Sunday, July 15, 2012

News from the patio


Well, I couldn't think of what else to write. Putting down another lame excuse in the title of this post seemed ... well ... lame. The past two months have been like that old Chinese curse, "interesting times." It seemed for a time that all of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah were on fire. Our sunsets were gorgeously red from the layers of smoke in the air.

The wildfire in Colorado Springs suddenly blew up one afternoon and swept down off the mountains to devastate 350 homes.


wildfire gets hungry
eats through forest and then homes
many homes destroyed

Each night, the lead stories on the news were the fires. The weather guessers would point out the fires on their maps and then give the usually dismal forecast for weather, rain or calm, that would aid the firefighters. 

wildfires burn on
light up local weather maps
like huge lightning bugs  


All of that happened as we went through the hottest May and June in a long time. We had something like 14 days above 90 degrees and five in a row of over 100, two consecutive days of 105. Set lots of records we'd just as soon not see broken any time soon. The heat combined with lot of smoke in the air--each morning when I stepped out into the back yard with the dogs, the smell of fires was heavy in the air.

I didn't realize how the heart attack a year and a half ago had reduced my tolerance to heat and bad air. Combined, they knocked my just about off my feet. I had to stay indoor much more than normal, and I was tuckered out much earlier than usual. Guess that's a wake-up call that I need to be much more careful about the temperature and stay out of the sun on warmer days.

I've moved my office to the patio on these wonderful mornings when the air is still cool and there's often a slight breeze. If it gets too warm, however, around noon I need to take it back inside. I even have trouble napping when the temp get too hot. Fortunately, most of the larger wildfires have been contained and we're getting a bit more moisture in the mountains where the fires have been burning. It's still hot, but at least the air has little smoke in it.

Yesterday morning I came out on the back steps a bit before 6 with Walker, the new puppy, and as I sat there with a cuppa, I noticed a crescent moon, just a tiny sliver, above the trees to the east. Then I noticed that Venus was near the moon, just a bit below it. It inspired a haiku:


the moon and Venus
shine from the eastern dawn sky
they wait for the sun

The morning before, I also noticed the thin moon and write another haiku about it. 

a thin silver moon
looks down on sun-gilded leaves
and I watch with awe

I'm normally out early in the morning to take Walker out to "do his business." He's good about making it through the night now. He was four months old on July 4th and has grown a bunch since we brought him home at two months. 

Walker and Principessa, our 8-year-old bichon on the day we brought him home:



And here they are with Walker at 4 months: 



You can see that he now dwarfs his sister and is growing like a weed. He now weighs about 27 pounds compared to the 9 when we brought him home. I expect he'll double his weight before he stops growing. Principessa is steady at about 15 pounds.