Midwestern Wanderlog

2015-03-03 – Amazing what you can see…

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Another day, another morning.  I might in fact be late for the first time this morning.

I slept better last night – think I only woke up once.  Once I’d actually gotten to sleep.  But I missed my evening reads of my DMP, the Scroll, and my positive-bias-building index cards (visit EllenLsMasterKey.wordpress.com if you’re curious about what that means).  It’s been happening more and more often lately. I need to do something to spice them up a bit, because they’re becoming nothing more than dull routine, and that’s not the way to maintain a good habit.

Got a bit of a dry, scratchy throat this morning.  Hope I’m not coming down with something.

Holy cow!  A fox!  Wow.  It’s way too dark to take a picture of him, but… wow!

Poor thing probably thinks I’m chasing him; I walk, and he trots up the path looking over his shoulder at me, pauses, then trots again, then pauses…  Almost looks like he’s denning in one of the culverts.

I don’t really want to walk this hill.  Wish I could magically transport myself to the top, take my pictures, then blink and be back down at the truck again.  I found out looking at the map that this trudge is .83 miles, and most of it is in an upwardly direction.

It was supposed to have snowed last night.  The one time I woke up, at about four I checked the weather report and it listed the current weather conditions here in Red Wing as minus 2 degrees and cloudy, but with no precipitation.  It is supposed to start snowing later.  We’re supposed to get less than an inch, which is piddly.  Which means I’ll probably have to allow an extra five or ten minutes for the hike tomorrow, since there’re likely to be places where the trail isn’t broken, if we do get that inch.

Shoot.  6:16, and only halfway up the first hill.  I’m behind.  Sunrise according to Farmer’s Almanac is 6:42 AM, and the Sunrise Free app, (which was the most accurate of the three yesterday) calls it out as 6:45 – and it’s so darned cloudy, there’s no way I can verify either!

You know, thinking of DMPs I should be listening to my DMP recording as I’m walking.

Maybe I should also explain!  DMP stands for “Definite Major Purpose.”  Basically, it’s whatever you once dreamed – or still dream – of being  under the trappings of normal, everyday life; your heart’s desire.  Some friends of mine and I are taking a course that is designed to help us identify what that is, and then give us the tools to develop the habits which will allow us to claim that heart’s desire.  Sometimes it takes a while to identify your purpose; for other people, it’s right at the top of their minds every moment of every day.

Heading up the stairs, my legs and hips ache, my throat is scratchy, and it’s only the third day in of 366!  (Yes, I know there are only 365 days in a year, but next year is a Leap Year, which means that February has an extra day.  The 29th of February will be the last day I do this.  And then I can go back to sleeping in.)

Kinda weird.  I can not only feel my heart thumping in my chest, but also the rush of blood through my veins.

You know, one morning I should take a little extra time and take a picture at the top of the Kiwanis stairs here of the town of Red Wing.  Should probably do that before the leaves start filling out.

Time check, top of the stairs – 6:23.  Nineteen minutes to get to my spot and set up the camera.

It really was funny, yesterday, when the alarm went off and I thought it was somehow coming from the NSP people.  Almost missed my minute of sunrise!

What I don’t get, really, is why this walk seems to be getting more difficult as time passes.  Trial run, I walked up this hill like nobody’s business.  Three days in, and I have to take a breather every half a hill!

It’s going to be another ‘lovely’ gray morning.  And the water in my pack is going to taste so good…

Mmm.  Lovely breeze – I’m overdressed for the walk, and subsequently underdressed for the wait.  And I can feel the precipitation starting.  If I didn’t know that the temperature was down near zero degrees, I’d swear this was freezing rain.  But, the thermometer is indeed almost zero Farenheit, which means these are just the teensiest, tinsiest ice pellets.

The breeze is definitely quite a bit stronger than yesterday’s.  It feels good now, but once I’ve been standing for a bit it isn’t going to feel quite so nice.

Well, at least my calves have stopped screaming at me.

Ooh, birdies!  Little tweety birds fly across the path in front of me – after seeds, most likely, whatever seeds are left after the winter.  It’s nice that this is a prairie area.  The birds, the deer – the fox! – and the rabbits, it’s nice that they all have a place to stay in the middle of a city.

Yesterday’s pictures turned out a bit crooked.  Which means that if I want them all to show exactly the same spot over the course of the year, I’ll either have to lay them all over top of each other and crop them all to the same dimensions, or take all the pictures just a bit crooked.

Today is not going to be as colorful.  But, if I’ve got the time and aperture set right, I should get some images of the snow itself, which would be cool.

You know, I’m very visible up here in my blaze orange (very warm) jacket.  I rather hope the people down at the NSP plant aren’t going to get upset when they see me up here every morning.  Stranger things like that have been happening since 9/11 – people getting afeared that someone else is seeking to hurt them, seeking to learn secrets and stuff like that, and then living in fear because of it.

Probably should keep the lens cap on until the moment of sunrise – I don’t need more spots on my photos, I don’t, I don’t!

Though it seems to help, having the F-stop turned up…

7:46:36 AM, 8.0 seconds at f/22, on ISO 100

7:46:36 AM, 8.0 seconds at f/22, on ISO 100

And now it’s icing in earnest.  I’d say ‘snowing,’ but these are definitely ice pellets.  And they sting – especially when they get you in the eyeball.

I think I’m almost disappointed.  The snow has virtually stopped by the time I’m taking the picture.  How’m I supposed to get snow sleeting through the shot if it stops falling before I hit the shutter release?

You know, the next time it snows I should maybe dress up and go outside, find an oak tree and just… listen.  It’s a peaceful, restful kind of sound, the sound of nature in harmony, the snow hissing over the oak leaves and down to the ground.  Love that sound.  Almost as much as I love the sound of thunder and rain on the roof.

Wow, this trail is iced over in spots, and this new stuff is making parts of it really slippery.  Not looking forward to the main hill.

Debating between taking a nap when I get home, getting chapter 4 of Shadowed Flight finished and sent off to Carolyn, writing up day three of this project, or starting to work on getting the website reconfigured.  It’s imperative that I not get behind on this project…

I’m thinking I should put my ice cleats on.

So one of our MKMMA projects these next two weeks is to spend 24-48 hours in what’s called “The Silence” – no phones, no email, no texting, no Facebook or Twitter no TV, no radio, no recreational books, nothing that will distract us from that quiet, still point deep within.  When a person meditates or prays, that’s the point they’re reaching for – your center, your core, a point of absolute balance, where you are still connected to your physical self but you’re also touching the part of you that is of the Divine, that part of you that supports, that guides, that is a deep inner wellspring of your own power.  If you don’t believe in the Divine, then you’re touching Source, Universal mind, however you want to call it.  The best way to understand it is to read Charles Haanel – alternatively, take the same course that I and some friends have.

But getting still physically and mentally, exercising discipline over body and mind, is the first step to touching that wellspring.

Now, we’re told that we will immediately start coming up with excuses for why we can’t do it.  There are folks, though, for whom 24-48 hours isn’t practical.  So I’ve invited my friend Leanne to accompany me on one of my sunrise trips.  I really hope she joins me.  Sure, it’s only an hour of silence, and I’m not physically still, but it’s nice to have someone to be silently companionable with.

Ooh, squirrel!

One of the nasty little red ones.  They used to drive my poor dog crazy.  They’d work in tandem, one distracting her while another raced around on the ground not fifty feet from her, doing whatever it is that squirrels do.

Depending what time it is when i get back to the car, I should swing by Express and see if they have any short-term positions available.  It would have to accommodate this sunrise project, though.

So, there were definitely tracks leading into an out of the culvert nearest to where I first saw the fox – not as many as you would expect if he were using it as a den, so maybe he was in there as a safe place to eat or something.

But it’s cool knowing a fox lives up here.  Hope I see him again.

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