Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Slant on Birches

Birches can put you off-course if you take the time to contemplate how they...........

.......Stand in a Crowd
Crowd a Stand ...............

.....can be the Center of Attention
become the Attention Off-Center.......

........Deceive, On an angle and up-side-down
Receive, Up-close and personal.........

.......Color the Accent
Accent the Color.........

.........Darken the Light
Lighten the Dark.........

No matter the season or the angle, it is difficult to ignore a birch.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Wish You Could Hear the Stillness

Over the hills and through the woods.......I can't get lost if I follow my own cross-country ski tracks.

An aging snowman guards a solitary soul resting in the prime lake-front cemetery.

The December high-noon sun clears the distant hills but is incapable of creating short shadows.

Even in oblique winter rays, my sun-drenched swing invites a quiet repose...

Can you hear the chime break the stillness?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Go Blue?

In the fall, after the colorful deciduous leaves have touched-down in northwest Ohio, two color-pairs remain standing. One pair of colors hales from Columbus, Ohio. The other's home is 1/3 the distance as Columbus though in another state, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Leaves no longer block the wide view in northwest Ohio by the 1st of November. College banners swoop colorfully though, like goal posts across rival porches. Proud bumper stickers and rear window decals intercept my vacant mind at boring stoplights. Spend money for clothing that boast a favorite team? That completely passes over me! There is a frenzy over college football and I am on the side-line.

Vacationing here in Florida this fall, I don't fumble with frenzied fans. I'm in a different huddle. Coincidentally though, there is a pair of colors which punts surprises my way every day. I must be the wide-receiver! What team am I on?

After a stormy morning, a rainbow arches from my balcony.

A line-of-scrimmage. The peacock made himself bigger to tackle me in route to my favorite kayak launch. My best defensive play is paddling the kayak.

Field goal! The full moon sets over the banners at the Florida pool I train in.

The day kicks-off with a billowing sunrise during another morning swim. How can I get serious about training when there is so much going on in the stands?

I photograph the pelicans' line formation but don't notice the colors of my friends' kayaks until later.

Are these blue and maize punts directed to gain my focus and affections? Or is my view-finder secretly pumped to catch scarlet and gray punts as well? How many first-downs does the game allow a contender? I've had a bunch...I must be the winner!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Seventeen-Mile Hike is Just a Walk in the Park

This is our sign post at the beginning of the hike on the 17-mile trail at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark near Toledo where we always get a group shot (from left to right, Cheryl, Andrea, Marita, Susan, Karen).

I should count sometime how many bridges and boardwalks are along this trail. There are dozens, but today it was dry under most of them. This is much different than the spring hike when we could have used several dozen additional bridges to span over wetlands.

After 8 miles of hiking, we had our picnic lunch around a grouping of logs. We were visited by horses and their riders. It is not uncommon to see more of these park users than other park visitors when we are further away from the parking lots. No one was too tired to greet the horses and treat them to some apples and carrots.
Before we started walking in the morning, we spotted a car at this junction in case anyone wanted to opt out of the second half of the walk. Andrea left only because she needed to get home to do some school work. The rest of us were looking forward to more of the autumn scenery and pleasant weather.

Yes, there was some brilliant reds along the trail, back-dropping Susan, Marita, and Karen here.

And yellows to match our spunky mood. With just a couple of miles remaining to complete the trail, don't these 50&60-somethings look like youngsters? Maybe that is pushing it, but we felt spirited!
Come on, lil' tike, see if you can do it! At least get out there and enjoy the splendid gift of change and color. The yellows will add a little zest to your life.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

True Colors

There's not much color out there, but look at ours reflect as we walk around Evergreen Lake

It is the first weekend in October and the trees haven't let go of their primary greens yet here in northwest Ohio. Regardless, this is the weekend of the women's backpacking trip at Oak Openings Preserve and it was colorful. The true colors of the women were brilliant....patience, respect, and gratitude. These behaviors, demonstrated while carrying loaded backpacks for 2 days and sleeping on the ground at night, were bright enough to color our trip beautiful.

We hiked through a variety of habitats. Here we are skirting the forest for a sunny break

and grazing the prairie

and contemplating the savanna

and crushing the frost as we head out on our second day
(left to right, Cheryl, LaRae, Lisa, Val, Karen, and Joyce
Look at the following blog and see how we lit up the night!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Backpackers Light Up the Night

A two day walk in the woods will peak with the true colors of its hikers, and the night sparks with the true grit of its campers.
Below, LaRae prepares her 1-star accommodation.

Joyce and Karen are ready to co-habitate though they were strangers hours earlier. Below, sisters Valerie and Lisa will share this cozy nylon wrap.

Volunteer Elsa builds a cook fire to get our dinner going.

Fire, Marshmallows and Moon light our night.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wilderness: Life is Good

Canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area

We went into the wilderness and it was good. Having friends meet Dan and myself and share their island with us made it very comfortable and reassuring, though less adventuresome.

Jon and Julie own a 3-acre island in Saganaga Lake, which is between two wilderness areas, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in NE Minnesota and Canada's Quetico Provincial Park. The Boundary Waters is 1.3 million acres of wilderness with thousands of lakes; it doesn't get any darker at night or quieter at day anywhere in the USA.

Friends Jon and Julie with us on an island overlooking the wilderness area.

The blues were, water, and berries.

This grasshopper landed on my hand as I was paddling close to an island shoreline.

Jon and Julie put us up in a cabin. In effect, we we were not roughing it, even without electricity and flush toilet. The naked swims were better than any shower too! Yes, Life is Good!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tri Training

Too much time has passed since I posted last and I haven't just been training for next Sunday's Sylvania Triathlon. I have been taking care of water gardens and vacationing too. That doesn't mean that this annual event hasn't been on my mind.

In the photo above you can see us get ready for our last practice swim at Olander Park in Sylvania, Ohio. Team Toledo Triathlon Club does a great job of helping athletes prepare for races. Take a look at their website to see local training opportunities for swimming, running, and biking. Imagine the help and inspiration available if you are thinking about setting up a triathlon as a personal fitness goal. You might do one event each year or several events and help gain points for the team. Team Toledo just won the Mid-East Region Championship for the second year in a row. Yeah Toledo!

The Sylvania Triathlon started in 1985 with Jim and Joyce Donaldson's enthusiastic support of this growing sport. Their Woman's Only Triathlon on July 27th closed out with a field limit of 400. Visit their web site at:

7:30 AM is the start time for the Sylvania Triathlon this Sunday, August 10th at Olander Lake. The sandy beach is rainbowed with 750 colorful swim caps donning the heads of chilled, but fired-up, nearly-nude swimmers. Rays of the rising sun stretch westward over the lake, sparking the drive within each participant. Their's and several hundred spectator's voices swirl together, lapping the early morning stillness with the National Athem. Applause sets the trigger and the gun is fired. The lake volcanizes into an eruption of flying arms, flashing legs, and spurting white water. The energy settles in the corn fields of the northwest Ohio bike route and is nearly extinguished on the paved streets of the Sylvania run course. The athletes finish after 2 to 4 hours in a steamy sweat.

Come witness the surge of athletes this Sunday. They will be doing their best, whether they have chosen the olympic, sprint, relay or duathlon. Launch them on and imagine yourself on the course a year from now. That is enough time to steer your fitness plan into a reality. Tri it!

Post Script, Post-Race, August 10, 2008, 3pm:
It's done, and I'm sitting up to tell you about it. A second place finish in the women's 55-59 age group brought home a trophy (hey, there were only 2 of us; what happened to the other 3 women in this age group who signed up?)
The first place finish went to a friend of mine, Pam Oatis, and boy did she improve since I last saw her in competition- 2:48:07 . Congratulations Pam!
(see all results at
My time was on the slower end for me 3:10:07. I'm not making excuses here, but the gears on my bike failed after 2 miles so I did the remaining 23 miles in a single gear. There is always something to deal with.
A funny thing happened too. I poured 2 cups of gatoraid over my head at the 4 mile stop on the run. I thought it was water. My face became caramelized while running into the sun. I had a garden hose shower at the 5 mile water-stop.
The best part is completing the event and feeling good for the next 364 days! As a bonus, I'm leaving tomorrow for a wilderness canoe trip in the Boundary Waters. Talk to you when I get back!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This Girl Gets the Gills

I love to see this woman outdoors. She zooms around to visit neighbors on an electric cart, drives her car 10 miles on dirt roads to get to the nearest town, and captains her own boat to catch a fresh meal. Meet neighbor, "up-north" Dorothy.

Dorothy is a 5-foot high go-getter fisherwoman. Her "Gill Getter" mini pontoon and fishing equipment are not found in Lund's or BassPro's premium inventory. Her pontoon is not rigged like a "reel" fishing boat with fish-finders, gps, and gas-guzzling motors, attempting to quickly detect fishing holes around the entire perimeter of the lake. No, Dorothy putt-putts around the nearby coves with a small electric motor. She does not take an unsteady high stance on deck and lurefully cast over and over. Dorothy sits cuddled in a chair and enjoys the setting, pole hanging at her side. There are no flashy rapalas, daredevils, or hot-n-tots cast far and wide. Dorothy modestly, but confidently, drops the most gaudy, rainbow-colored rubber worm, willy-nilly in the water. No assortment of rods and reels to waste time untangling and tangle the nerves in this woman's gear. A single pole adorned with one lucky charm, that ugly fake worm, is the only jewel she boards. And fishing buddies? None. At 89, this fisherwoman is casting off all by herself.

Living alone, Dorothy has trouble keeping the bears from tackling her metal bird feeders and the porcupines from nibbling her wooden porch steps, but watch out fishies! And Bass Pros, move over, for Dorothy is brandishing her tried-and-true pole, tipped with an dull, ugly worm and a life-line of sparkling intuition.
This girl has got the gills and the gull!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Water Falls and Time Flies

Don't we wonder about the laws of nature? As sure as gravity pulls water relentlessly down a sliding course, a mysterious force allows time a free ride on the wing of life.

I enjoy tending the waterfalls which I have installed in people's lives. Now, how do we catch that free ride? A smiling face urges me with "Jump high and hang on!"