Let your heart be a portal for the songs of the universe.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Memo To Punxsutawney Phil

Forty miles per hour wind gusts clamor at windows and test the storm worthiness of tree limbs and back yard fences. In brazen defiance of the raw 30ºF temperature and lively winds, Cooper and I cannot resist the allure of extreme weather on the Llano Estacado plain. Once on the prairie I find photographic endeavors nearly impossible. I am content to revel in the power of natural forces and contemplate survival mechanisms of flora. I stop here and there to admire shelter strategies of fauna within this ecosystem. Cooper relents to activities driven by canine genes. He visits burrows and strains his nose into the snow squalls to catch scents of his usual running buddies. But, prairie denizens have hunkered down to ride out the furies unleashed by northerly winds.

Buffeted by frigid winds I roam directionless. Each time I turn into the teeth of the fierce north wind my clothes flutter violently, the gales take my breath away, and progress is at snails pace. Tumbleweeds dance buoyantly across the frozen steppe. With every swing of forward momentum my hiking cane makes a vibrato sound. The wind action across such an airfoil of wood has created a bullroarer. Apaches in this area would call it a tzi-ditindi or sounding wood. Bullroarers are an ancient ritual musical instrument and are useful in communicating over great distances. They exist in contemporary and historical records of many cultures. Best known is the turndun of Australian Aborigines.

As I ramble and snake my way down game trails, the heretofore dearth of snow this winter occupies my thoughts. Our drought conditions will deepen without additional precipitation. Meteorologists continue to paint a bleak outlook.

I relieve the ache in my heart with the promises gusty northerly winds and fluffy wet snows write across my face. The seductive enchantress we call the Llano Estacado beckons with assurances of adventure. Cooper and I cannot resist the cold breath and bewitching wind songs of her shortgrass prairie sirens and head into the snow-covered tablelands. The white shrouds of wind-driven snow part occasionally to permit the capture of fleeting moments on digital film. The hand of God seems harsh. But, closer examination reveals many natural snow caves have formed among grass clumps and bushes. They are cozy, albeit makeshift shelters for Llano wildlife. As the down of angel wings settles gently on receptive flora, it creates a winter wonderland. Cooper rollicks in the knee-deep blanket of snowflakes and playfully investigates snow caves. Punxsutawney Phil is wrong. Spring is not around the corner.

Llano Estacado Trail Head

Portal To Heaven

Captive Sunshine

Russian Thistle Slumber

Facing The Storm (Siberian Elm)

Tempting Scents (Cooper)

Snow Cave Diving (Cooper)

Wild Buckwheat Umbrella (eriogonum annuus)

The Gentle Hand Of God

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

Angel Down

Wax Goldenweed Pappi (grindelia papposa)

Shade Tree (Siberian Elm)

Punxsutawney Phil Got It Wrong (Cooper)

Ready To Head Home (Cooper)

The Trail Home (Cooper)

Spring Is Just Around The Corner? (Cooper)

Exit Stage Right (Cooper)

Almost Home (Cooper)

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