Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Place of Our Own

I'd like to tell you about a beautiful little lake I know of, perched in a glaciated valley and surrounded by granite peaks, where the brown trout bite fearlessly and elk come down to the water's edge at evening and graze on lush meadow grasses garnished with wildflowers, but I can't. I promised.

A friend took me there on the condition that I not reveal its location to anyone.

"And for heaven's sake, don't write about it!" he pleaded.

Continued at... A Place of Our Own

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
The Nature Pages
Artwork: A Place of Our Own

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Raspberry Rhapsody

Growing raspberries is like raising reindeer or taming mustangs. Fenced in or not, the species still hears the call of the wild, and given the opportunity it will follow.

Raspberries flourish on their own throughout the Northwest. I've seen them along roads, at the edges of farmers' fields, and deep in the backcountry. They grow best on slightly sloping, sunny hillsides.

As a child, my first harvest memories are of raspberries. I recall carrying jars of the precious red fruit to the kitchen where my mother was canning jam and watching her stir them into a molten mixture on the stove. Just the memory of its smell makes my mouth water.

Continued at... Raspberry Rhapsody

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Plants and Seeds
Home and Garden
Artwork: Red Raspberries

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lightning Strikes

Tonight the sky is growling. Beneath the blackened heavens a finicky breeze rattles the maple leaves and makes the pine boughs groan. A scent of rain rides the whiffs.

Without warning this darkness is penetrated by fingers of ghostly white. They grasp at the earth, its treetops and its mountainsides, ever so lightly before withdrawing into the night. Moments later, thunder rumbles.

Lightning is one of the most dramatic, uncontrollable and dangerous acts of God. A hundred times each second bolts of lightning connect with the Earth. Where they will strike, no one can say. But aside from floods, no other natural phenomenon claims as many lives or causes as much damage.

Continued at... Lightning Strikes

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
The Nature Pages
Out There
Artwork: Lightning Strikes

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sunday Drive

Folks on a Sunday Drive count livestock, assess crop conditions and take notice of wildflowers. They pause for rainbows, old weathered barns and small animals crossing the road. And they're likely to stop at any yard sale, flea market or roadside fruit stand.

You'll know these folks by their sun-bronzed forearms resting atop drawn-down windows and their willingness to wave at passersby. Sometimes they'll be stopped side by side in the middle of the road facing opposite directions and jawing at each other across the center line.

Continued at... Sunday Drive

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Artwork: Sunday Drive

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ascent of Man

There are tougher jobs than parenting. Longshoremen lift far heavier weights and ocean-going fishermen endure much greater discomfort. City police on night patrol face more stress and emergency medical teams have to deal with more terrible traumas. But no man's job is more dangerous to him on a personal level than fatherhood. No other occupation threatens as much heartbreak or deeper wounds. The loss of no other livelihood can cost a man not only his life, but his place in eternity.

For my little boy's well-being, I realized early on, there is little I would not suffer. His hurts pain me ten times more than my own. His laughter makes me happier than my own.

Continued at... Ascent of Man

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Father's Day
Artwork: Time by Jean Monti

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Keeping a Tornado Watch

This time of year I look for thunderstorms, big boomers with rolling black clouds and great flashes of lightning. I want the kind of storm that sends down sheets of rain, gully-washers, and creates worrisome winds that uproot trees and down power lines.

I wait for the kind of tempest King Lear lived through, both terrifying and thrilling, capable of washing away the grime of madness, purifying and cathartic.
For three springs and summers I lived in Kansas. There I saw storms that could lift a roof or drown a crop.

Huge walls of cloud, broiling in fury and rising into the rafters of heaven, would come rumbling across the plains late on any given afternoon turning the day into night and sending every living creatllre scurrying for cover

Continued at... Keeping a Tornado Watch

Michael Hofferber
Rural Delivery
Out There
Artwork: The Dimmitt Tornado