tree with sheets to protect the buds. That would not be possible this year. The tree was simply too tall.

All day I waited for the snow to begin. It didn’t. Maybe, the temperature won’t drop tonight. I went to bed with that flicker of hope. At first daylight, I checked the tree. The blossoms were still there. I waited until it warmed up to see if they would continue to hang on. They did! I went out for a closer look. Pink blossoms littered the ground.

Those peaches died an early death.

Wait! Look up!

Hardy blossoms weathered the cold night. Branches continue to sport their finest pink jewels. Thankfully the temperatures only dipped down to thirty degrees during the night. One cold snapped weathered, but more are predicted all week long. Will these blossoms hang on or will they all be littering the ground by the weekend?

 

Snow Days Celebration

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

Two weeks ago, I looked at my calendar of work days and felt a sense of panic. Would I have enough time to prepare for the work ahead? Maybe, but there will be little else in my life until I was prepared. I set  goals and deadlines for myself as the days slipped away.

Diligence paid off for my first school assignment. By Tuesday, all materials were in order for the next two and a half days. However, I would need to spend long hours in the evening to complete my work for the second assignment. Then Mother Nature stepped in to give me breathing space.

Tuesday evening, a light coating of ice covered the roadways creating hazardous conditions. Wednesday there was no school for any district near me. Quickly, I took advantage of that gift of time.

Daylight on Thursday revealed a couple of inches of snow fell in the wee morning hours. This snow had not been on any weather man’s radar. Total surprise! Yet again, a gift of a day to work.

Friday loomed. I dreaded going to school. The teachers would be unhappy because they had to redo sub plans since they had not been there for two days. I resolved to make the best of it as I went to bed.

Around 3 a.m. I was awake. The schools closed were scrolling by on the TV screen (yes, the TV was on – don’t judge me 🙂 ). Was that my school’s name I just saw? I got up and checked the iPad, yes it was! A huge sigh of relief escaped as I returned to bed.

I’m still working, but I celebrate that I am no longer panicked about being prepared for the school presentation coming up. I know the work will be finished and the weather forecast looks clear for the next week. Now I just have to reschedule the days I missed. Thank you Mother Nature for the beauty of your snow and the gift of time.

A Tale of a Tree

Without warning, a wicked, fierce wind blew in from the north. It sent the neighbors scurrying into their homes as the trees’ limbs whipped back and forth like a stallion’s mane.

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Not content to observe from the window, my husband and I stepped onto the patio, mesmerized by the movement of the two maple trees being abused by the wind. Fear of breaking branches gripped our hearts. Last summer we lost the maple in our front yard due to wind damage. A loud crack echoed across the backyard. Was this sound from our tree? We scanned the treetops looking for a fallen limb. None could be seen in the night sky. But was that gap always there? With dread, we returned to the house to wait for the morning light to reveal the damage.

Daylight brought bad news, a limb had broken. Immediately a call was sent out to the tree service. A few days later, we were welcoming the crew into our yard to do whatever was necessary to save our trees.

Way up high, the wind broke a branch. The crew studies the situation.

Way up high, the wind broke a branch. The crew studies the situation.

Tools on the ground. Webs ready to greet the trimmer as he begins the climb.

Tools on the ground.
Webs ready to greet the trimmer as he begins the climb.

Tethered to the tree, he climbs up, up, up eventually the leaves hide him.

Tethered to the tree, he climbs up, up, up eventually the leaves hide him.

Meanwhile back on the ground the falling limbs are gathered and shredded. The chainsaw creates a shower of sawdust.

Meanwhile back on the ground the falling limbs are gathered and shredded. The chainsaw creates a shower of sawdust.

Finally, all limbs have been pruned. The yard has been cleared of all tree debris. Here is the before and after picture of the tree with the broken branch.

Finally, all limbs have been pruned. The yard has been cleared of all tree debris. Here is the before and after picture of the tree with the broken branch.

The backyard has more mottled shade than before, but hopefully the next wild wind that blows in our direction will slip between the branches and leave the limbs intact.

Sirens in the Night

Sunday

2:19 a.m.: sound asleep

2:20 a.m.: a sound is pulling me awake

2:21 a.m.: an awareness of the sound that is pulling me awake is not on the TV or in my dream, this sound is outside the house, down the street, it is a mind-numbing whining warning siren

2:22 a.m.: turn the TV to local news, stumble in a zombie-like state to the closet for shoes (just in case there will be broken glass)

2:26 a.m.: fully awake, watch the weather reporter urging people to take cover, I listen for storm sounds outside (there are none)

2:30 a.m.: I fall back into bed (shoes near), the siren stops its wail, silence surrounds

2:40 a.m.: the siren screams out its warning again, the wind blows through the trees, shaking the leaves loose, hard rain beats against the house, TV signal is lost, I prepare to take shelter (again)

2:50 a.m.: TV signal is restored, siren quiets, storm has passed through

3:00 a.m.: still wide awake, wondering what has happened in the darkness, gradually tiredness takes over and sleep returns

7:45 a.m.: daylight, cloudy skies, cooler breezes slide through the trees, a leaves litter the ground, a warning that more storms may appear through the day

Coffee helps the pounding of my head from the disruptive night. No further storms develop on this day. This time I’m relieved the weather man is wrong.

 

 

 

The Difference in a Day

How much difference can there be in just one day? Here’s my answer to that . . .

Yesterday: I began the day with long sleeves and long pants, but by noon I changed into short sleeves, capris, and barefoot.

Today: Layers are needed, warm fleece, soft knits that hug, and cozy socks.

Yesterday: Bright blue skies, winds that played with the leaves still clutching their branches.

Today: Gray skies, dampness that chills, winds that howl.

Yesterday: Lounging on the patio, savoring the warming rays of sunshine while enjoying the final pages of a book, iced tea at hand.

Today: Barricaded in my office, a small space heater to take the chill off, steaming coffee at hand.

Yesterday: During the night, a sheet for a cover, occasionally tossed aside.

Tonight: A fleece blanket will be tucked close to my chin trapping the warmth.

It seems that winter has announced he is back and plans to stay for quite a while. Sigh . . . one day makes a difference.

 

Celebrating Mother Nature

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

What can you celebrate? Share your celebrations with the world at Ruth Ayres Writes.

This week Mother Nature has been moving back into our world. The sun spent more days shining than hiding. It is amazing what a little warmth can do for plants. Trees are beginning to cast aside their browns and grays for shades of green. Each day the world grows slightly more colorful. It is a season to celebrate the renewal of life!

These images will celebrate for me this week, rather than my words.

Look in the center, do you see the image of a phoenix rising?

Look in the center, do you see the image of a phoenix rising?

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013 015 007

The view opposite of the rainbow.

The view opposite of the rainbow.

 

 

Again? Really?

Early morning you were a mist,

Dampening the world.

Soon your voice could not

Remain silent,

Tick, tick, tick,

Pellets crashed against the panes,

Reminding everyone of your power.

Silence again,

Wet flakes fling down from above,

Filling in the gaps between grass blades,

Frosting rooftops,

Glazing sidewalks and streets.

Wind sends you careening sideways

Swirling out of control.

At the end of the day

You rest.

You have created another polar landscape.

Could this be your last?

Snow, Again

Snow is best appreciated when you can snuggle in with a cozy comforter, mug of hot liquid, and a book upon your knee at home.

Snow (or impending snow) is not appreciated when you are at an inner city school modeling writing lessons. The rooms buzz because there will be a two hour early dismissal. Classroom teachers are busy notifying parents of the early dismissal. Lunch must be served earlier than usual. Plus the classes are taking a computer assessment every day this week.

However, due to the early dismissal, I am able to combine two classes. There is only one class that I cannot meet with today.

I grab my sandwich from the fridge and head out the door. Snow is sifting down from the gray skies. Streets are still clear as I make my way to the highway. The sifting snow now becomes a pelting snow, flying into the windshield, trying to pierce the glass.

Brown jumbles of shrub limbs become outlined in white. The white dashed lane dividers disappear on the road. I land in the most cleared lane. Traffic continues to move steadily, as the visibility diminishes. I scan the road ahead looking for taillights as a warning.

Road signs warn of road conditions ahead. Cars did not heed the warning, their position along the road makes me wonder how they came to be there. Cautiously I continue on my journey. The road becomes narrower as the snow claims more and more real estate.

Finally, I pull into the garage. I breathe a sigh of relief. My fingers flex to work the tension out. My neck cracks as I turn my head. Tension evaporates from my body.

Yes, snow is best appreciated when you can snuggle in with a cozy comforter, mug of hot liquid, and a book (or computer to write a slice and read slices) upon your knee at home. I can appreciate the snow now.