Saturday, March 15, 2014

Out and About – Winter 2013-2014

Well, I guess my blogging hiatus is over! I can't say I've come to any definite decisions about my future and/or the future of this blog which, as you may recall, was one of the things I hoped to discern during by break from blogging. I do, however, feel as though I've "untangled" myself somewhat from things that had me feeling "bound." My sense is that the discernment process continues, and that it feels right at this point in the journey to resume sharing my thoughts, experiences, and hopes in this forum. At least for now.

And so I share this evening images and commentary from what's been described as the "brutal" and "harsh" winter of 2013/14. I think these strong words are warranted given the extreme cold weather much of North America, including Minnesota, has experienced (due to at least three different "polar vortexes") and given the numerous snow and ice storms that have swept across much of the mid-western, northeastern, and even southeastern parts of the United States.

I am thankful that none of these conditions disrupted my life to any great degree. No days-long power outages, ice dams, frozen pipes, or mishaps on the icy roads and sidewalks. I'm also grateful for the strength and warmth provided by my Minnesota friends as, together, we not only endured our way through a very difficult winter but found good cause to celebrate the beauty of nature, friendship, and family . . . and the wonder of new life. Read on to see what I mean . . .

Above: My dear friends Noelle and John – Christmas Eve, 2013.

Above: My friends Curtis and Liana, whose wedding I officiated last summer.

Above: Friends Phil and Jacob.

Above: Quinn . . . in his Christmas attire!

Right: With Eddie. And really, could he possibly look any more relaxed?!

Above: A Christmas Day celebration with my good friends (from left) Carol, Ken, Sue Ann, Betty, and Kathleen.

Above: Saturday, December 28, 2013 was a bright and warm winter's day – the perfect time to take a walk along (and at times on) Minnehaha Creek, which runs quite close to my home in south Minneapolis. I took a number of photos that day, including the selfie at left!

Above and below: More photos from my solitary ramble along Minnehaha Creek on December 28, 2013.

The fine weather on the day that the previous few photos were taken was definitely not the norm during the winter of 2013-2014. As I mentioned earlier, the most common words used to describe this past winter experienced in most of North America have been "brutal" and "harsh." Not surprisingly, lots of time was spent indoors. My housemate Tim and I have a pretty basic workout routine that we stuck to fairly consistently throughout the winter. I know I'll never be "buff" – I simply haven't got the body type for that. But I like to think that my working-out this past winter has helped me get reasonably "in shape"!

But Hey, you may well be asking, where did that little bird come from!?. Maybe it's my daemon (soul) . . . like how in His Dark Materials trilogy a person's soul is outwardly manifested in the form of a particular animal! Then again it could be just some cheap trinket I bought at the Dollar Store to serve as a much-needed reminder during a particularly long and hard winter of the promise of spring!

Above: My friend and housemate Tim making a cloud in the backyard by throwing hot water up into the air of one of the coldest nights experienced in Minnesota in a long time! That night was the night of February 6, 2014.

Above: A photo that captures well, I think, the 'lots of snow' aspect of this past winter. (I no doubt got to work shoveling those steps shortly after taking this pic!)

Above: In January we welcomed little Amelia into the world. She is the daughter of my friends Curtis and Liana.

Left: Holding the one-week-old Amelia. I have to agree with my friend Cathy who upon seeing this photo on Facebook remarked, "Isn't it wonderful to hold a small baby!"

Above: My dear friends George, Joan, and Ian – February 2014.

Last August Joan and I traveled to the Bayfield Peninsula where we spent three very relaxing days. For images and commentary on this trip, click here.

Above: With my dear friends Carol and Ken.

In February Ken read, upon my recommendation, the first two novels of Winston Graham's Poldark series, Ross Poldark and Demelza. Now Ken, it should be said, is a very discerning reader: few novels met his high standards! I'm happy to report, however, that he thoroughly enjoyed the Poldark novels, noting that their well-written characters and plot developments "really draw you in." No doubt an added bonus was the fact that Ken's family has its roots in Cornwall, the setting of Graham's Poldark saga.

Above: Joey strikes a pose! He's pictured at Louis, the new restaurant at Cossetta's in St. Paul, where his mother Kathleen, friend Mary, and I treated him to a dinner in celebration of his 18th birthday (right).

Last June I traveled with Kathleen, Joey, and another friend, Will, to Pahá Sápa (the Black Hills of South Dakota). It was a truly memorable experience.

On Saturday, March 1, my housemate Tim and I were happy and honored to host our friend Curtis' 30th birthday party at our home in Minneapolis. Pictured above from left: Curtis, Liana, Tim, and Noelle.

Above: Friends Steven, Curtis, and Liana (holding Amelia) – Saturday, March 1, 2014.

Above: Noelle and her granddaughter Amelia.

Above: Well, hello!

Above: Tim holding Amelia.

Above: The frozen surface of Minnehaha Creek – Saturday, March 8, 2014.

Above and below: Two lovely photos of Amelia and her parents.

Above and below: Signs of winter's loosening grip!

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Christmastide Approaches
Out and About – Autumn 2013
Out and About – Summer 2013
Out and About – Spring 2013
Out and About – Winter-Spring 2013

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

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