In many ways this could be almost anywhere...old cars, fast food signs, and strip malls but this is the view from the Smith's grocery store parking lot. I do a lot of shopping at Smith's and spend more and more money there. I'm not buying more food but the prices keep going up. It's the time of year where grimy snow piles are melting. In the spring the city will plant tons of flowers that will be blooming magnificently by the end of summer. We're not there yet though. It's just that in between time where everyone just wants it to be warm, sunny and green. We might not be too far away. We'll have to wait and see.
Vernal is located in the northeastern corner of Utah so we aren't too far from Colorado or Wyoming. I live 13 miles outside of "town" and 1,000 feet higher at an elevation of 6800'. We get more snow for longer periods time and a shorter, cooler summer. As blue skies increase and weather permits I'll share more about our little corner of the world.
For now I'll just slop around in the mud and slush. WhooHoo!
Those of you following the duck saga will know at the last count we were down to three. Now it's one female we named Dina. The last lone Duck roamed the yard last summer and kept it free of grasshoppers. When she was lonesome, she would hang out on the patio with the cats. She and the new flock of ducks seemed only to tolerate each other. Well, now we are back down to one survivor. She, too, is lonely. Lucky for Dina, we have turkeys who roost in our cottonwood trees at night and hang around the birdfeeder during the day. For now, she has some fowl-weather friends!
My apologies for the dark pictures but it was late in the day and I wanted to catch the birds before they settled in for the night. Hopefully we will hear Dina's quack in the morning.
In June 2007 we took a trip to visit my best friend from high school and her husband in Alabama. They have a wonderful lake house where we spent a few days swimming and playing on jet skis. It was so much fun. While we were there, we witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen. I'm glad I captured it then.
(Read the previous post, Requiem for the Ducks, first in order for this post to make sense!)
Mountain Mama gleefully reports a retraction of the previous story. I don't retract the thoughts and feelings, but the facts, ma'ma, just the facts.
Coming out of the pasture gate this morning, I heard "Quack." I was startled and surprised. I quacked back. I heard another quack. It wasn't my imagination. I walked through a couple feet of snow over to the gulch in front of the house and peered down. There was one, then two, then count 'em, THREE ducks! They quacked quietly. I asked them politely what they were doing down there knowing full well they had escaped the jaws of death. I told them they needed to come back up to the pen, and you know what? They did! It was pretty cute watching them waddle across the driveway back towards home. I fed and watered them, fixed the gate so it closes tighter and delightedly waddled my way back into the house.
We got our first ducks almost five years ago. We had returned from a trip to New Zealand where one morning along the coast we fed ducks. My oldest daughter decided we really ought to have some of our own. My husband concurred so on a spring day we came home with 6 fluffy little ducklings who needed to be kept warm, fed and watered. They grew up to be great big ducks and they even had a couple of generations of their own. Gradually we were down to one lone duck. A friend donated five more ducks. The new ducks didn't much like the old duck and excluded her. One day I found her dead in the pen, the victim of a predator. We live in the country on 20 acres so this was not surprising. We hear coyotes howl almost every night. There are fox, raccoons, skunks, badgers and even an occasional mountain lion. We did keep the ducks in a pen and tried to protect them as much as possible. Earlier this week I found one dead duck in the pen. Two days later my daughter called me to tell me there were two dead ducks and three missing. We are now officially duck-less.
People who are not animals lovers, who do not have pets, who do not have livestock of any kind may not understand the sentimentality of this post. Animals lovers will. The routine care of any animal, livestock or pet, is a daily activity. It is woven into the threads of our lives. We are aware always of their existence. Ducks quack. The last batch of ducks didn't quack as loudly as the first batch and were thus deemed less entertaining; nonetheless, they did quack. They quacked every time we let one of the dogs out and then called them back inside. They quacked when I fed them. It seems very quiet without their quacking.
It's hard not to feel a little sad, to feel the loss. It is not a devastating loss. A devastating loss in the pet world is when we lose a companion who follows us around, is happy to see us when we come home and likes to sit on our laps. When they are gone there is a large void that takes time to fill, sometimes with a new dog or cat, sometimes not. This is by no means like losing a loved human but it is similar. If you didn't get to see that special human every day, even though you loved them very much, they weren't part of your daily life. Animals are part of our every day world. When you lose a pet, you turn around and expect to see them there. When you lose a friend or family member, you think how much you want to call them but you can't.
Loss always involves change. I feel sad about losing the ducks all at once. It's made me think about the transitory nature of life again. When we are young, death seems so brutal, the effects of losing someone causes raw and agonizing pain. When we get older there is a different perspective, maybe because important people have died along the way and we realize that this is truly an unavoidable part of life. I have lost important people in my life and have weathered some storms. It's never been easy but my attitude now is a little more accepting. It's part of the cycle of life: birth, death, regeneration.
So, that's where living in the moment, appreciating each moment comes in because you never know what will happen next. Do you?
In October 2006 we took a trip to Colorado. The Colorado Rockies are majestic and spectacular. We stayed in a comfortable cabin up on the top of a pass a few miles outside of Silverton. This is the road we took in to town and the train depot.
These are some wild cowgirls getting ready for a shootout! Don't mess with them.
The conductor is helping back the train into town.
This is a narrow gauge train with a steam-powered, coal-fired engine. The railroad arrived in 1881 and the tracks were completed in 1882. Initially used for mining, the train has been running continuously ever since. For more information you can check here.
The train is in the station.
Nowadays the train ride offers a ride through awe-inspiring scenery for us tourists.
Looking towards the front of the train.
The local folks told us there wasn't much of a fall. Ordinarily the when the aspens change, the mountains are awash in gold. Apparently they had a freeze and a storm and all the leaves dropped off in a day. We were sorry we missed the display.
One lone spot of yellow.
A bridge over troubled waters.
Someone has a nice place to live in Durango!
The next day heading back to Silverton.
We woke up to the first snow of the season at our cabin. Weather in the mountains is always unpredictable.