Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Colorado Cloud Atlas

Colorado has spectacular skies!
An ever-changing, constant show,
free for the taking.

              Altocumulus Floccus

Last Friday, I trudged out the door 
to walk to my favorite 
Parkway Bar and Grill 
for Friday Night Date Night.

  Altocumulus Floccus Merging into Altostratus Opacus

I just didn't want to walk the 3,696 feet 
in the hope of burning off 56 
of the 125 calories in that glass of merlot
Des would place in front of me
as I sat at the bar and waited for my date.

Altocumulus Floccus Merging into Altostratus Opacus

when you are trying to rack up one more mile 
on that long walk to St. Anthony, Newfoundland,
that fogbound, iceberg-skirted community
seems a million miles away,
and 3,696 feet closer
just doesn't motivate!

                                     Altocumulus Floccus Merging into Altostratus Opacus

And then I looked to the west and up!

      The ever-constant ineffable! ~  

Altocumulus Floccus

~ To borrow a phrase from David Mitchell.
            (Mitchell, David, Cloud Atlas, Vintage Canada Edition, Toronto, 2004, p. 373.)

You can have your Colorado mountains;
I'll take its skies!

Cirrus and Cirrocumulus (or your guess is as good as mine!)

Suddenly every whine and wine was forgotten.
As I snapped yet more dozens of Colorado skies.
East, west; it did not matter.

Altostratus Opacus with a Twist of Cumulus

Life was easy teaching third graders clouds,
a simple matter of cirrus, cumulus, stratus, and nimbus.

But Colorado skies are never easy;
and, at times, they defy classification!
For a guaranteed headache go to List of Cloud Types (Wikipedia)

                                                                                         Altostratus Opacus

What wouldn't I give now 
for a never-changing map 
of the ever-constant ineffable?  
To possess, as it were, an atlas of clouds.
 (Mitchell, David, Cloud Atlas, Vintage Canada Edition, Toronto, 2004, p. 373.)

  Cirrus and Cirrocumulus with a Touch of Altocumulus Floccus

Three thousand six hundred ninety-six feet?
No problem!
A sunsetting sky with multifarious clouds.
How high is the tropopause?

I think I'll take that glass of merlot, Des!
No problem!
She was already poring it as I walked through the door!

                                          Altocumulus Floccus Merging into Altostratus Opacus

I am not a meteorologist,
rather more of a third grader
making her best guess!

For a fabulous read, don't miss Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell!

"The tropopause is the atmospheric boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere.  
Going upward from the surface, it is the point where air ceases to cool with height, and becomes almost completely dry."  

Cloud formation ceases at the tropopause because above it the atmosphere stabilizes and 
cloud-forming convection does not occur (Arasan).

Monday, January 28, 2013

Iceberg Alley: Great Brehat, Newfoundland

Well, I can tell you right now, that in all of my life, I never expected to be in Great Brehat, Newfoundland!  And yet here I was in the summer of 2011 scrambling up the boardwalk and gazing out to sea looking for icebergs - chasing an iceberg dream with my two sisters and my husband Terry.  
We had been in and out of little coves all day in the Back of Nowhere on the Great Northern Peninsula, and this was our last stop.  Our hot coffee at the St. Anthony Tim Hortons earlier in the afternoon was a distant memory.  We were cold and tired, but still exhilarated at the thought of more icebergs.  

At least I was!  And I am an irresistible force!

Island of Newfoundland

"And where on Earth is Great Brehat?" you might ask. 
Follow the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland 
to its top just above the big bay on its right side.  
There you will find the town of St. Anthony.
Great Brehat is located a short distance 
up the coast from St. Anthony.

St. Anthony to Great Brehat
(source:  Google)

Great Brehat is only 
7.7 miles (12.4 kilometers) 
northeast of St. Anthony, 
but driving there 
felt like traveling 
back through decades 
to an isolated place 
and a time long past.

Great Brehat and Its Harbour
(source:  Google)

Great Brehat is one of several
small outports hugging the 
rugged coast, including
St. Lunaire-Griquet 
and St. Carol's.
The little fishing village 
and rocky cliffs 
overlooking the Atlantic Ocean
are lonely, but striking.

Great Brehat, Newfoundland

Currently Great Brehat has a population of 95, give or take one or two.  Its history dates to the 18th century when it was a fishing station on the French Shore of Newfoundland. Brehat is pronounced as Braha;  and, its name is thought to originate from an island off the Brittany shore.  Some two centuries later, Great Brehat acquired a community co-operative store through the efforts of Sir Wilfred Grenfell.  Another fifty years or so went by until Great Brehat was linked by road to its surrounding communities in 1971.  

Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell is a monumental figure in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador.  In 1892, four years after Grenfell graduated from London Hospital Medical College, he was sent to Newfoundland as a medical missionary by The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.  His task was to improve the lives of fishermen and their families who lived and worked under difficult and dangerous conditions.

    Sir Wilfred Grenfell                                                         Logo                                      

Grenfell began by establishing and staffing hospitals at Indian Harbour, Newfoundland; and later, he continued by building cottage hospitals along the remote coast of Labrador.  From his quest to improve the plight of Newfoundland fishermen, Grenfell went on to aid aboriginals and settlers along the coast of Labrador and the eastern side of the Great Northern Peninsula.  Grenfell was instrumental in developing an orphanage, building schools,  providing social work and industrial work projects, and in creating cooperatives such as the community co-operative store in Great Brehat.  In 1927 he was knighted for his social, educational, and medical work.  He died in 1940, and his ashes were placed in a rock face overlooking St. Anthony Harbour.  

Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
(1865 - 1940)

I'm not sure why, but Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell was the first Canadian historical figure I became aware of as a young child in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

But back to icebergs!

Great Brehat has one of the ubiquitous coastal community walking trails found throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

Located behind its cemetery, we 
followed Flat Point Lookout Trail to where we could scan the ocean.

Great Brehat did not disappoint!

In the distance 
was a huge iceberg!
Iceberg at Great Brehat
from Flat Point Lookout

Zoomed Closer

More Icebergs at Great Brehat
July 15, 2011

We, along with other iceberg chasers, 
took in the awesome beauty of icebergs in the bay 
and the rugged coastline of the Great Northern Peninsula.

My sister Bertie Walks the Trail

Summer Flowers Along the Trail

Giant Ice Island and Icebergs
Great Brehat, Newfoundland

It is hard to imagine what it is like to live in an outport like Great Brehat.  The community is no longer as isolated as it was, and the memories of what it was like is passing.  Kathleen Tucker, a researcher, published a project recently, St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. Oral History Project 2009, to preserve some of the stories of Great Brehat and fifteen other communities in northern Newfoundland.  Life was hard in earlier days.  In the oral history project Ron Cull recalls the work of his mother and other women in Great Brehat:

"I could write a book about my mother. She worked just like a slave: in the garden, on the flake, in the stage, making hay. She used the old scrubbing board; no washer then.The line of diapers reached from here to there, about a hundred feet long. I wonder when she got the time to do her own work; women was like slaves. The men would come up from the stage and lie down on the daybed and have a nap, but Mother’s work had just begun, working over an old woodstove then. My father would be lying on the daybed and he’d say, “Keep the youngsters quiet,” so he could sleep. She might have her hands in the dough making bread when he’d say that. Or, me and Dad would have a lie down and Mother would be out in the garden weeding her plants."

If you would like to read more about Great Brehat in this time click on Oral History.

A Newfie Icon Joins Us in Great Brehat

On the way back to our cabin near L'Anse aux Meadows, we spotted another Newfie icon, a symbol of the enduring and practical spirit of Newfoundlanders:  
a sheltered garden dug back from the shore:

I may never have expected to go to Great Brehat, 
but now that I have, I hope to return sooner rather than later.

Here are some links to my other Iceberg Alley posts from the summer of 2011:

"The service we render to others
 is really the rent we pay 
for our room on this earth. 
It is obvious that man is himself a traveler; 
that the purpose of this world is 
not 'to have and to hold' 
but 'to give and serve.' 
There can be no other meaning."

Words attributed to Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Omnium-Gatherum: Far Out! Groovy Man!

The shopping carts in my local Wal-Mart are driving me nuts!
No matter which cart I pick, 
it races right over and comes to a complete stop 
in front of the $5.00 CDs bin.

EVERY time!

And it refuses to budge 
until I have spent at least 10 minutes
sifting though the stacks of CDs in the $5.00 bin!

I am so grateful to that balky cart!
I can't believe what I found!

Only the first album to achieve platinum status when 
the Recording Industry Association of America 
began awarding that level!

Only a 4Xs platinum album 
with more than 30 million copies sold!

Only Atlantic Records' second greatest selling album ever!

Only the # 25 best selling album of all time
according to Wikipedia's criteria:
*Sales figures published by a reliable source
*Sales of at least 20 million copies worldwide
*Any type of album: 
   studio, greatest hits, compilations, 
   various artists, soundtracks and remixes.

Far Out!
Groovy Man!

Only the one and only, incomparable

I could not have bought this for $5.00 in 1968!

My original album has vanished into the mists of time,
but not my memories of this iconic psychedelic rock album.

Of course it hopped right into my shopping cart
and nestled among the apples and socks and boxes of cereal.

This Flower Child of the 1960s
raced home,
cranked up her stereo to FULL BLAST,
and took a trip back in time
to when she first heard Iron Butterfly
playing its seventeen minute long song 
from its album of the same name.

At a party,
where the stereo speakers were on opposite sides of the room,
and one of the first drum solos on a rock album ever,
and one of the most famous,
rolled from one side of the room to the other,
primal and amazing!
Not to mention mind-blowing guitars and organ!

Psychedelic rock was a style of music 
that tried to reproduce the mind-altering experiences
of hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD.
It incorporated new recording techniques, improvisation, extended solos, and exotic instrumentation with electric guitars and a strong keyboard presence.

I know from extensive personal experience
that you didn't have to get high, to feel high
when listening to this!

there are some guitar effects
in In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida 
that make me think of 
a bull elephant on a bad trip.

Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida 
is important in rock history
because it pinpoints a time when
psychedelic music was morphing
into heavy metal.
Music by Blue Cheer,
Jimi Hendrix, and Steppenwolf
was also part of this transformation.

Throughout its history as a band,
Iron Butterfly had many different musicians
as band members. 
The members of Iron Butterfly 
who recordedIn-A-Gadda-Da-Vida 
on May 27, 1968 were 
Doug Ingle (organ and vocals), 
Lee Dorman (bass guitar), 
Ron Bushy (drums), and 
Erik Brann - just 17! (guitar).

Time has moved on for this Flower Child
as well as for Iron Butterfly.
No more love beads, headbands, 
US Army jackets, or tight blue jeans;
but she can still rock out to
even if she does it folding piles of laundry!

If you care to sample:  WARNING 17 minutes!
Here it is!

For a trippy effect while you're listening, 
put your cursor 
on the last psychedelic picture Dizzy Thorns
and move it up and down quickly!
Far Out!  Groovy Man!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Points Galore!

 Don't ever tempt the Universe!
I know better!

Mankind's Deepest-Ever View of the Universe
The eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF

But I did the day before yesterday,
and here was the proof that I shouldn't
when I peeked out my bedroom blinds this morning.


Points galore!

Muley Bucks!

There at the top of the golf course were three bucks!

Now understand, I have never spotted 
just the boys hanging out together,
and here they were!

I ran for my camera, glasses, and kitchen step stool.
I leaned against my second story window,
while standing on my tippy-toes on the step stool 
to get above some pesky tree branches.

Do you think those guys would cooperate 
by bunching together and slowing down?

No matter how I twisted and turned,
I couldn't get the three of them in one shot;
and, even zoomed to the max, 
I couldn't get a sharp shot!

"Come a little bit closer, you're my kind of man,"
I whispered, 
as the deer began to move along the fence.

That was my buck from the park 
last November.
I'd only seen him a few times since.

My friend Julie and I are still 
trying to figure out his point count.

Are those or are those not
eye guards or brow tines?
See more of him in my blog post
                               Along Piney Creek.

Wasn't it just the day before yesterday
that I was struggling to understand 
the crazy count system for points on a muley buck,
and I wrote in my blog:
"And I am not going anywhere near asymmetrical point counts!"

"Take that!" says the Universe.

How do you count the points on a buck with a busted rack? 
I hadn't seen this one before.

And the third one had no antler at all on his left side!
How do you count that?

But this one I knew.

He'd lost his antler in the rut last November.

Terry, Barb, and I had spotted him while walking in the park.

Don't let this little doe's backward glance fool you.
None of the guys were having any luck this November day,
including this buck I photographed on Wednesday.
See more of him in my blog post Hungry Neighbors.

Come on pretty boy!
"So big and so strong.
Come a little bit closer!"

Rats!  He ran around the front of the house!

But this one didn't!
Right under my bedroom window at the corner of the deck!

Now I'm Busted!

Jump into my clothes.
Jump into Terry's shoes.
Grab my Viking hat complete with runes.
Sneak out the front door.
Hope the neighbors aren't up!

They're around back again!
Slip around the side.

See you 'round!
Maybe I'll know how to count your points by then!

And since I haven't been able to get 
this song out of my head all day:

 Le voilĂ  !

Jay & The Americans - Come A Little Bit Closer