All day long I had been hearing an impossibly soft, tiny mewing. I went out and looked and looked, but saw nothing, so I went back to working on prepping canvases. The next time I stepped out of my studio to walk down the stairs to my cottage, I saw Catalina holding her kitty, Cattriona.
I knew right away that Cattriona was the source of the tiny mewing I had heard...she was calling for her Faery cat-mom, Catalina. Like any good cat-mom, whether Fae or human or cat, Catalina had searched for her wandering fur baby until she found her. I could see by the sparkles that their happiness at being reunited was growing...
Until, in a flurry of sparkles, they vanished. An echo of joyous laughter and happy purring drifted past me on the wind, then all was quiet.
"And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove's
The one only dwelling on earth that she loves." Wordsworth
The image is from Pinterest. Such a darling little cottage...
I've been sitting by the fire in my own little cottage for the past hour listening to the RAIN! We won't get a big accumulation, but, as my Scots friend says, "Some is better than none."
And...the Christmas decorations are still up. I consider them Winter decorations, too, so I don't take them down until I see the first Pussy Willow bud. Considering the strange weather, that might be any day now...
This is Oblivia, out there dancing in the cold, oblivious to the nearly freezing temperature. That's not why her name is Oblivia, though. Faeries don't feel the cold, nor do they feel the heat. The temperature for them is always perfect, or so they say. They do seem to like sitting by the fireplace in my studio when I have a fire going in the winter. Oh, her name. Her baby sister couldn't pronounce Olivia, it always came out Oblivia, so that's what she's called. She says she likes it better anyway...
This is Highway 18, known as "Rim of the World Highway" right before the turn off to Lake Arrowhead. I took this in December of 2013...I think this was the only decent snowfall we had that year. There's actually a car in the photo, but it's a dark car so it barely shows up. If you can see it, it gives you some perspective, even though it was a small car.
All the complicated details
Of the attiring and
The dis-attiring are completed!
A liquid moon
Moves gently among
The long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
Against a sure winter
The wise trees stand sleeping in the cold.
"If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited, it will calm you." William E. Gladstone, a British Prime Minister in the late 1800's.
I always wondered how tea could do all those things at once, except for the warming and cooling part. I knew caffeine is a stimulant and mild anti-depressant, but I didn't know, until after reading an article today, that tea also has natural chemicals that, in a combination found only in tea made from the Camellia sinensis plant and no where else in nature, will soothe and calm. Black tea, green tea, white tea - all have these properties.
This is around the 3,600 foot level of Highway 18 going up into the mountains. It climbs higher and higher, eventually going all the way up into Big Bear, elevation 7,000 feet plus, then descending down the "back side" into Lucerne Valley, which is in the Upper Mojave Desert. If you look closely (left click on the photo to enlarge it) you can see where the highway winds up higher by looking for the light-colored beige areas where parts of the mountainside were blown away to create the highway. It is a marvel of human ingenuity, I suppose, and I'm guilty of using it frequently, but I wish they had not kept "improving" it. It was only a one lane dirt logging road when it was first built, and that made it very hard to get up here. Now, it's four lanes wide. Well, up to the Crestline Bridge turnoff, anyway. After that, it's only two lanes wide, but still....
"For most people, reality is as simple as a painting, hanging before them in their frame of reference, understood and unquestioned. I live with the awareness that under the apparent painting are countless layers, previous scenes that have been painted over. Any physicist well-schooled in quantum mechanics or chaos theory knows that reality is a beast of mysterious dimensions and potentials and that the more we learn, the more we realize how much we don't know." Dean Koontz
Winter sunset at Lake Gregory, Crestline. Taken at 6:35 p.m., 7 January, 2015 - in the summer the sun would set right behind the center of the trunk of the tree on the left foreground, just above the line of the dark pines behind it, at around 8:45 p.m. (I think; I can't remember the exact time). Three minutes after I took this photo, it was dark.
I love the spare, elegant beauty of deciduous trees in winter. I was visiting a friend in Crestline yesterday afternoon, and we took a walk around Lake Gregory. All the lakes up here are so low, it's heartbreaking. You can't see the exposed shoreline in this photo; I didn't take any photos that showed the shoreline. I keep hoping for big rains. Maybe it will happen. But it was a lovely walk, nonetheless, breathing in the cold, damp air scented with pine trees, water and the wood smoke from a few fireplaces.
"Cats sleep anywhere,
Any table, any chair,
Top of piano, window ledge,
In the middle, on the edge,
Open drawer, empty shoe,
Anybody's lap will do,
Fitted in a cardboard box,
In the cupboard with your frocks -
They don't care!
Cats sleep anywhere." Eleanor Farjeon 1881-1965
And, apparently, in any position! (This is Lucy-fur, our youngest).
Moonlight Beach, San Diego, California. Via Pinterest, this photo is from the website "Ordinary Traveler.com" and was taken by either Christy or Scott (no last name given). They have so many beautiful photos, and many are for sale. (I don't know them, I just think they take beautiful photographs).
Is that a bear sleeping in a cave in a glacier high, high up on the side of a mountain?
Nah. It's a piece of wood stuck in the snow that's on the birdbath in my little studio garden. (I "helped" out the first photo with some clumsy Photoshopping. Sigh. I'm never going to be a digital artist wizardess).
This is what the San Bernardino Valley looks like at night from around the 5,400 foot elevation (1,645 meters). The black area behind the wildly waving bushes (the wind was crazy strong on December 23) is part of the foothills of the San Bernardino mountains. The wide swath of lights in the middle are, from right to left, or West to East, parts of Los Angeles County and Orange County, with the largest portion being the San Bernardino Valley. The hills in the upper middle part of the photo separate San Bernardino County and Riverside County. That little white speck up in the sky is a plane.
Looking a little more to the West. That little white speck in the bottom right is a car wending its way down Highway 18.
On the left (East) is San Bernardino County. In this photo, there are a lot more of the lights of Orange County and Los Angeles County. And see the faint, sort of olive green line that starts at the right side of the photo and gets fainter in the center of the photo? That's the Pacific Ocean.
It started snowing the evening of December 30 and snowed all night long. Only a few inches were predicted, so I guess that's why no chain control stations were set up (these are where cars that don't have snow tires and/or four wheel drive are told to put on chains or turn around and go home). What a mess! The snow that landed on the warm pavement of the roads melted at first, then formed a solid sheet of ice. Then the tiny, dry flakes of "powder" snow that the mountains of the West are famous for fell. Not a lot; only about eight inches here. But, trying to drive in these conditions without a four wheel drive with chains on all four tires is like trying to walk over a glass floor that's covered with marbles without falling. Lots of people were stranded in their cars and there were quite a few minor accidents. Thankfully, everyone was rescued and no one was hurt.
By the next day, chain controls were in place and even more people, hearing about the fresh powder, came up to our ski resorts. Good news for the ski resorts and all the merchants!
I spent a quiet day today curled up by the fire drinking tea, cuddling cats, noshing on too many leftover goodies from last night and reading...after I watched the Rose Parade, of course! A New Year's day without the parade would be unthinkable to most Californians.
And some other Wildings, big and little, who kindly share their forest with me:
Miss Sunni, a Grey Squirrel
"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Mountain Lion
A Black Bear
A Young Steller's Jay
Common to high altitude forests all over the west
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Our task must be to free ourselves...by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. ~~ Albert Einstein
June Is Adopt a Cat Month
But, there are always strays who need a loving home - so don't shop, ADOPT! Click the photo for helpful tips on adopting.
If they breathe, they live. If they live, they feel. If they feel, they love. If they love, they are aware. If they are aware, they have a soul. ~ Williams
I love cats because I enjoy my home and, little by little, they become its visible soul. Jean Cocteau
Courage, dear heart ~ C.S. Lewis
I think we are bound to, and by, Nature. We may want to deny this connection and try to believe we control the external world, but every time there's a snowstorm or drought we know our fate is tied to the world around us. ~~ Alice Hoffman
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers.
Charles W. Eliot
A person who collects or is fond of books. Also, a person who immediately feels safe, happy, even euphoric, when holding a favorite book.
Where there is tea there is hope - Pinero
Care for a cuppa?
Boulder Bay, Big Bear Lake
Click to visit Big Bear
Lake Gregory, Crestline
Click to visit Crestline
Click to visit Lake Arrowhead
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. ~ John Muir, from "The California Mountains"
A Favorite Quote
"I don't want life to imitate art; I want life to BE art." Carrie Fisher
I live in a little cottage with my furry "children" in a beautiful mountain forest where we enjoy daily visits from the little wild creatures. I love animals (you probably guessed), books, photography, tall trees, clear lakes, rain, snow, tea, the moon, and creating all kinds of art.