Monday, February 16, 2009

Today's Gift

Every year on President's Day, our local service
unit hosts a mid-winter conference.

Vicki, the Young Thing and I all wanted
to go to "Motivating the Unmotivated."
(So what if it was a little self-help I was looking for?!)

Instead, we got to attend 
"Instructional Strategies to Differentiate for Students".

I wasn't really excited about the topic
because I really wanted to be in the other session. 

In fact, I was kind of pissy.

After all, Vicki and I went to a three 
day conference on this very topic last summer
and I wanted something new and exciting. 

We differentiate on a daily basis.
We have to in order to survive in our classroom.
What can I say?

Lunch was good.

I got to visit with Linda who lived next door to us as we were growing up.
I got to visit with one of my college professors.
I got to see my 7th grade English teacher.

But the best part was getting out at 3:00.

That was like an unexpected gift ....
especially since the weather was so nice.
I drove home all excited about the prospect of being home in the afternoon with daylight left.  Sure, the week-ends have daylight, but it just isn't the same.

I never get home before o'dark thirty so this was truly a gift.

This is usually what it looks like as I drive around the lake.
While it is beautiful, it is too dark to go hiking by the time
I actually get home and change clothes.

So today I decided to take advantage and take
the Doodles and the big dogs for a run.

Let me clarify that .... they run, I trudge along.

Naturally, I had exhausted my batteries taking pictures of the New Arrival so I opted to forego taking my camera along.  It figures that the Doodles scared up two pheasants and a pair of deer.  Of course if I had had my camera with me, this is probably all I would've gotten anyway:

(photo courtesy of istock royalty free pics)

Of course, without the lush green background.

Instead my background would have looked more like this:

Actually, it would have been nice to add that image
to my collection of "animal butt" photos.

Why, you ask, do I collect animal butt photos?
It's simple really.  I have this theory that any kid's book that has the word
"butt", "poop", or "fart" in it becomes an instant best seller.
Just ask Dav Pilkey.

I have considered writing a children's book about animals butts
and have collected butt photos for about six years.

I figure if it has the picture as well as the word butt,
it's bound to be a hit.

But I digress.

About the time a Great Blue Heron swooped up in front of me
and landed on a branch not more than twenty feet away,
I was really cursing myself for not bringing my camera along.

I was cursing myself for not being bright enough
to charge my battery while I was suffering through the in-service.

I was cursing myself for not at least bringing my old camera.

Then I quit cursing myself and went back
and fetched my trusty old camera that takes regular alkaline batteries.

Of course I didn't have any of those type of batteries either,
so I did the only logical thing.

I stole them from Mardell's mouse on her computer.
Please don't tell her.

This is the time of year when I am desperate for a sign of spring
so I set off with the hopes of finding some small inkling of the change in seasons.


No bats in my bat houses yet, so it can't be spring.

All I saw there was trim that still needs to be painted.

No blooming sunflowers in my garden, so it can't be spring.

All I saw was a drooping head waiting patiently for the chickadees to discover it.

My destination was Little Lake Alice, so I set off on our well-worn path.

One might think I did lots of hiking because of this trail ...

but one would be wrong for thinking this. 
The trail is courtesy of my dogs.

Chip of course thinks he owns the entire pasture.

I hadn't gone far before I discovered that 
Benny wanted to be a big dog too.

Of course, he is very serious when he picks up a scent.

We don't have God complexes at our house.
Rather, we have Dog complexes.

"Hey, wait for ME!" Zeda, our one-eyed cat exclaims,
"I'm a big dog, too!"

Determined to find some sign of impending spring, we continued on.

No fresh cat-tails in our cat-tail marsh, so it can't be spring.

All I saw were old, exploded ones.

No buds on the tree branches yet, so it can't be spring.

All I saw were toppled over trees that need to be chopped up this summer,


and pesky tumbleweeds that need to be eradicated.

No sticky sweet milkweed pods, so it can't be spring.

All I saw were dried up pods, gently rustling in the breeze.

Wait, there's a definite sign of spring!

Flocks of Canadian Geese and Canadian Snow Geese on the lake.

For the past week or so, we have had hundreds of geese in the fields and on the lake.

That's a sure sign that spring is just around the corner!

Of course, my dogs (the little blobs marked with blue arrows)
see something entirely different ....

 ... a walking buffet.

Life is good when you have waterfowl to bark at and chase.

Ahh, mud.

Definitely a sign that the world is
thawing and spring is just around the corner.

Unfortunately, the sun began to set and I had to turn back.


But I was grateful for this hike and can hardly wait to document the actual arrival of my favorite season.


SisterTwo said...

I agree I can't wait for spring! I realize we haven't had huge amounts of snow or bitter cold spells. But it's not spring.

The only bad thing about spring is what crawls out of their dens. That would be the ONLY plus to winter... no rattle snakes.

Sue said...

What a beautiful piece - can't you have this published in something?