“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.”

-Friedrich Froebel, the man who invented the concept of kindergarten with the understanding that activity and play were an essential part of early learning.

Play courtesy Strocchi on Flicker
Play courtesy Strocchi on Flicker

Today is Friedrich Forebel’s birthday, and I guess this quote struck me because the benefit and importance of playing has cropped up repeatedly in the last week or so, and has become my new fixation du jour.

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April is Poetry Month and other Goings Ons

April is almost over, and I’m just getting around to collecting some ideas about in one place. Being busy is good, but if someone could slow the clocks down and give me a chance to catch up again that would be nice.

In addition to the big things (Easter, Earth Day etc.) There were a bunch of interesting things going on to distinguish the month (as if the beginning of wildflower season wasn’t distinction enough around here). I don’t know if they are interesting enough to actually get me to participate – which is probably why it took me so long to mention them – but definitely interesting enough to get my head going around a bit. Helping out with the Yosemite Sentinel brings a lot of these random events to the surface, and is one of the most rewarding things about working on it.

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Up from out of in under there!

Up From Out of In Under
Up From Out of In Under
Another great find courtesy of The Writer’s Almanac

I lately lost a preposition:
It hid, I thought, beneath my chair.
And angrily I cried: “Perdition!
Up from out of in under there!”

Correctness is my vade mecum,
And straggling phrases I abhor;
And yet I wondered: “What should he come
Up from out of in under for?”

Morris Bishop (who would have turned 116 years old today)
poem published in 1947 in The New Yorker

Frazil Ice in Yosemite Creek

Frazil Ice near the base of Yosemite Falls
Frazil Ice near the base of Yosemite Falls
In the late winter, early spring, the water in Yosemite Falls can become super cooled and form small ice crystals that turn Yosemite Creek into a beautiful flowing slushie. I’ve been living in Yosemite for 6 years, and it’s the first time I’ve actually gone to Yosemite Creek when it was cold out and seen it.

When I confessed to a long-time Yosemite resident, he responded, “Glad you are enjoying your stay here in beautiful Yosemite National Park.” which I read with a saccharine tone. But it is so true in some ways. All this time, and I’m still a tourist – still seeing new things and being amazed. I’ve had people ask me if there is enough to see in Yosemite to spend 3 days here, and just now I saw something that it’s taken me 6 years to actually see. I guess that would be an emphatic ‘Yes’.

Frazil ice backed up in Yosemite Creek
Frazil ice backed up in Yosemite Creek
After I got back, I was telling everyone, and Tom also ran out to see the ice. When he returned, he called and commented, “I see you your frazil ice, and raise you one bobcat”. There’s so much to see in Yosemite.

When I first got to the trailhead, the ice was starting to back up and come to a stop. I guess if it was colder, and more of the frazil ice had formed, it would have backed up the river and caused the banks to overflow. According to the NPS site, it does this on a semi-regular basis – covering trails and causing damage to bridges and sometimes even buildings that used to sit next to the creek.

In 1997, the frazil ice built up to the point where it nearly covered the Lower Yosemite Falls bridge – coming up over the railings. That must have been incredible to see.

PS. Quick note: super cooled frazil ice this morning, but tomorrow’s forecast is for a high near 60 degrees. The weather here has been absolutely schizophrenic. Sure makes things interesting.

Happy Easter from Vermont

The Lambert Family
The Lambert Family

So many things are going on. The next generation is getting ready to head to college, and our nephew is relocating (much to our delight) to our end of the continent for work. It’s such a good thing to be able to get everyone together for a not-so-quick family picture. The only person we missed was Tom’s sister, who got hit with migranes late last night and couldn’t make it down for the family photo.

The birthday/Easter celebration went incredibly well, and I met so many of Deny and Maria’s good friends – many people that I’ve been hearing stories of for a long time. Maria’s memory may not be as good as it once was, but it was clear that her friends are so important to her, and she wandered the room, with Deny’s help, saying hello to everyone. The Easter Buffet at the Trapp Family Lodge was exquisite, and there was plenty of options for vegetarians, and even the Celiac’s among us.

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Travel Notes

We’ve arrived safe and sound in Stowe, and have been spending a relaxing morning with family. The trip went very smoothly, no delays and no surprises – except that the San Francisco to Chicago flight got in about 20 minutes early.

The Fresno Airport has started putting their Giant Sequoia displays in. The California tree replica is already in place, and just needs some patching to get the joints together.

On the airplane from SF to Chicago I was seated next to a guy who was watching old episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and giggling so hard that it made the bench shake.

I spent most of the trip reading from an old book of classic short stories that was published in 1941. There are some great stories in that book, and so far my favorite has got to be the one called “A Municipal Report” by O. Henry, the penname for William Sydney Porter. Not only is it a great story with compelling characters, as many of the stories in this book are, but the story is just so tight – all the elements circling back around in importance in the end. In the story the narrator stops in Nashville to engage a writer for a literary magazine. He meets Uncle Caesar, the clever, and kingly old black man that drives the coach and Major Caswell, the boisterous drunk, and finally the author herself Azalea Adair, the wise long-suffering writer and learns of the relationships between the three. It’s the kind of story that I could really see the benefit of going back to study to see how the whole thing is put together. Will definitely be checking out more of his short stories.

Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson is the next book on the list for Book Club, and I finished it during a wonderfully decadent Monday. Sometimes the best thing to do with a day off is lie around inside reading, and I took advantage of some time off to do just that. I had been really excited to read another book by Bill Bryson, because, lets face it, a writer that is able to make a story about failing to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail really fascinating, is an incredibly talented writer.

Bryson did a great job of bringing the 50s to life for someone who had never experienced it – a time of great optimism and wonder, and also a time of great fear and suspicion. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed to find out that the book was so much about the “Life and Times” – and so little about the “Thunderbolt Kid”. I’d expected more childish tales of fanciful and heroic deeds. But when the Thunderbolt Kid persona was mentioned, it was mostly just in passing – exercising some minor revenge by using his amazing powers of ThunderVision. Bryson stayed mostly focused on things that actually happened, either to him or in the world at large. Which is not to say that I didn’t laugh out loud at some of the things that he describes. The book is similar to the tone and style of A Walk in the Woods, and I’m not sure where I got my weird expectations from, but there they are. It was a more serious book than I imagined.

Headed to VT for Easter and a Birthday

Tom's mom skiing Smugglers Notch in 2002
Tom's mom skiing Smugglers Notch in 2002
Bags are packed and ready to go for a lightning quick trip to VT to celebrate Easter, and Tom’s mother’s 75th birthday with family. The plan is to drive down to Fresno tonight and spend the night at a hotel near the airport so that we’ll be ready to go early Friday morning for the big day of travel. Flying across the country from one small airport to another is no joke – our flight departs at 7:31am, and we stop in San Francisco and Chicago before we land in Burlington at 10:02pm and begin the drive up to Stowe – but it will be worth it to spend the time with family on this occasion.

Kids counting Easter eggs back in 2002
Kids counting Easter eggs back in 2002
The last time we made the trip, we either didn’t get any pictures, or have misfiled/misplaced them somewhere along the way. I’m definitely planning to travel with a camera (maybe a couple of cameras) this time, and hopefully my picture taking will start right at the Fresno airport with some of the new Sequoia displays that they are installing there (if they don’t have the area blocked off). Plus, going back through the old 2002 pics of our nieces and nephews was awfully fun. Aren’t they cute?

Ahwiyah Point Rockfall Bigger than 1996 Rockfall

NPS just came out with an estimate of how large the March 28 Ahwiyah Point rockfall was, and I was surprised to learn that it was nearly 50% larger than the major rockfall in 1996 that fell near Happy Isles. Turns out, there has been a really interesting conversation going on over at Supertopo about the rockfall, and I picked up some more interesting information as well, and would recommend that as a good source for pictures and analysis about where the rockfall came from.

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