Through next weekend, Denali Borough will be celebrating Winterfest. We will NOT be short on snow. I shoveled for a good 30 minutes this morning. It’s still coming down and you can’t really tell any more just how much I shoveled. 😉
Driving home from Talkeetna last night, the scenery was beautiful. Until the sun set. Then it was pitch black all around me.
In the spirit of the haiku we have been writing all winter here at Denali, I thought of a new one:
Moon and stars will guide the way
Winter way up north
Do you ever write poetry? I never used to. But the 5-7-5 Haiku has drawn me in this winter. I now find myself counting syllables when I think up some creative phrase.
Blowing, swirling all around
Winter’s not done yet!
We’ve all had that feeling.
Life is always greener on the other side of the fence.
This week happens to be the 7th (really??? SEVENTH?) annual RMNP Forums STOMP event.
I’m not there.
Neither is Bill or Sandy. Or Charlie. Or a few other people. But the first three are my companions of the hour.
We’re all whining. We’ve all been sick. (OK, so the fever and sinus/throat issues aren’t the reason I’m not there, but, well, they made their nasty curtain call just at the right time.)
It’s amazing how a group of friends can get to know each other so well. It seems like just yesterday, I met Bill. And Aaron. But really, Bill and I have been arguing baseball for more than 7 years? How long have Aaron and I been calling each other names?
Time sure flies.
In honor of my friends who are snowshoeing and building igloos in Rocky Mountain National Park this week – and those of us who are elsewhere – I’d like to share Bill’s blog entry from today. He writes so well; I couldn’t have said it any better! Check it out:
I’ve been sick off and on for the past few days. My body sort of feels like a Mack truck hit it. Fever, chills, aches, you name it… So I haven’t been very productive. Except as a germ factory.
I’ve been at home on my couch all day today. Sometimes asleep and snoring because I’m so congested. Yes, my own snoring wakes me up. I don’t snore much under normal circumstances.
So anyway, I’ve had lots of time to think. My mind has been racing; my body just can’t keep up. I’ve been reading blogs and notes on Facebook from old friends, former classmates and acquaintances. One such blog listed “100 Things About Me” written by a high school classmate of mine. Some of those facts I knew, some I didn’t. Her list inspired me to write my own list….
Without further adieu…
- No, I haven’t forgotten about “The Trap” which was mentioned in my most recent blog entry before this. It’s still a program in progress and will be added on here tomorrow if I feel up to it.
- This winter, I’m living in a little dry cabin in Denali National Park and Preserve. Yes, it is easier than you think. I like the simple life.
- This is my third National Park Service site to work at.
- Before this, I was a ranger at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state for 20+ months. You should see what 12 feet of remnant snow looks like on July 2. Snowapalooza 2011 has NOTHING on Mount Rainier. Mount Rainier is the snowiest place in the Lower 48 states. (So this wasn’t all about me, but it’s one amazing mountain and deserves recognition.)
- I love the summer season at Mount Rainier. The wildflowers are amazing.
- Before Rainier, I worked for the Water Resources office of the NPS in Fort Collins. I crunched data. I liked that office, but I’m happier out in the parks.
- Did I always want to work for the National Park Service? I told my mom when I was 5 years old – we were on a family vacation at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado – that I wanted to be a ranger when I grew up.
- Yes, rangers tend to move around a bit. I’m not the first; I won’t be the last.
- I have arrived.
- I don’t need anything I don’t have. Except maybe sinuses and ears/nose/throat that aren’t subject to infections all of the time.
- I have had three sinus (etc.) infections this winter. Other than that, I’ve loved being at Denali.
- My body is a case study.
- My nose doesn’t smell (my mom’s doesn’t either). I like to think my other four senses are heightened because of this. But I really don’t know if they are.
- My eyesight is deteriorating slowly. Thanks, in part, to a severely scratched cornea that I had in 2006. That’s the only time I’ve worn contacts.
- I’ve never worn glasses except for sunglasses and safety goggles. But never fear; my time is coming!
- I have mild arthritis in both legs from a deformity which I was born with. Technically, I’ve been told by sports therapists that I shouldn’t run. I can’t run fast anyhow, so who cares?
- In November 2009, I had my gall bladder removed.
- The surgeon put me on a no-red-meat diet.
- My Republican, flag-waving father LOVED that. It’s a Liberal habit, after all.
- I had to remind him that I didn’t eat a whole lot of red meat BEFORE the gall bladder problems were discovered. I just can’t eat heavy foods like that.
- I’ve loved salads and fruits since I was a kid.
- Alaska and Washington are GREAT states to live in if you like fresh berries. Many wild species – which are ALWAYS better than farmed or hot-house varieties – of Vaccinium (blueberries and cranberries) and Rubus (raspberries) carpet the mountain slopes in every direction. In the fall, I rarely take snacks with me on hikes – just water. The mountains provide enough nourishment.
- My real food addictions are coffee and chocolate, much of which I have to plan ahead to get as a ranger in a National Park.
- Thankfully, the mountains provide more than just physical nourishment. Europe has cathedrals; North America has its mountains.
- Religion is a very touchy subject with me.
- No matter what I say, I’ll offend someone.
- I like approaching it from an academic perspective; either you do or you don’t.
- I believe in God, but most of the modern church in today’s culture either insults me or scares the crap out of me.
- Especially when they get mixed into politics.
- It took me a long time to get the courage to say that out loud. Since then, I have been a much freer person.
- I’d rather commune out in a park somewhere alone. Where there’s no distractions or peer pressure to be something I’m not.
- See? I told you I’d offend someone. (see #26)
- The only pastor – that I’ve actually heard preach on more than one occasion – that I still respect is the pastor of my childhood. Many of you know him.
- I love reading his daughter’s comments on my Facebook page.
- As an academic pursuit, I love comparing religions, church history, etc. etc.
- I am a nerd; I love learning.
- The Ph.D. will be finished eventually. Just don’t ask when.
- Because of my upbringing, I spent part of each day – usually either 6 or 7 days a week with the same group of people: my classmates. From Kindergarten until we graduated from high school.
- One of these (no longer) “young men” had a conversation with me on Facebook maybe 2 years ago.
- He told me that he’d had a crush on me in grade school. I thought we had a fabulous conversation! I loved hearing how he and his family are doing now.
- Most of the men I’ve dated or liked have been utter disappointments. I’m much happier single.
- One of my life-long best friends is a man. He’s not a disappointment.
- I’m touchy on that subject too. Peer pressure is a nasty thing.
- I’m from St. Louis.
- Next answer: Hazelwood Central.
- Give me a break; I’m broke because of grad school, but I turned out just fine.
- I have two other STL loves, besides family and friends
- The baseball Cardinals (you can’t argue with that)
- Fritz’s ice cream stand
- I’m going to get a Praline sundae in September when I’m in STL.
- I’m going to be flying in for my brother’s wedding.
- I’m one of the bridesmaids.
- I haven’t worn a formal dress – by choice – since high school. This is going to be awkward.
- I live in wool, fleece and uniform pieces.
- I hate all leg-related hosiery. Except my hand-knit wool socks.
- I have like 25 pairs of hand-knit socks that I’ve made for myself.
- I haven’t bought socks – not even the required NPS uniform socks (gasp!) – for about 8 years.
- I had one supervisor at Rainier who encouraged me to wear my colorful creations, even though they were breaking uniform regs.
- I thought that supervisor was cool.
- She didn’t follow rules just to follow rules and be liked.
- I hope to buck trends and think for myself in an equal manner some day.
- I know. I just offended a few more people.
- This same supervisor taught me how to hunt for wild chanterelles in the Cascades.
- I won’t spend money on chanterelles from the grocery store. They always disappoint me. Yes, I have tried grocery store chanterelles. But I did dehydrate a batch last fall at Ohanapecosh and the remainders are up here with me in my cabin’s freezer.
- Both white and yellow chanterelles are now my favorite mushrooms. They are great, sautéed with butter and garlic over pasta.
- I might also add peas and sun-dried tomatoes to such a dish.
- I like peas.
- Actually, I like most any vegetable.
- Except bitter greens. Unless they have bacon in them. Sadly, I can’t do this much. (see #17-20)
- I’m not a picky eater; I love almost any ethnic food.
- The one thing I really don’t like or eat is liver.
- I think it’s a texture thing. I’m not really sure.
- I’m hungry now.
- I wish I had some Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch or Dublin Mudslide.
- Yes, it’s -10F outside right now, but Alaskans eat more ice cream per capita that most other states.
- I am one of THEM.
- I’m not quite a true Alaskan Sourdough though.
- I do like having a shower house across the street.
- I have some sourdough starter ready for use on the counter.
- I’m going to make myself a pancake when I’m done writing this entry.
- I love all things sourdough, especially the sourdough doughnuts.
- I’m happy I mastered this recipe that my dad handed down to me!
- Since I’m staying home sick again tomorrow, maybe I’ll make doughnuts.
- I hate sick days. My body doesn’t want to move but my mind is still going.
- It makes me feel stuck.
- Being in my cabin here in Denali feels freeing, not “stuck”, unless I’m sick.
- I got my truck 9 years ago today.
- It has seen many miles and many mountain passes with me.
- That truck has been the most reliable vehicle I’ve ever owned.
- That truck was a smart decision – though some at the time doubted my sanity.
- I hate making decisions. They take me forever.
- Some people doubt my choices, but the times when I’ve followed my instincts, I have had no regrets.
- My cousin Kelly helped with the logistics of picking up the new truck at the dealership when it came in. (I ordered it from the factory, to my specifications, thank you very much.)
- Kelly is the older sister I never had.
- We don’t always agree on everything, but she’s always there for me.
- I’ll be staying at her house in September when I’m in STL for the wedding.
- I’ll be renting a car for that week, since my schedule will be crazy and I’m flying into town. I’ll be grateful to get back to my truck after dealing with a rental car.
- I’m going to have to get a new cell phone soon. The phone I’m using is 5 years old, but it’s the most reliable. I won’t be buying smart phone unless Verizon requires it of me. I’m not a doggy on a leash.
- I need reliable things that work when and how I want them to work.
- I believe strongly that, if you want things done right, you need to do them yourself.
- Prepare yourself for as many situations as you can and build as many skills into your life as you can.
- I love my skills, hobbies, projects and tasks at work, and I love working for our National Parks. It’s enough.
Ok, so that’s 102 Things. I don’t like following rules. (#103)
What inspires you?
Where does your inspiration come from?
What is the result of this inspiration?
I’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration today. Mostly because I feel a bit overwhelmed. So many things have inspired me lately. For knitting projects, for road trips, for meals, for future projects in the parks I work in, and for career goals.
At the moment, one of my tasks at work is to create a history-based snowshoe hike to be given at the upcoming Winterfest event here in Denali at the end of February. The hard part? This time of year, most of the historic sites around the Denali front country are covered in snow. Most are not even visible without significant shoveling.
I thought I was going to have to use a canned program for this hike – an outline created by one of the summer rangers. But this really didn’t fit, since I cannot physically get at some of the ‘props’.
But after watching the late David Larsen’s “Gun Talk”, I am inspired in another direction. I’m going to base my entire program on a single historic object: a steel trap used in the 1800’s and 1900’s used to ensnare animals.
How can a steel trap be the symbolic relic of a park? I’ll post my entire write-up in an entry later this week. For now, you can leave comments about what that trap might conjure up in your mind. How do those mental images make you feel?
Based purely on numbers, it would seem we had a busy day here at the MSLC. But really, we had a huge tour group come through this morning and it’s been relatively quiet ever since. I’ve spent a couple of hours watching videos, programs and interviews with David Larsen on (of all places) YouTube. He’s said a lot of thought-provoking things and given me quite a bit of inspiration for my history program.
When he died (way too young) last month, the National Park Service lost a great modern leader. He will continue to inspire those who take the time to listen.
My friends down in the Lower 48 are dealing with, what they have termed, “Snowpocalypse 2011”. Giant storms are blanketing the midwest and eastern U.S. and everyone is hunkering down. It makes me smile.
It’s +19F here in the Denali frontcountry. Earlier today it was +34F. Yes, that’s a heat wave for this time of year. It’s subsequently clouded over and started snowing again. The winds have picked up a bit too. Flakes are swirling around the MSLC, blowing off the roof in big gusts and it LOOKS like it’s getting colder outside.
Tonight will be another night to curl up in my cabin with an Irish coffee, turn a movie on, and attack the long list of UFOs in my knitting bag. And shelves. And purse. Ok, so my entire cabin is a study in “unfinished objects”.
I’ve been following the Yarn Harlot’s progress of Finishitupitis the past few days. I’m not sure whether I feel inspired or guilty. But hopefully, this little motivation will lead to good things.
The stress of jobs, moving, choices, etc. is even more fresh in my mind than yesterday. I received another interest/availability inquiry from another park that I applied to, so I might have another interview coming soon. It’s good that I have choices and opportunities, but it doesn’t make the choosing any easier.
I hope that, by keeping my mind on finishing (or at least working on) knitting projects tonight, I’ll relax, refocus and be productive tomorrow.