The damsel waits, For the long winter night to end, and The warm embrace from Her beloved, To make her blossom, With nature’s gift, to Debut her beauty, and Her sweet fragrance, that Will attract her suitor, her Nectar, effervescent, ready to spill.
Alas, the night dragged on, and Cold hand of winter touches with A deathly kiss, as She wraps her tightly to Avoid the chill, Morning comes, cold and wet, Her beloved hides behind the clouds.
First winter showers Run down her cheeks, As she cries for what Could have been, Spring is just a distant dream, This bud won’t bloom, Her gardener won’t come, She cries, as Death looms.
Photo by author in his garden today(12/12/20) morning.
Our plan was to hike in Bryce Canyon National Park and also to catch sunrise and sunset there on December 27.
The day started with snow flurries in Bryce. While it was great to look at from inside the warmth of the hotel breakfast room, it also became quite clear that viewing a Bryce Canyon magical sunrise was not in our destiny in this trip. By around noon it was clear that the flurries were not going to end and we decided to brave it. On driving down to the visitor’s center, we came to know that thanks to the partial government shutdown, only a small portion of the park was open, mainly due to financial help of the state government of Utah. Big thanks to UTAH.
Completely covered from head to toe due to the cold with temperatures in low 10 (F) and with wind chill around 4F and blowing snow flurries, hiking was not easy. My glasses fogged within few minutes and I had to take it off. Fingers were getting cold inside gloves but technology helped in this case. My eldest son had got some hand warmer packages. These little packages worked so well that I was able to take off my right hand gloves that helped immensely in using the camera.
I am thankful that we decided to hike though my wife was quite apprehensive due to the slippery trail conditions. Using crampons under shoes helped in hiking. What amazing vista’s. Though we were deprived of the colorful display of sunlight firing up various sand stone formations, we were rewarded amply by the display of the magical winter wonderland of Bryce Canyon National Park.
We arrived the Sunset point after about three and half hours of hiking hoping to see sunset but a grey sky and falling snow flurries dashed our hope.
Hopefully will be able to see sunrise tomorrow and then drive to Zion.
I am vacationing with my family and this post definitely was not in my planning.
We visited Horseshoe Bend in Page. Arizona on XMas day afternoon. It was a joyous occasion for us as we had planned it for a long time. Little did we know that at a time we were having fun, a family was grieving for their loved one who lost her life at that very spot twenty four hours ago.
We arrived Bryce Canyon at about 8:30PM yesterday to biting cold and immediately went out for dinner before the restaurants closed. On return to our hotel and opening internet, very first news that we got in whatsapp from my brother-in-law shook us to the core. We scoured the internet to know what happened. All the news channels had reported that on Christmas eve afternoon a girl from San Jose, CA (my hometown) fell to her death at Horseshoe Bend. Parents reported her missing after looking for her for couple of hours. A helicopter search located her body seven hundred feet below the lookout point but it was too late in the evening to recover the body. The body was recovered on Christmas day AT ten in the morning.
My mind immediately focussed on the tension my wife was going through when we were having fun at Horseshoe Bend. It was a gorgeous evening, cool but not cold with the sun low on the horizon. She, like any good mother, was trying to keep us all away from going too near the rim as we were busy clicking away trying to preserve the moment in our cameras and cell phones. All around us, young and old alike were busy taking selfies. A barrier was erected near the rim of the look out point but many adventurous souls were scattered all over happily oblivious that a tragedy had occurred there may be less than twenty four hours ago. It may have hurt the business if people would have known. One can only speculate.
As we were about to return to the shuttle stop my wife panicked as we could not locate our daughter. For about ten minutes or so, she basically went bonkers looking for her. Happily we found her well inside the barrier taking photos. I can only imagine what was going through the minds of the parents of the missing girl the previous evening.
While the cause of the fall is not known yet and speculation is futile, our memory of Horseshoe Bend will foreever be associated with this tragedy. Pray that the grieving parents find strength to bear with this great loss.
As for me I can only say that please be careful. Don’t let a moment’s indiscretion be the cause of lifelong grief.
Initial weather report was that there may be rain during our stay in Page. Therefore we did not book tours in advance for Antelope canyons. However there was no indication of rain in the morning, so after checkout we tried our luck with local tour companies in town but every tour was sold out. Undettered we drove to the entrance of lower Antelope Canyon but no luck. It was suggested there by one of the tour operator to check with slot canyon X tour operator some seven miles down the road. There we struck gold. After we booked our tickets, at thirty minutes past noon we were transported by vans over gravel roads covered with red colored sands. At the entrance the people were grouped with about twenty each to one guide. It was about a mile and half hike round trip over sand and stone. It was an incredible experience.
After the slot canyon X tour we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant and drove to near by Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powel lookout.
It was now time to say good bye to Page and move to Bryce Canyon. By the time we left Lake Powel look out, sun had already set.
After about two and half hours drive from Page arrived Bryce Canyon at about eight thirty pm to a bone chilling cold of 13F (-10C) and with wind chill it was 0F.
There was a chill in the air and cool breeze blowing,
Zipped up my jacket and covered my ears ,
Ready against the cold., I started walking.
Two houses down from me met Dick, my neighbor.
Dressed in his shorts, T shirt and sandals, hairs blowing,
Going out on an errand, he said, closing the door .
I said Hi and kept on walking, puzzled and wondering,
How was he not cold and here I was dressed in layers.
Soon he crossed me, smiling and waving,
As I was left gazing at the quickly vanishing rear,
Of a twin turbo eight fifty HP, red Shelby Cobra merrily humming .
Quite a bit of warmth must be radiated by the muscle car ,
And those twin exhausts, eight fifty horses roaring,
Thumping music they were blasting, like cannons from war.
Years back celebrated his fiftieth high school reunion,
And still going strong, Dick, my dashing neighbor.
Tinge of jealousy, sure, but a dose of hope on the horizon,
I hurried back home, popped two multivitamins and some more,
Took out my jacket and the ear muffs too, stiffened my bones,
With my hopes and head high, I walked out the door.
Another school shooting, another debate. When will this stop? Congress have blood in their hands. Hiding behind the second amendment, debate will go on between the gun lobby and those clamoring for gun restriction while innocents will pay the price.
I wrote this poem a day after six religious fanatics shot dead hundred and forty nine people including hundred and thirty two students in a school in Peshawar, Pakistan on December 14, 2014. Originally posted this poem in my blog on December 20, 2015.
There was a storm here yesterday, And I saw this tree Bereft of all the beautiful colored foliages, Strewn all around it on the ground. One leaf was clinging to a branch Quivering in the winds, trying to hang around.
Winter days short and bitingly cold I‘m all bundled up for a stroll Nights frigid, warmed by crackling fire Tightly wrapped up, cuddling and snuggling Enjoying sweet dreams of winter wonderlands Rested well, rejuvenated for coming spring
I always loved winter. When I was growing up, the town I was born was still a small place comparatively. It still had lots of open, marshy lands all around and lots of trees. I used to look forward to winter, because winter meant no more sweaty days, lot less mosquitos and best of all, school was about to be over. I used to dream about when I could be in my bed, under the quilt with a story book in my hand and mind lost somewhere dreaming about winter wonderland. Snow was of course a distant dream.
First time I saw snow up close was when I was attending college in the midwest. It was a clear morning in March, cool and crisp. Suddenly through the windows of our third floor classroom, I saw some fluffy white stuff floating by. Somebody shouted snow. We all rushed to the windows to see. Before long, the road below was covered by the white stuff and by day’s end there was around six inches of snow on the ground. I had seen some flurries during Christmas time in Atlanta but that was not snow. It did not stick to the ground. This was the real stuff. Oh, what joy! Nirvana! That night was bitingly cold, ice had formed on the road below our department building. Like many other novice students before me, I had the misfortune to slip on black ice that night and a lingering pain on my rear end for few days to remind me of my foolishness of stepping out without looking. My love for winter definitely was not hurt by the fall.
Winter, of course has it’s bad association. Nuclear winter, political winter and what not. For me winter is a season of rest and relaxation to be rejuvenated for the coming spring. If it is winter, spring is not far behind. There is always hope. With that hope in mind, starting word for my poem for week fifty of my fifty two weeks journey with the letter W is “Winter”. Two more weeks and my journey will be complete.