Pink Cloud

I saw a pink cloud today.  As the sun was setting I noticed it off to the north. Hidden behind some trees so I went to get a better look.

For some reason this pretty pink cloud caught my attention.

I stared…fascinated.

It’s not like I haven’t seen pink clouds before.

I’ve seen a lifetime of pink clouds.

I’ve experienced them as well.

The first time I heard the phrase pink cloud was not in reference to a sunset. It was in my first year of sobriety.

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A pink cloud in early recovery is a period of time when you feel euphoric, alive, happy, excited, and hopeful.  The alcohol out of your system, you begin to feel for the first time. Truly experience life without the numbness, without the haze, without the physical pain and emptiness.

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Like a new day dawning…

A time of waking up to all the amazing possibilities of life.

I remember my first pink cloud well.  I also remember wondering why people told me to be careful.

Early sobriety is a time of great highs and lows. A roller coaster ride.  The pink cloud is often thought to be dangerous for the newly recovered. It can lead to an extreme low when shame and guilt come knocking. And an unrealistic view of life that can often lead to relapse.

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I was fortunate.

I survived my pink cloud..and stayed sober.

Today, over two decades later, a pink cloud came into my life again.

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And I stared at it for a long time…

I think pink clouds in later sobriety…aren’t so dangerous any more.

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They wake us up to all the amazing possibilities of life.

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Sunshine

There was something extra special about receiving the Sunshine Award today

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Part of it may be that I received it in the midst of a snowstorm during one of the coldest winters I can remember.  A sunny treat to warm my heart and brighten my spirits!

Thank you Robin for this wonderful honor.

If you don’t already know Robin, I highly encourage you to head over to

http://witlessdatingafterfifty.wordpress.com/

to meet her!

She brings sunshine into so many lives through her writing, her spirit, her kindness and her friendship.

As with any award, there are rules! I will do my best to honor this tradition.

To accept the award, the awardee must do the following:

Display the award on your blog.
Announce your win with a post and thank the blogger who nominated you.
Present 10 deserving bloggers “who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”
Link to the awardees and let them know of the nomination.
List 10 interesting things about yourself.

I thought instead of listing 10 interesting things about myself, I would share 10 of my favorite sunny pictures. Enjoy and I hope they bring a little sunshine into your winter day.

There are so many creative and inspiring bloggers here. I thought a lot about who I’d like to nominate. Many of the blogs I follow are about alcoholism and recovery.  I consider them to be part of my own personal recovery and they truly inspire me every day, often without even knowing it. This award is my way of thanking them and honoring our shared road of growth and recovery

http://messageinabottleblog.wordpress.com/

http://runningonsober.com/

http://themiracleisaroundthecorner.wordpress.com/

http://anniethinksabout.wordpress.com/

http://dorothyrecovers.wordpress.com/

http://soberandlivingthedream.wordpress.com/

http://byebyebeer.wordpress.com/

http://lifecorked.com/

http://sobergrace.wordpress.com/

http://recoveryrequired.wordpress.com/

Two Hour Delay

It doesn’t happen very often. In fact, I think in the 28 years I’ve been teaching, I can count them on one hand. Snow days are plentiful, but not delays.

At first, I didn’t know what to do. “All schools in the Chittenden East School District are delayed 2 hours”. I had already showered. I was dressed and ready to go.

So I went. I headed to work.

Somewhere between home and the entrance to the interstate, I decided to take a different route.

I’ve noticed on my morning commute this week some interesting things happening.

Last week the thaw. This week the bitter cold.

Here was an opportunity to look more closely and capture natures’ wondrous adaptation to this extreme temperature change.

The temperature outside read -10. But the sun was rising and with it…breathtaking sights.

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I found places to pull off.

The sun rose higher and higher. I took turns down unfamiliar roads so I could follow the river.

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The warmer water reacted with the bitter air. Plumes of vapor rose…coating the trees with frost. The sun shimmering and reflecting.

My fingers frozen. It’s hard to take pictures with gloves on. But every turn and bend in the river and road…something magical would catch my eye.

I glanced at the time. My two hour delay dwindling. I made one final stop before getting on the interstate to finish my commute.

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And made it to work on time.

There are Mountains to Climb

I love to hike.  And I live in the perfect state for hiking. There are mountains everywhere.

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 During the hiking season I usually try to climb a few…

You have come along with me for a couple of them.

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The perfect season for hiking is early fall.

Scragg Mountain, although I never found the top, was incredible this past fall.

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Camel’s Hump was challenging, but exhilarating.

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This past summer, before school began, I climbed Belvidere Mountain…

A long hike, but one I was determined to do.  It is a mountain that has always fascinated me.

Eerily quiet now.  But once home to the largest asbestos mine in the country.

The lower half of the mountain closed and monitored by the EPA.  The controversy continues today about clean up and impacts on the environment.  The upper half of the mountain, bursting with life.  A difficult hike.  A trail that seemed to go uphill the entire 3.6 miles.

The feeling of making it to the top is more than just satisfying.  It is a test…of strength and courage and heart. As in life, we all have our own mountains to conquer.  I like to think that hiking the real thing helps prepare me for the hills and mountains that cross my path.

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But I have never hiked a mountain in the winter.

I want to…

Mt. Hunger, just a short distance away, beckons me.

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It looms cold and stark.  A challenge.  Something I have always wanted to do.  This winter I am going to climb it.

I know the way now…

Winter Sky

Each morning during my commute to work I am awestruck by the sunrises.  And because the sun sets earlier…the sunsets on the way home at night. The winter sky seems brighter, bolder, more colorful than other times of the year.

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Perhaps it is the angle of the suns’ rays. Or perhaps it is because the lack of color in the landscape makes the sky really stand out.

Whatever the reason, I find myself looking up.

In delight and wonder…

The way the clouds appear to reach outward, swirling and dancing overhead.

Light, fluffy wisps…

Resting on mountain tops…

Painting the horizon in deep, rich hues…

Color amidst the stark white scenery. Warmth during the coldest months of the year. The winter sky…

The Calm Before…

It was talked about by the weather people for days…

A snowstorm, a Nor’easter, was headed our way. But this time not just snow.

Bitter cold…freeze your you know what off…bone chilling…frost bite producing…way below zero…cold.

I love a good snowstorm. I love to walk as the snow falls feeling the flakes on my face…a beautiful, peaceful, happy snow.

But not cold. I really dislike the cold. I can handle 5 or 10…above zero. Anything below that is well…cold. And the snow that falls…frigid and stinging…not the soft, lovely flakes that occur when it’s a bit warmer.

So the day before this forecast…I headed out to enjoy the sunny 20 degree day. A calm before the storm day.

I knew where I wanted to go

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It’s not too far. Just far enough that it feels like another world.

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The road through Groton Forest is long and winding. There are no houses for miles…only trails, lakes, mountains, and State Parks.

I had a few hours. Time enough to sample a few of the incredible wonders of this forest.

The trails…

The mountains…

The forest…

Lake Groton State Park…

The snowstorm is over. The bitter cold ends tomorrow. But the weather people are predicting another storm. I have some time though.

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A calm before the storm…