"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Toast for You

New Year’s Eve Toast

A cask of Amontillado may be all we need

To ensure our happiness in the coming New Year,

But with honor and honesty in every deed,

We can look at our face in the morning mirror.


May the wind blow softer as it passes your house,

May your thermometer rise to the highest around,

May the blocks of your igloo be perfectly shaped,

And the weight of the snow never bring them all down.

May the swallows choose your home to spend their vacations,

May moose cross your path as you hunt in the fall,

May your woodshed be filled with spruce, birch and hemlock,

May your home ring with laughter, Happy New Year to all.

© Gullible, 2011

Salute to the Sun

Perhaps it's that I live in a valley with mountains on all sides and lose direct sunlight from mid-November through mid-February.

Perhaps, like Gerri in the photo below, warm-blooded creatures seek out the sun, even if it's the only sunbeam in the room.

Perhaps it's something else, something that kindles bewitching and commanding lighting conditions.

For whatever the reason, I could not keep my hands off the camera when the winter sun, during the shortest days of the year, tried to burn through fog, mist, and low-lying clouds.

From the frozen marshes at the far end of Turnagain Arm...

above the slack tides of the arm....

the insipid winter sun tried....

and failed to burn through the fog before it settled below the mountain peaks.

Not until it was time to set did the sun penetrate beneath the cloud layer that covered Anchorage....

blinding any drivers unlucky enough to have to drive in that direction.

But not for long, because I climbed the circular on-ramp and headed north, away from the sun.

Away from the sun and its welcome glory, but not into the cold of a short winter day, because at the end of my excursion into the big city Friday afternoon, something marvelous and exuberant and joyous awaited me.

It was so worth making my second trip to Anchorage in one week, so worth the ice-covered roads, so worth the dangerous intersections in the city,  so worth the heavy traffic in the city, so worth dodging moose on the roads, so worth gasoline at $3.76 a gallon.

Worth absolutely everything above to hear the Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller!

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

With love and hugs from Gully

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Words.  Thousands of words.  Thousands and thousands and thousands of word.

I love taking photos in fog and mist.  Wonderful things happen.

Misty moon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Day Drive

I left at 1 PM Christmas day for Soldotna, a drive that should take about an hour and a half through the Kenai Mountains in Cooper Landing and the vast muskeg and taiga forest of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.  That's its newer name.  It used to be the Kenai Moose Range.

We who have been here a long time still call it the Kenai Burn because of a wild fire that ravaged the area in the 1950s.

Cooper Landing is beautiful.  The unusual aqua color of the lake and river enchants everyone who sees it.

The lighting that day was perfect for photography.  I used to think good photos were taken only on sunny days with few clouds.  I've learned better, as this photo of a mountain shrouded in fog and mist shows.

A few miles farther, another bend in the river.

I've never cared for this part of the Kenai Peninsula, these rolling flatlands.  Give me mountains instead.  Nevertheless, I left early because I knew I would be stopping often to take photos.  It wasn't long before I made that first stop to capture the aqua water of Kenai River surrounded by frosted trees.

Once I entered the Kenai Burn, I was on extreme alert, rather than just high alert.  Very soon, I saw what I'd been expecting.

Sorry about the out of focus picture.  I was still moving when I shot this.

The two calves joined mom on the side of the road to nosh on birch and willow.

The calves soon tired of this spot and looked for greener pastures.

And of course, those pastures were back across the highway.

The second calf followed....

This calf is not full grown.  Notice how much taller it is than the vehicle, and how it could be scooped up onto the hood of the car if it were hit.  The hood, of course, would send it right into the windshield and then into the laps of the front seat passengers.

Mom looked on in exasperation.

It was a matter of time before mom and kids would be reunited on one side of the road or the other, so I drove on, flashing my lights to warn on-coming traffic.

The Kenai Mountains in Cooper Landing were in my rear view mirror and I drove across the Burn.

At Moose River, the sun was heading for the horizon and the lighting was phenomenal.

That evening, I drove through the town of Soldotna on my way home, enjoying the lighted decorations fastened to light stanchions.

Deep in the valley with the Kenai River on one side and mountains on both sides, I saw another moose.  This one was standing on the snow bank, waiting for me and the vehicle behind me to pass so it could cross the road.  They aren't always that polite, or road-savvy.  Far too many times I've had them walk out in front of me.

Though I couldn't see the moose until I was right next to it, I knew it was there.  My Moose-dar was fully operational.  It's something you learn after many years of driving these highways.