Thursday, November 12, 2009

SUNSHINE & FROST

When I went out to feed the ducks soon after sunrise, the thermometer read 27ºF, the coldest temperature here on the riverbank since late last spring. I could see crystals of frost sparkling in the grass.
Normally, when it comes to matters of proper attire needed while performing such brief chores, my theory is that inclement weather can't hit a moving target until it's had time to adjust its sights. I figure that if you concentrate on the task at hand, and hustle like the dickens, it doesn't matter what you wear. Or don't wear. A rain jacket or warm coat in winter. Or in mid-summer's heat, whatever drapes necessary to offset personal embarrassment or lead to being charged with a misdemeanor.
I must admit this strategy worked better when I was in my twenties. Either I was tougher back then, or else the old synapses have taken it upon themselves to begin firing protest messages to what's left of my mind at the first hint of pain and suffering. No longer do I dash barefooted and shirtless from tent to firewood pile in a mid-winter camp, bounding across knee-deep snow like a moose—then halting long enough on the return to stir the coals, add the wood, and possibly dig around in the nearby grub box for a handful of breakfast Oreos.
Nowadays, incipient wussiness—some might say common sense—regularly prompts a pause to consider probable clothing needs. Seeing that frost on the ground, I decided thin cotton sleep shorts and sneakers might not be sufficient for survival—so I donned an old tee-shirt before going out to scatter the day's measure of cracked corn for my breakfasting waterfowl.
In hindsight, this addition was barely sufficient (yes, there's probably a pun in there) but my hind…uh…quarters would have been a whole sight colder without that upper layer. As it was, I managed to fling the ducks their food, and scream at Moon the dog to get her butt right back in the house pronto! Then, seeing as how I was still dressed for fleeting outdoor forays—and knowing Moon's likelihood of paying attention to my injunction for speed in her morning peregrinations—I grabbed my camera and made a few shots of frost on the sycamore leaves and sunshine lighting up the sycamores upstream from the cottage.
In case you're wondering, I don't know the identity of that yellow bush which so far refuses to give up its leaves. But I can tell you this…as the year continues to follow its ancient path towards winter, not only will that yellow bush drop its leaves, but I'll have to find the box in the attic that contains my sweatpants!

22 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

That river of yours is full of surprises, Scribe - like that wonderful blue colour in the foreground - yes, and that bright golden bush.
There is something so beautiful about the combination of sunshine and frost. I particularly love what we call a hoar frost, when the ice crystals coat each branch with a kind of "fur".
Keep on feeding those ducks and thinking of them as "my ducks" - you may tempt them to stay all winter.
PS Don't forget to post a photograph of that river at the first fall of snow.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

You're right about the river's constant change in colors and moods—no two days or mornings or even moments are ever alike. What amazes me sometimes is when I shoot a dozen photos in a row of the same scene—just varying viewpoint or emphasis or focal length a bit—and then, when I upload them to the computer and take a look, this one is "cool" and that one "warm" and this other one filled with tones or shadows or bright glints that make all individuals, completely different.

We have hoar frosts here, too—and it's magical.

Oh, don't worry…first snow, first ice, first big snow, first blizzard—all we be photographed.

Rowan said...

You're braver than I am if you go out in 27F in a pair of shorts and a tee-shirt! I would require considerably more than that in those conditions:) Your photos, as always, are lovely especially the frosted leaves. Seeing everything rimed with frost is one of the things I love about early morning winter walks. You go and find those sweat pants though!

Gail said...

HEY GRIZZ-

Great pictures. and I love how you write as to converse with your mind about change or not - either way the dialogue and reasoning are fascinating. A bit of humor, a splash of common sense, a dripping of stubborn, an eye for detail and a voice that mean's business! You are ALL MAN!!!! and I Love it.
Love Gail
peace.....

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Oh, how I love the first photograph of the brown leaves with frost. It is an abstract beauty. I would frame and hang that one!!

Stay warm!

Bernie said...

Oh I love knowing that you are doing whatever you have to do or wear to feed those beautiful ducks. Ahhhhh I feel those ducks knew what they were doing when they arrived on the river by your home.
Love the second picture...:-) Hugs

KGMom said...

Best be careful or you'll freeze that...wusiness right out of you.

Written from sunny warm Houston, where I am temporarily residing, for the sake of a meeting.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Rowan…

Trust me, we're not talking courage—more like cowboy/redneck stubbornness. And a pure stupidity. I'm never sure why I do such things, and remain even more baffled at why I keep repeating them.

I will find those sweats, though!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

That'd be a big drip of stubbornness! I converse with my mind because I know it will lead me astray every chance it gets. One thing I've learned…I can't trust me not to screw up a perfectly logical action with some hairbrained goofiness. The problem is, I'm me and the me usually in control is—

Okay, I've confused myself.

Thank you for believing I'm John Wayne, even though I'm occasionally more John Cleese.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bonnie…

I liked that shot, too, if I do say so myself.

FYI, I don't have a single shot of mine framed, except one of my father from a fishing trip years ago. I keep think about doing up a few, though.

Beautiful, warm day today—but cold again tonight.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

My two white ducks adopted a little hen mallard duckling soon after their arrival on the river. Now the little hen duckling has grown and has a handsome male mallard, making them a four-duck family…all of whom I feed. And of course, the rest of the mallards along here are jealous and will come in and eat the cracked corn the moment I disappear—so I give my quartet first shot before coming back inside.

I think they're all quacking panhandlers who recognize a pushover when they see one. Yup, they knew full well whose cottage to hang around…

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

Sun, sea, sand, swamps, armadillos, and Pappasito's. Could be doing meetings in a worse place.

No danger of freezing my wussy streak out, BTW.

TheChicGeek said...

Hello Scribe :)
I enjoyed your riverside adventures this morning.
The first photo of the sycamore leaves with the frost on them is stunning! The colors and the lighting...you really should frame that one! It looks so beautiful and very manly :)

27degrees...Yikes! I'd be in my snowsuit!! Us California girls are used to much more temperate weather.
Big Hug for you, Scribe :)
Wishing you a Happy and Warm Week by the River...or at least find those sweatpants :)
Kelly

Jayne said...

I am world's worst at throwing on layers or a coat. Nope. I'll just zip out and in...lol. Glad I am not alone. :c)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Kelly/CG…

Not quite as chilly this morning, 32ºF for my duck-feeding sprint. Less frost on the leaves and grass, as well. Still, however, brisk. (Nope, didn't make the attic and warmer clothes box yesterday. Instead, spent the day rambling around a lake about 70 miles north of here. Sooooo…same shorts and tee for the morning's hasty chores. And I appreciated every one of those five additional degrees, too!)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

Hey, a fellow optimist who believes sincerely if you move fast and don't think about that rain or snow or hailstones, none of it can get you right away. A little bit of rain others might call a downpour, and an urge to check the mailbox, or dash in to the grocery—nahh, no raincoat or umbrella, I won't get wet.

Glad to know there ARE others like me. We ought to be able to recognize one and other by our public dripping, too. You know, when everyone else in the mall is dry, we'll look like we just got baptized.

KGMom said...

Well, Scribe, what you say about the location may be true--but I did say MEETING...as in all day, inside, no outside time, no tour etc.
BTW--I love John Cleese, and never did like the Duke.

Jain said...

Truly scrumptious frosted sycamore leaves, very painterly. I was sorry it wasn't large enough to click and make my desktop for a few days.

Wish I knew what the yellow shrub was. I love the contrast of the yellow against the blue riffles.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

All work and no play…

Meeting?

Margarita?

Meeting?

Margarita!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jain…

I'm pathetic on I.D.s of understory bushes—especially from down and across a stream. But it's still yellow and still in leaf.

KGMom said...

Scribe--I must report I did see a Pappasito's--this morning.
At 5 a.m.
At the airport.
Somehow margaritas and tacos or whatever else just didn't do it at that time of the day...

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

I understand and concur. At 5 a.m. not much sounds good to me except coffee.

(Sorry to be slow in replying…I did family stuff—food was repeatedly and copiously involved!—all day yesterday and for once in a long time, never even switched on the computer.)