The Winter Sky at Dusk

On Christmas Eve I stepped outside for a moment and noticed how shockingly quiet it was. There were no birds chirping, no hint of a wind, and the snow on the ground muffled any noise that might have tried to break the silence. It was crisp, cold, completely clear, and quite beautiful. I’m not a big fan of winter in general, but there are moments I like and this was one of them. I brought my camera and tripod out to take some pictures. After a few shots I tried to isolate the essential elements of the evening: the deeply blue sky, the bright moon, and the spindly trees reaching skyward. I actually composed this shot specifically for use as a desktop background and never really intended to put it online. But I think it distills out some of the essence of the season, and later in the year when the night is full of sound and movement again it’ll be something to remind us of the austere beauty of winter.

Even Tigers Get Tired

This is Flash, the cat who thinks he’s a dog… or maybe something bigger. He’s been known to stalk the other cats in the house, chase foxes when outdoors, and he even stared down a deer once in our backyard (true story, there were witnesses). Every so often my Mom will get a call from someone several neighborhoods away saying they found a cat roaming around their yard and called the number on his collar. This actually happens less often than it should, since Flash has a tendency to escape from whatever collar is put on him.

Despite all that, on this particular day he was out for the count. This was early afternoon and he could barely keep his eyes open after we woke him up from his nap in the sun on a bench outside. I can only imagine what nighttime terror he inflicted on the small animals in our area to make him so sleepy.

Next week: Winter, or extracts thereof

Guarding the Vines

Last fall I was in the Northern Neck area of Virginia for a friend’s birthday and we all decided to do some wine tasting as part of the celebrations. On our way out of White Fences Vineyard we stopped by the entrance to take some pictures in front of one of their gigantic 25′ tall corkscrew statues. That’s when we noticed this guy, who was sitting just behind a fence and gave a few little howls and barks as we approached. We could tell he was shivering, which was no surprise considering what a cold and misty day it was, but he stood his ground and watched us attentively as we left.

By the way, if you’ve never had White Fences wine you should check them out. It’s easily the best wine I’ve tried from the Northern Neck, and one of my favorites from Virginia in general. Hopefully we’ll see them at this year’s Virginia Wine Showcase next weekend, so when we get a tasting I’ll see if I can find out this dog’s name.