If we were having
coffee beverage-of-choice, I’d apologize in advance for showing so many photos in one post, but I’ve been playing outdoors in my vast summer playground and I want to share it with you.
I have no idea how these photos appear for my readers because they appear differently on each of my 4 devices, and they appear differently by signing into WordPress vs accessing them via WP’s app. It’s that infinite technology black hole I’m unwilling to explore so I skirt the edges, praying my posts are acceptable to you without necessity for me being sucked into that vortex of electronic media machinations that would prove a cruel end to my blogging career.
“To lie sometimes on the grass under a tree on a summer’s day. listening to the murmur of water or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
Quote by John Lubbock
Colorado skies have been indescribably lively, lovely and destructive this spring. These pristine, almost virginal white thunderheads grace our foothills home with nature’s artistry, while promising to wreak havoc for our northern and easterly neighbors.
I feel guilty enjoying this stupendous sky art because I know these thunderheads become black with the fury of ferocious storms, hail and tornadoes as they race their way through Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.
We marvel at the heights to which these clouds climb; at the human shapes, animal images and fantasy dragons they form and erase. Our air has been so heavy with humidity, that I feel ocean breezes with nary a beach or wave in the state.
Our rain measurements are record-breaking (central Denver flooded yesterday with 2.5″ of rain and hail in less than one hour) and the exuberance of green, growing plants and shrubs can be seen throughout yards and fields.
Desert plants that have remained dormant for years in dry springs are blooming along trails. I’ve seen Queen Ann’s Lace towering well over six feet, and cattails in marshes are twice as tall as they’ve ever been.
As is our curse in Colorado, our infrequent rainy springs are followed by hot, drying winds, quickly turning the lush undergrowth to pernicious fuel for potential wild fires in forests or on the plains. We are grateful for our local and national teams of wildfire fighters who go anywhere, anytime to fight the raging infernos.
If you’ve never seen an air tanker fly overhead, barely able to stay aloft with its gravity-defying load of red slurry and its distinct engine drone … well, it’s second only to a military flyover in your adrenaline kick. Watching those lumbering tankers maneuver through the fire-fueled turbulent wind drafts to drop their load with precision, knowing they risk their lives for each drop … the word ‘grateful’ doesn’t seem to cover it.
Back to my playground …
This graceful heron returns ever summer to reside at a small pond about 6 blocks from our house. When I walk the trail around the pond, he sometimes flies away, but on lucky days he simply flies ahead of me a few feet to land again, and we repeat that dance circling the pond – me practically tiptoeing; he (she?) beckoning safely out of reach.
My town of Arvada is at an elevation of 5,400 feet (over a mile high).
Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja Coccinea), named for its clusters of spiky blooms that resemble a paintbrush dipped in bright red, orange or yellow, grows in many altitudes with varied colors associated with specific altitudes. In our Plains/Foothills 4,000-6,000 feet, we get the orange (C. Integra) plant; the Foothills/High Desert/Montana 5,000-10,000 feet gets the bright red (C. Chromosa) and the Subalpine/Alpine 8,000 feet to above timberline gets a lovely yellow (C. Occidentalis). Hiking high enough to spot that yellow beauty literally and figuratively takes your breath away!
Oh how I want to bite into those tiny pink/lavender nips of clover flower, letting that faint taste of honey treat my tongue. Alas pesticide spraying halted this summertime enjoyment decades ago. Kids today miss a lot!
Let’s head outdoors for weekend fun. Wherever you are; whatever you are doing, stay present.