Frozen

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“Winter is coming.” George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

It’s February, and still winter. At least for some of us. I have seen some snow this winter, but not as much as I usually do. The theme for this week’s Sunday Still is Frozen. I digged out four of my favorite winter photos from last year. The photo above is Lassen Volcanic National Park’s visitor center, in February last year. Lots of snow! When I found this photo I felt a stronge urge to go snowshoeing.

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A short hike up from the visitor center takes you to Sulphur Works. It’s the parks most easily accessible hydrothermal area. Very intersting to see…if you can stand the smell. I used to spend almost every weekend hiking in Lassen Volcanic National Park when I lived in northern California. I miss it, and I work hard on finding new favorite places around here.

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A frozen Castle Lake (CA.)

My second favorite area for winter hiking in northern California would be the area around Castle Lake, and Heart Lake.

“Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.”
Mary Oliver

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I know that my dog misses our snow adventures. I’m trying to make up for it the best I can. Yesterday we had a fantastic afternoon in Red Rock National Conservation Area, outside Las Vegas (NV.) I will post photos from that adventure later this week. …and yes, there was some snow on the northern slopes of the Red Rock, but nothing like the photos in today’s post. What’s the weather like where you are? I hope you’re having a fabulous week!

Love,

Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share – Coffee By The River

The American River Photograph by Sagittarius Viking

The American River

Last week we had our virtual coffee date on the top of a mountain, this week I felt like having coffee by the river. Are you up for a coffee by the river? The photo above is from the north Fork of The American River, in northern California. Even though I’m not there physically right now (I’m in Las Vegas,) I’m fairly sure you don’t have to worry about it being too cold. Would you like some coffee? Or maybe tea?

When I was pregnant with my daughter, we had a ranch only minutes away from where I took this photo. I’d say that there’s a special kind of people that thrive in mountain areas. Just like there’s a certain type of people that are drawn to the ocean, and a completely different type of people that are drawn to the desert, not to mention the people that want nothing but being surrounded by peaceful, tall forest. Do you think the landscape kind of shapes people into who they are? At least partly? I think it does, if you stay long enough in a place.

When we lived close to the river in the photo, our 80 acres was right by Eldorado National Forest, and it was possible to ride your horse all the way up to Lake Tahoe. I saw black bears most every day. There was mountain lions in the forest. The abundance of edible plants, berries, fruits, and mushrooms in the Sierra Nevada’s was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. It was extremely appealing at the time, and I did a lot of exploring with my favorite horse Trigger. Actually all the way up until I was 7 months pregnant. The photo is of Trigger, and a very pregnant me, in Eldorado National Forest.

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I’m not exactly sure what kind of horse Trigger was ( I found him emaciated tied up behind a trailer, with his tongue almost completely cut off in the middle.) My best guess is that he was a Quarter/Mustang Cross. Or maybe just mustang? Anyways, he was pure awesomeness. Trigger was sure footed, and had an exceptionally smooth gait.

Most people that I met in Gold Country, was laid back, and hard working at the same time. They had some kind of day job, but their life was at home. Home was usually by the end of a backroad, maybe several back roads. Their was no trespassing sign on every fence, and don’t thread on me flags everywhere. It might sound hostile, but it didn’t feel like that. It was more like people had integrity, they wanted respect, and they respected your space as well. I kind of liked it. It had similarities with the little mountain town I grew up next to, in northern Sweden. If you had to run into Sacramento, the nearest big city (usually a once a month thing,) and got delayed, you could call the local feed store and ask them to drop off a bale of hay in your horse pasture, and you knew that they would. Shaped by the beautiful, and somewhat harsh landscape, and a shared sense of survival?

How is your coffee? Do you need a refill? How is your week so far? What’s the weather like? The extreme cold chills that part of the country is experiencing are scary. I hope that you’re staying warm. Speaking of weather, I’m sure spring feels very far away for some of my friends, but I’ve started to go through my collection of heirloom seeds this week. In 2-3 weeks time we could realistically have perfect temperatures for starting some seeds here in southern Nevada. I will most likely do a smaller garden this year. I’ve ordered two very small green houses earlier this week, basically like two bookshelves, to start seedlings in. When they are bigger, I’m going to plant them in pots, that I’ll spread out along the fence line of the backyard. It’s kind of sad to not have a big garden and my own space, but I’m happy to be able to do some gardening. Even if it’s on a much smaller scale. I see it as a temporary setback, benefitting the bigger picture. I’m going to make the most out of it. Do you have any plans for a garden this year?

What’s going on in your universe? Any fun plans for the weekend? Thanks for enjoying some coffee by the river with me. Feel free to grab a refill 🙂

Love,

Ms Zen

A Mindful Weekend In The Mojave Desert, part 2

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Last weekend I escaped the craziness in Las Vegas, and along with my dog I went for a zen weekend in the desert. To me it seemed like the perfect thing to do, before Christmas. I shared some photos in my last post. Here is some more of my favorite photos from that weekend.

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The Mojave Desert is a harsh, but very spiritual, place. It’s as much a matrix as anything else in my life has been. Growing up in the desert has a different gestalt than growing up in a temperate zone, with its humidity and rainfall. As children growing up in the Mojave, we chased lizards and snakes, instead of frogs and squirrels. There is an arid openness about it, and a true feeling of being alone, that you don’t get in any other type of environment.
James Stanford, Shimmering Zen

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I did several hikes last weekend, but this was one of the most memorable ones.

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The gestalt of living in the desert, surrounded by the desert, was a big influence in my life and in the lives of other artists in this community. There are many artists and musicians who grew up as lonely kids in the desert with nothing to do, and who chose to channel their focus inward. In the Mojave Desert, numinous, mystical experiences are not as rare as one might think. The numinous is a part of the whole artistic experience for the desert artist.  James Stanford

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James Stanford is a local contemporary artist that I admire. I think it was fitting to match some things he have said about living in Mojave, to my photos from last weekend.

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I’m going to let this beautiful Buckhorn Cholla be the last photo for this time. I hope your Christmas was fabulous! My daughter arrived safely, and it was a Christmas filled with love, laughter, good food, and a trip to Mount Charleston. Yes, we did see some wild horses too.

Love,

Ms Zen