LOCAL VIEW –Fall Peepers–

There is always a danger of missing the beauty right before your nose, especially if you take it for granted. I’m sure people who live with spectacular views can get up in the morning and look out the window and say, “The Matterhorn…Ho hum.” In such cases it helps a little to have people come from all over the world to see what you take for granted.

But then there is a new danger of acting as a sort of prop to the scenery. Years ago I lived with a Navajo in Arizona, and I used to kid him about a stoic expression he always assumed when tourists snapped pictures, and with a bit of a smile he’d inform me, “That is how Indians are suppose to look. Check out Arizona Highways magazine.”

I remembered him years later when I was raking leaves off the beaten path for a rich lady, using an old fashioned rake rather than a leaf-blower, and much to my surprise saw a bus come swaying and lurching down the lane, barely squeezing between the old stone walls. The upper part of the bus was largely glass, and on the inside I could see all the tourists, who I assumed were from Japan, were all pressed up against the glass snapping pictures of me, the quaint Yankee raking leaves. As hard as I tried to be natural, I found myself assuming a pose, and felt like a picture in National Geographic.

A third way to miss the beauty is to rate it. No two autumns are the same, and some have briefer beauty, because a gale rips all the leaves off the trees, while others have a browner beauty, because of drought. Rather than appreciating the variety I sometimes look back to the year which was the most brilliant, and become comparative.

The second half of the summer was so wet that all were expecting an especially brilliant autumn. But brilliance is dependent on sunshine. As I took the kids from the Childcare out on a daily walk I’d look over across a pond to the swamp maples, which are the the first to change, and see the amazing growth of color in the sun.

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But then a passing cloud would drape a shadow

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I prefer the colors to stand out, and a part of me called the second view downright dingy. But this would make a liar out of the part of myself that states the beauty is there for eyes to see, so I strove to see it. But then I was put to the test, as we were hit by a long spell of various sorts of gloom, cloud, drizzle and dampness.  Even as the foliage grew more brilliant the weather grew more gloomy.

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I figured I’d likely miss the swamp maples at their most brilliant, and have to wait for the sugar maples, but then I noticed the weather was so wet the sugar maple leaves were rotting as much as they were changing color.

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Then I heard motorcycles roar past one gray morning, and knew for them to be out leaf-peeping it had to be dry, though very gray, and as I headed off to do chores in an adjoining town I made plans to sidetrack into some swamps. I had a sense it was “now or never”.

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All you need to do is pull over and slosh a little into the sedge to have the color engulf you.

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If you are not careful you may become enchanted, wander into hidden valleys, and go unseen for twenty years like Rip Van Winkle.

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Soon you forget CNN or Drudge. You are visiting a utterly different swamp.

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And once you have found beauty on a cloudy day, a clear day is sheer heaven.

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ARCTIC SEA ICE —Northwest Passage Luxury Liner All Booked Up—

Luxury Liner 733

“1,700 passengers and crew” and an icebreaker to clear the way.  This is the holiday for me!

“Prices for the journey aboard the 14-deck luxury liner start at nearly $22,000 rising to $120,000 for a deluxe stateroom – and this year’s cruise is sold out, according to the company.”

Oh…well…who the heck wants to go up there, anyway.

In the wake of that ship will be the gray-water waste of 1,700 people, but in the bow people will clasp their hands and go on and on about how folk like me harm the environment, by staying home and working. Or…that’s what my somewhat grumpy imagination is thinking.

Guess who will be working as tour guides?

“Ice pilots, polar bear researchers, and veterans of other Arctic expeditions will be aboard to ensure passengers’ safety and to protect the local wildlife, environment and customs, the company said.”  (They may not call themselves “tour guides”, but I’m green with envy, so I do.) (I suppose that, if you love the arctic, you will do anything to avoid getting a Real Job down south.)

I sure hope nothing goes wrong. The big city of Nome, Alaska has only 18 hospital beds.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/28/us-canada-arctic-cruise-ship-titanic-emergency-training-coast-guard

North Pole Camping at Barneo. Only $28,995.

Barneo jet over tent barneoicecampquarktile

Time is running out, if you want to get rid of me by sending me to the North Pole.

https://portal.quarkexpeditions.com/STW/STWProduct.aspx?Theme=QUARK&ProductCode=LND-BAR-5D2016

After all, what is a piddling $28,995 to a wealthy person like you? And there is always the hope I won’t come back, though the tour guide calls this “embracing the unexpected.”

http://www.polarcruises.com/arctic/ships/land-based-trips/north-pole-barneo-ice-camp-arctic/north-pole-express-barneo-ice-camp

Barneo route map. Map_NorthPoleExpressBarneoIceCamp

If you are a real tightwad, I suppose you can send me the cheap way, for only $18,995.

http://expeditionsonline.com/tour-148/north-pole-express-barneo-ice-camp

But you don’t really want to have people look at you and call you cheap, do you?

You had best hurry. Time is running out. Not only are all the vacancies filling up, but we all know the ice is melting away up there, and soon there will be none left to camp on.9605374252_a1551c2c48_c

http://www.icetrek.com/barneo-ice-camp.html

So please do not delay, and send your money to me swiftly.

For more on the topic of the Barneo camp, with some funny pictures,  you can check out the post I wrote last year on March 21:

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/north-pole-sunrise-tour-now/

And here is a report I wrote about the 2014 season.

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/%EF%BB%BFjets-landing-on-north-pole-ice/

And here is the report from last year, when the jets landing gear crumpled to get things off to an interesting start.

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/jets-landing-gear-fails-at-pole/

By the way, they wont start actually building the camp up there for another month, I think. They like to wait until sunrise, which is March 22 at the Pole.