Clouds: Ragtag Tuesday Daily Prompt

Like Margaret, who provides CLOUDS as this week’s Ragtag Tuesday prompt, I prefer fluffy, white clouds scudding through the sky, perhaps calling to mind a bunny or a kitty, or reflecting in placid waters.

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But I was sure that most of the cloud photos in my own files would be of dark, forbidding, foreboding clouds, full of drama and threat. Maybe it’s a reflection of my mood, in the face of news of my country and our world?

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When I actually went looking I was surprised and pleased to find that, in reality, most of my cloud photos are dramatic, yes, but with the drama of sun dispelling darkness, of light peeping through, of hope.

Let’s be hopeful . . .

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Grousing in the Garden

I didn’t want to write this post. Really, I didn’t. 

I’ve resisted as long as I could and they’ve just worn me down with their whining and nagging and moaning.

My flowers are furious; They look pretty and dainty and harmless . . . don’t be fooled. They are relentless. 

They demand equal time! They point out that everybody else’s flowers have been featured on the internet, that they are every bit as attractive, and, dammit, they want their moment in the spotlight. 

The irises are irate.

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The viburnum are threatening violence.

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The lilies of the valley lament and lament and lament. All those tiny little voices, lamenting. Oy.

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The hostas are downright hostile.

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Catnip is caterwauling, under its protective armor to keep the cats from nipping it down to nothingness.

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Peonies are pouting, again. They’re not at their best yet but they remember a successful protest from years ago, and they are emboldened.

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So, my apologies for a post full of familiar flowers. I don’t even know all their names and it occurs to me that some may be weeds. I simply don’t care anymore. I just want them to stop their belly aching!

 And please, whatever you do, don’t tell them they’re pretty! 

Fun with Ice and Snow. And Wind.

I was having a little lie-down yesterday, on a bitterly cold but sunny afternoon, when the usually-placid cat on the bed started growling.

She was looking intently out the window and I thought, “Racoon.”

Not hardly!

This para-skier swooped and flipped and flew outside our windows for an hour or more, in spite of wind chills well below zero. Later, another guy joined him, so we had a pair-a-skiers. (Sorry.)

Steamy Weather

Yesterday morning, the outdoor temperature here was minus-25 Fahrenheit. For those of you of a Celsius persuasion, that’s almost minus-32.

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Pictorial evidence

 

That’s the cold of insta-frostbite. That’s the cold of “keep your pets in, no matter how much they agitate to go out.”

That’s the cold of “three cat nights” in bed, hot chocolate with boozy eggnog added in, and letting the mail pile up in the box because how important could it be anyway?

And it’s the cold of one of my favorite weather phenomena.

Our Lake Champlain water temperature is 36 degrees right now (about 2 Celsius). The bays are frozen solid enough for ice fishers to be out in their tents.

But steam is rising off the broad lake. Big billows of steam . . .

 

Flurries, with Blowing and Drifting . . .

Blowing and drifting snow?!

No, it was 90 Fahrenheit yesterday (about 32 C) in upstate New York–a record for the date. We don’t have snow but we have flurries and squalls and storms and drifts . . . of cottonwood seeds.

For 11 months and two weeks of the year we love our cottonwood trees (populus deltoides). The are very tall and offer lots of shade; they are tolerant of cold and flooding.

But for two weeks in June, they are more than a little annoying. In early June, they spread their seeds in small fluffs of “cotton” and the sky is full of this snow.

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The fluff covers the ground, and drifts and swirls in the breeze. Rain tamps it down but also turns it into a nasty mat that clogs downspouts and gutters. Cats track it in and the wind blows it into every open door.

The fluff sticks to sweaty skin and wafts into cocktails. It collects in spider webs and on the flowers of every blossom. This thin layer of fuzzy white acts as a scrim, blunting the bright colors of June.

The good news is that it lasts for only two weeks. By the end of June, the airborne fluff will be gone and only the residual mats of seed will remain. Oh, and the sprouts that I’ll be pulling for the rest of the summer.

In other early-summer-outdoor-news, every sunset seeks to outdo the previous night.

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IMG_7680And the goslings grow.

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Is early summer fulfilling your expectations and delighting you?

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Paradise, by the Morning Lights

I am pleased—nay, relieved—to announce that paradise has arrived chez nous.

Paradise, according to my standards, that is.

Your idea of paradise might be very different from mine. Yours might not include early morning walks, with long shadows and stunning green.

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Maybe you don’t care for birds singing and roosters crowing, and woodpeckers pecking. Maybe the sight of old cats finding their inner kitten and frolicking in the sun fails to impress.

Maybe you’re bored with flowers blooming and grass greening, and the sound of lawns being mowed. Maybe the uncurling, unfurling, of tender hosta leaves doesn’t move you.

A lake free of ice and full of sparkles, with boats venturing out in spite of the water temperature being a mere 40 degrees F (that’s about 4 C)—maybe that doesn’t spell paradise to you.

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The signs of spring and the hints of summer abound. The promises of things to come are all around.

My paradise isn’t a static place—paradise doesn’t stand still. It whispers and suggests and promises that even more and even better is . . . soon.

Peonies, Solomon seal, lilies of the valley . . . they will come.

Old chairs on new grass, and the good old, same old sun. Kayaks in the water, bikes on the road, hot dogs on the grill. Music and song at the campfire.

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And two of our favorite people will arrive from their Florida home and take up residence just down the road.

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My paradise is . . . well, paradise! I hope you have your own, whatever it looks like.