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You might not want to sit here.


 Hello reader!  First of all, these photos were taken yesterday.  I felt suddenly silently called to visit Lake Superior’s shore, filled with a desire to photograph ice-forming pictures.  Imagine my surprise to discover the ice extravaganza which coated benches, gates and poles.  

The Keweenaw Bay, December 2009


 Walking out the boardwalk-pier proved very very challenging.  It required tip-toeing.  The entire boardwalk lay coated with a covering of ice.  One did not want to walk too quickly, slip and enjoy a polar plunge in the bay.  I wondered which recent day furiously frosted this lake-side world with thick ice.  

Swirl of sand and snow


 Much of the beach looked clean-swept with only dustings of snow.  Stones and snow slumbered together, bedmates for the winter.   

The way ice forms along the edge of Lake Superior


 The ice is forming along the edges of the lake.  Many predict an early ice-fishing season.  (I actually witnessed a surveyor/architect fellow walking on river ice today.  What craziness!  Was he nuts?  River ice is so fragile, so delicate, so thin.  I wanted to leap from the car and photograph his insane behavior.  Yet, did not want to embarrass the fellow.  My own brand of quiet insanity, you think?) 

And the wind bent the icicles backwards


 Today’s outdoor adventure involved an insanity of its own.  Heading out into the woods without snowshoes.  (You see now how the river-walker and I have something in common…although it still seems his venture might be a little more dangerous.)  I followed the ridge behind the house, the snow almost cresting the top of the boots.  It was a work-out trudge.  Kind of like going to the gym.   

Up close ice


I emerged on the road awhile later, nicely sweating, after communing with a woodpecker.  I caught a photo of him in flight, which perhaps you shall see on Sunday.  He pecked away on a dead tree.  I begged him to come closer, closer, just a little closer, but he looked down his long beak at me and said, “You are close enough, madam” and flew away to the next dead tree stump.  

Four ice-enshrouded posts overlook bay


Our temperature turned so mild today and crested above the freezing mark.  The ice in downtown L’Anse will undoubtedly have melted today.  Perhaps folks can amble down the boardwalk toward Lake Superior without slipping. 

As we approach the darkest day of the year, let us remember to walk carefully if we live in northern climes.  Ice is silently forming, preparing to transform our Great Lakes.

Woodpecker hole in hemlock drips with sap

Woodpecker hole in hemlock drips with sap

1.  Nature looks interesting close up. 

2.  You can make yourself go outside at 13 below zero and it’s certainly…invigorating.

3.  Overcome fears whenever possible.  Go up on the rooftop in the middle of winter, especially if the thought terrifies you.

4.  Keep moving through discomfort.  How much we miss because something feels uncomfortable!  While there’s a good kind of warning-discomfort that keeps us safe, there’s also plenty of discomfort which we avoid just because.  Moving through discomfort often fills us with energy, creativity and joy.  Note to self:  remember this.

5.  Let’s say you have a destination in mind.  An intention.  Like finding the full moon or visiting the cedar swamp.  Repeat this like a mantra:  It’s the journey that matters.  It’s the journey that counts.  It’s the journey which produces fifty interesting photos along the way.  By the time you get to the cedar swamp, you realize it’s almost still unnavigable in mid-April.  Who said you wanted to go to the cedar swamp anyway?  Set your intention, and then enjoy the trip.  Note to self:  remember this, too.

6.  Expect the unexpected!  Prepare to be surprised, or amused, or downright delighted.

Doesn't this look like the Easter Bunny hid a giant rock egg in the woods?

Doesn't this look like the Easter Bunny hid a giant rock egg in the woods?

7.  Don’t worry about what you’re going to write about the outdoor adventure.  Whatever you do, don’t stress out.  Relax.  Just take photos, and then you can sit down at the computer and start babbling about the pictures, if nothing else comes to mind.

8.  Don’t worry about who’s reading or who isn’t reading.  Don’t worry about what friends and neighbors will think.  Just be authentic, be yourself and stay in the in-spired creative energy.  Everything flows from that. 

Jump over this stream on the way to the cedar swamp

Jump over this stream on the way to the cedar swamp

9.  Climb every mountain.  Ford every stream.  Follow every rainbow…  You get the drift.  Don’t be afraid to try new things.  Go west, north, east and south.  Don’t let your mind convince you that there’s nothing else to do, no place else to go.  Tut, tut.  I have this theory that you could stay in your backyard and find enough to photograph and talk about for 365 days.  You could sit under a spruce tree and never move and Nature would whisper her secrets and you could share them every day in your own blog.

10.  Basically, every time your grouchy mind starts saying, “I can’t do that” or “I don’t want to do that”….85% of the time, ignore it.  Do it anyway.  Go outside.  Jump in the lake.  Ski down that hill.  (Oh, right, I AM ignoring that one.  The last time I skied my tail bone crashed into the ice and would hardly move for days.)  But you get the picture.

11.  Be prepared for beauty, everywhere.

Flash of red in the April landscape

Flash of red in the April landscape

12.  Always bring your camera every where you go.  Never, ever, leave the house without it.  The minute you leave it sitting by the computer, an eagle or owl or porcupine will introduce itself.  Guaranteed.

13.  Have fun!  Just open the door and walk outside…. 🙂

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