Whether sifting through sand, or scrambling over a rocky shore, it's about finding treasures in every day. 


It is just not a very nice time of year to be a little tree growing out of a cliff.

Ice laden cedar tree.

Not a very nice time at all.

It makes me very happy that people can walk around. I sometimes think about being a tiny seed sailing on the wind, landing in a mountain stream, washing down the hillside, landing in a little crevice in the side of a cliff, and having to make the best of it right there.

Small alder tree wearing an ice coat.

Some trees seem to thrive in incredibly harsh circumstances. I’m not as tough as a tree. I can walk over and stand next to the heater. Actually there is a worn out spot on the floor in front of the heater.  There might be a hot chocolate stain in front of that wear spot, too.

Snow-clad mountaintop trees.

I am fascinated by water in its many forms. Darn good thing, that, since I live in a temperate rainforest. The water doesn’t lock up as ice all winter; it is ever-changing.

It can be maddening when the roads are wet ice, or when slushy piles freeze into solid lumps that are impossible to shovel away. Last week there were temperatures in the teens (-9 C) and this week it will get up to 40 degrees (4 C). Next week who knows? Winter will continue for three more months and the hillsides will alternate between white and green. Yards may have snow angels and snowmen one week and slush covered moss the next.

Fern-like hoarfrost.

Hoarfrost crystal

At 1:30 a.m. the other night I suddenly had to go outside in 18 degree weather and take frost pictures. In my slippers. The hoarfrost had grown again, and some of the crystals were and inch and a half tall (4cm). It was a garden of sparkly ferns calling me away from the heater. Clouds had just covered up the moon so my flashlight illuminated a tiny part of a glittery world. I crouched by a snowbank that was covered with points of frost. How did the water know that in this temperature and humidity it was to construct this latticework? By seven in the morning there was three inches of snow covering the frost. Yesterday it warmed up enough to start raining.

Closeup of frost crystal.

The rain reminds me that the weather often makes temporary art – momentary beauty to appreciate even in a harsh season. So I stop and look at the insides of icicles.

Oh, that is so worth it.

Happy New Year, All, and may you find remarkable details in each day of 2013!

Alaska Beachcomber