After watching the Olympics for days now, I decided to go check out some of our home grown skiers and snowboarders. Tyrol Basin is right up the road from us, and so I drove up there to see what is going on.
This hill has been around since I was a teenager, and it continues to provide great recreational opportunities for the winter. We don't have mountains here, so this hill has to do. It wasn't very busy, and the sun was so warm, it was gloriously relaxing sitting there watching people of every age out for a ski.
There was a group of snowboarders that were really fun to watch. They had the swagger down, if they didn't have all the moves yet! The last picture shows three of them on the ramp at once... they were coming down in a line, and went down like dominoes, when the first one fell, and surprise the second when he came over the hill...then came the third. Didn't seem like a great idea to me. But I am old and know my bones are brittle!!
I really went there to take my daily challenge photo - "S" + transport = where else could I go!
Because of the lack of elevation, Tyrol tends to be populated by beginners and snowboarders. They seem to have a lot of bumps and slider (or whatever they are called) for the boarders, and there were multiple lessons for the beginners. Note the aforementioned triplets on the snowboard hill in the picture below.
It is snowing all day again today... again...at times almost white out conditions. There is a trail across from our house that is my walking trail for three seasons, but in the winter it becomes a highway for the snowmobiles, so I usually stay away. Today I decided to use them as my models! I wanted to check out the trail in this pristine snow, and I was pretty sure they would be showing up. The walk to the trail was daunting! I have a whole new respect for all those snow sports I have been watching from the comfort of my chair. The snow was powder and deep and took quite the slog to make it to the trail. The trail was a bit easier, and really beautiful.
During the summer, I share the trail with bicyclists. They are a quiet crew and often take me by surprise as the come up from behind. The snowmobiles give lots of warrrrrrrrrrrrrrning and the buzz can be heard for quit a distance.
It has been a long cold winter here, and for the first time in my life, the white is getting to me; Maybe because I am older, maybe because I am noticing more as I photograph, maybe just because there really has been a lot of it. I am starting to understand that old tale about the native people of Alaska having fifteen words for the color white. Because, as I write this, I realize it isn't the white I am sick of, but the monotone. While the sky is blue and the snow sparkles, it is beautiful. The deep blue to violet shadows are what has moved pleine air painters throughout the years, but we have had day after day where the sky and the fields are virtually the same no-chroma hue. During mid day they match, at other times the sky is a bit darker, and then sometimes the ground is a bit darker than the sky. Only the orange traffic cones and yellow yield signs stand out. The tree silhouettes were once intriguing, but are getting just a bit "been there, done that" by now.
Late yesterday afternoon I took a trip to the Post Office, then decided to cruise around and look for some photo ops in the area. As I was driving, I noticed a crack in the gray. a pinkish glow started appearing on the horizon, breaking the line between the sky and the ground. It was a subtle change, but one I welcomed with open arms and shutter. I took the shot and got back into my car and drove a short way up the road for a different perspective.
As I stood there (avoiding the splash of snow and slush from passing cars and trying desperately to keep my fingers from freezing) the sky started to change. The heavens opened up...literally. I could almost hear the angels sing (or maybe it was just NPR on my car radio). There was blue and pink added to the gray, and pattern to the sky and texture came out with the shadows. And within moments it had changed to this:
I have stood many times looking at the Monet haystacks in the Chicago Art institute, and marveled at this pioneer of impressionism and light. One of my favorite places on earth is the badlands - the vast minimalist landscapes there change with every cloud or hour that passes. Light changes everything. There is a white barn down the road from us. It is my haystack. I pass it daily, and never pass without checking out the lighting... here are four of my recent snaps of the "white Barn"
I have been thinking of all my customers (you?) a lot lately (for obvious reasons!) And I will miss the interaction I have had with each and everyone of them (you?). Without choosing a target demographics, I seemed to have found one, and oddly enough they were a lot like me! Women of a certain age (and that might be chronological, mental, or emotional!) who take on life with a grain of salt and a bit of humor and march to a slightly different drum beat.
I am amazed at the number of teachers who wear my garments to class. Fellow artists and craftsmen liked them. (my jewelry and handbag collection grew at ever show, as I did trades!) Women who knew what comfort brings to our lives wear them, and people who just want to wrap them selves in a bit of warmth, color, or recycled fabrics, bought them.
But what got me most was how nice they (you) all were! In this day and age of snark and vitriol in our entertainment and on-line, and our impersonal lives outside of our homes, it is easy to forget how really wonderful people are. I have been invited to homes, had generous offers for supplies, been graciously forgiven for slip-ups, been entrusted with making memories, and so much more from so many through the last six years.
Yesterday I ran into a different tribe of these women. In my photo group, we have started challenging each other to take "people photos". So far, if I didn't know the subjects, I have done this with subterfuge and secrecy, but yesterday I went for straight forward honesty. I decided to go to the Sow's Ear. It is a fantastic refuge in a near by town. Mostly yarn shop, with the added benefits of coffee, bakery and lunch, it is always filled with people who are not in a hurry (those that are, take their coffee to go).
My husband jokingly (and endearingly) refers to "the Crones" - my own small local tribe of women who laugh and sip, occasionally travel, make things, hug a lot, and love each other, but also understands how much they all mean to me. He loved to watch me interact with my non-local "crones" at the shows. Usually he would be on a bench near by chuckling as he listened to us "ohh" and "ahh" and twirl and talk and become friends over recycled scraps of sweaters! I know I will miss you all... and I think he will too!
Yesterday we drove down to Chicago to attend a memorial service for a wonderful man. He was my cousin's husband and a gentle, intelligent and compassionate human. One of those good people who just go through life making a huge impact with little fanfare. May you rest in peace, Norm.
If you are really into history, click here for blog posts prior to 2014 !