Gratitude and the Grass River

Grass-River-FB

That’s the Grass River at the end of October. I don’t get over there very often, but I am immensely grateful that it’s there. It’s one of the many, many natural places in which I am happiest. Without its public trails and boardwalks, I would not have access to these wetlands that are beautiful year-round, and that bring serenity to my soul.
Grass-River-trails2

Perhaps because tomorrow is Thanksgiving – or perhaps because it’s the low-light time of year when negativity tries to creep into my mind – I’ve been more mindful of being grateful.

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. -Oprah Winfrey
Wintry-Grass-River

So tonight I am grateful for access to wilderness, and a husband who likes to explore it with me.
Grass-River-in-Winter

I am grateful for clothing that allows me to venture out into otherwise inhospitable conditions.
Grass-River

I am grateful for a warm home to return to.
Grass-River-reflections

I am grateful for my pets, who constantly make life interesting – and a dog who is more tolerant of my cats than they are him.
Grass-River-trails

I am grateful that I have such a wonderful family, including my immediate siblings and parents, my in-laws, my extended family, and our friends (who are the family we choose). We are so fortunate to share our lives with so many good people.
meeting-building

And I am grateful for you, dear reader, for joining me on this journey. Thank you – for reading, liking, and commenting. I appreciate your accompaniment.

What are you grateful for? Please feel free to comment, and spread the gratitude :)

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful. -Buddha

Happy Thanksgiving!

With a Vengeance

Over the weekend we enjoyed above-freezing temperatures. I took Petey for a his morning walks in between rainfalls, and didn’t even zip my coat. A couple days of liquid precipitation wiped out most of our snow piles, though some of the most recalcitrant ones clung to ditches and shadowy hillsides. Although dark with rain clouds, the weather felt positively spring-like, and we rejoiced.
barberry-droplets

But then last night just a little after sunset, the snow returned. Heavy, wet flakes jettisoned in hordes from invisible clouds above. All night they careened toward the earth, amassing in lumpy mounds on every available surface.

For a moment this morning, I thought Thanksgiving had come early, and that the trees had volunteered to bring the mashed potatoes. Then I realized it was just more snow, its burdensome heft perched on boughs and branches.
heavy-trees

The rain-turned-snow left the roads an icy mess, littered with downed branches. Area schools closed for the day, so the plows arrived later than usual – 12:45pm. We expect a reprieve tonight and tomorrow from winter’s early onslaught, but snow is on the docket again soon. Hey, it’s northern Michigan…isn’t always? ;)

Appreciating Snow…and Rain

This time of year is difficult for me. I’m an outdoors girl – I think we all know that by now – and it is tough to get in enough nature time. I’m not a morning person, but that matters less and less, since the sun isn’t a morning person right now either. Or an evening person. With a sunrise around 8:00 a.m. and sunset around 5:00 p.m. there just isn’t much day in the day.

So the other day, when the sun peaked out for a bit during the morning hours, I went traipsing about.
snowy path

I stopped just over the hill at the Seven Bridges Natural Area, where I was the first person to walk the snowy trails. There were some old footprints that had been covered in several inches of fresh snow, but that day it was just me and talkative river.
snowy bridge

Nature seems so desolate in November, void of color, but full of detritus. A girl can become downright depressed. In some ways, then, we’ve been blessed by the early heavy snows.
Snowy Rapid River blog
Snowy Bridge Smooth Water-blog

Winter will likely again feel too long this year, but the snow adds a cheerful touch for which I’m thankful.
snowy country barn

It decorates the remains of fall’s bounty, turning mundane sights into special, short-lived vignettes.
santa hats-3
Snowy Red Berries-blog

Yes, I am thankful for the snow, but I am also grateful for the past two days of rain that have melted most of it. It’s dreary as dreary out, but November is awfully early to be contemplating where to stack the snow from the driveway.
red at night

A Lot Can Change in a Week

Last week winter toyed with us. Snow poured down during the morning, and melted in the afternoon. Maybe it wasn’t settled in, but-ready-or-not, here it comes.

I dread November, not because it brings winter around here, but because the days are so short, and so drab. Last Tuesday, I grabbed my camera with a determination to find something in a rainy November day worth appreciating. I headed to the lake around sunset, aiming for a moody shot of the dark clouds hanging heavily over the western shores. I came away with this instead.

Torch Lake rain drops

One rainy photo, that I ended up loving even though it was rubbing my nose in the whole November rain thing.

Three days later, and winter returned broadcasting “I’m here!” With lake effect snow events, at least there’s a chance of something interesting going on. The snow often blows down off the lake in narrow bands, giving us sun-deprived northerners a chance to make some Vitamin D. And take dramatic pictures.

We’ve had nothing but snow, snow, and more snow since. I officially broke out the winter boots and snow pants for my morning walks with Petey. That stuff’s really piling up!

Sunset last night, and shots of our road this morning when I was out with the Petey Dog.

We were expecting around a foot and a half through this evening, but I think we ended up with about a third of that. Plenty to shovel, but not enough to have merited changing a couple of appointments. :-/

Lake effect snow still falls north of Alden tonight. I took the above raindrop photo about a quarter-mile north of that bench just one week ago. There was no ice then. Sheesh.

And that’s life Up North right now. Cold, snowy, and hopefully on our way to a great ski season.

If this post made you chilly, here are a couple of snuggle pups to warm you back up. These two girls are among Petey’s best buds, and were both rescues too. Second chances, FTW :)

Macro Monday – Snow Drops

We’re in the early snow season, and things are neither blanketed in white, nor are they colorful. As the first real snow falls, it melts on the warmer objects above ground, creating a world dotted with melted drops of snow. Since grand landscapes aren’t catching my eye, I’m looking for smaller captivating scenes.

Happy Macro Monday! If the bigger picture isn’t inviting, find the little things that are.
“There is always, always, always something to be grateful for.”