Saturday, October 16, 2010

"There's no place like home" we click the Ruby slippers....

As fun as it was to get out and vacation, it sure is great to be home!  Mr. Winter made no effort to hold off for a few days before casting his cold and blustery allure upon us.  With the night time temperatures down to 20F most of the past week and daytime temps trying in vain to reach the 50's, there is a definite change abounding us!  The lake began to freeze last Sunday, with all of the water fowl and lake life all but gone.  A lone straggling tundra swan showed up very briefly today.  Until he realized that the lake was about 80% frozen, in which he was quick to move on!

Back tracking by a week, we were coming home from Anchorage last Saturday morning about 1:30AM from a concert and witnessed a spectacular display of the Aurora Borealis!  It filled the northern sky, an amazing green and blue iridescent curtain, flowing across the sky like drapes gently being blown by a crisp winter breeze through an open window.  We were both awestruck, as this was the best we have personally seen since our arrival almost 4 years ago.  It lasted for about 15 minutes before it gently faded into the starry night sky as mysteriously as it emanated.  How mysterious is that you ask?

Our experiences have been, generally, the Aurora initially appearing as a slight misty cloud that appears in  the night sky.  This night I thought I was seeing a cloud of smoke in the sky, figuring it was someone burning a debris pile late at night.  I realized within less than a minute that this cloud was turning green and beginning to slightly glow, and was not as low in the sky as I originally thought it was.  As I told Maryann to check it out, before I could finish my sentence, this glowing cloud burst into a colorful array which filled the length of the sky and began to dance at will amongst the stars, ruffling, and furrowing about like a skater elegantly flowing across the ice.  No words can describe!  They are saying that this year, unlike the past couple, will be a good year for the Northern Lights.  Being such a brilliant display so early in the can only hope!

In the late 60's and early 70's, many bands and music which shaped a generation as well as the future of music arose out of the California Bay Area.  Bands such as the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin....the Jefferson Airplane, played the local scene, there,on a consistent and regular basis.  Jorma Kaukonen, lead guitarist and Jack Cassidy, bass guitarist for the Airplane, both founding members, spread their wings and started their own band, Hot Tuna in the early 70's, while still playing shows with the Jefferson Airplane.  The duo's music, a fusion jam of rock n blues became popular with fans and over the years has grown into a following.  Often playing as an acoustic trio, the band busts out periodically and tours with a full ensemble in what is deemed an "electric" performance that will almost always set the venue smoking!  As was the case Friday October 8th at the University of Alaska Anchorage.  Their first "electric" performance in Alaska in 40 years was sure to be one not to be missed.  Coming off of two weeks at Love Fest, it was definitely a superb way to send off summer, and call in the winter!

There was a time, only for a moment....about an hour to be exact, that we thought we wouldn't make it to the show that day.  After a conundrum with the rental agency at the Kenai airport over a rental car, something we wanted to take up to Anchorage this trip, and a near bru-haha with the idiot behind the counter, we found it best suited, 'in the name of the music' to just take our rig up to Anchorage.  We arrived to the campus early.  Now, being well rehearsed in the concert circuit over the years, 'early' is the choice for those who want the best seats for a General Admission concert, such as was this.  We arrived so early, that we got front row parking just feet from the door.  In fact, we were the first at the door!  This made us the first to be let into the lobby....which made us first into the theater.  This of course gave us first choice of seats, which put us front row center stage at the show!!

We got 7th row seats at a Grateful Dead show in 1993.  I got within 30 feet of the stage at a Heart concert in 1989.  But I....we, have never been front row center stage until this night at electric Hot Tuna!  And what a hot show it was!  Punching out some old favorites and classics from over the years, as well as a few new songs from their soon to be released new album, it was a performance to behold.  As the band left the stage for the night, a standing ovation and powerful applause brought them back out for an absolutely amazing encore of "Water Song", for those who know the music.  This was a very appropriate and pleasant way to end a great night!  Then, to see the Aurora later that early morning on the way I said, words cannot describe!

This time of year has always been our favorite.  This is when the temps are cool to cold, the fall breezes open to winter winds.  The ground and grass begins to freeze indicating that the rush to do all that needs to be done before winter sets done!  If you haven't done it by now, it won't be done until the spring thaw!  There is a weird romance to me with the lessening daylight and the encroaching darkness.  The moonlit and starry night sky, the brisk mornings of waking dogs doing the morning potty potty in the frozen air and human nipples pert to the late rising sun.  I wish I could put it into understandable terms.  Fall was my favorite time of year in Dorrington, and is most definitely my favorite here, only with different perimeters and a more tangible presence.  Tonight finds us with the wind wildly blowing in off of the bay, and snow imminent in the next few days.  We both are loving it and enjoying our 2nd winter with the 'empty nest'!  As I said, it was divine to get out and vacation ourselves with no boundary's or responsibilities, but "there is no place like home".  And the magic around us during this season bears witness to this simple fact!

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