Love in a Cold Climate

New snow on top of old snow hides treacherous ice. Will winter never end? Is it colder this year or am I older this year? Heaven forbid my cold bones are age-related!

Footloose friends who are “On the Road Again,”  just posted a blog at: They were visiting the Sandhill cranes in Mississippi. Which gave me pause: If they can haul an Airstream from Hartford Connecticut to Mississippi, why can’t I find the time to drive to Alamosa, Colorado a mere two and a half hour west? (See me shaking my head in disbelief.)

Spurred on by my very own question, I looked up Monte Vista’s annual crane festival. So close… at the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, but apparently, so far. The three-day festival is this coming weekend, Friday through Sunday, March 8-10. The weekend is jam-packed with music, craft shows, historical displays and (for all the craft beer lovers) an opportunity to visit the Colorado Farm Brewery where the growing, brewing, malting and tasting are all on-site.

The featured attraction is the cranes who will take a rest stop as they pause close to the road where swaths of mown barley invite the birds to linger for those with cameras.  The 14,800-acre wetland acres draw up to 25,000 cranes. If you can’t make this weekend (or you want to avoid all the hub-bub) cranes will be stopping by throughout March. You can learn more at

2019 03 dance cranesI’ve seen Frigate birds the Red-footed Boobies dance in the Galapagos, (see Timeout, May 17 2013) but closer to home I want to see the cranes dance. I’m thinking that watching them will, as the poster promises, “reduce tension.”

Recently I wrote a poem in which I referenced the owls that perch in our trees during milder weather. The fourth stanza reads:

Hear the owls metronoming through the night. / ‘Who… whooo.’ He wants her. She is shy. / Come morning, he will win her over. / She will smile. He was the one she wanted. / Tell me, “That’s not poetry.”

Apparently, the female birds make two calls for every call the male makes. Yes, that has been my experience. The female takes the lead when it comes to getting on the dancefloor.


Scale-wise, this photo doesn’t do justice to the bird’s six or seven-foot wingspan.

All this talk of migrating birds reminds me that I should re-read William Fiennes‘ book THE SNOW GEESE (not to be confused with THE SNOW GOOSE by Paul Gallico.) At 25 years of age, Fiennes is brought low by a series of hospitalizations and a lengthy recovery. Reading Gallico’s book, Fiennes is inspired to leave his home in England and follow the migrating geese.

Starting in Eagle Lake, Texas, Fiennes follows the geese north through Oklahoma, Winnipeg, Hudson Bay, to Baffin Island. THE SNOW GEESE is a memoir of a pilgrimage – an interior journey as well as a travelogue through the American landscape and the people he meets along the way. Is it a good book? Most certainly yes. As I riffle through the pages my old copy, there’s hardly a page that I haven’t underlined.

Gotta go. A cuppa tea and THE SNOW GEESE await.


About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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10 Responses to Love in a Cold Climate

  1. elf says:

    I’d love to read the rest of the owl poem! Will you be joining the flock (avian and human) this weekend?

    • timeout2 says:

      Dear Elizabeth, I’ll send the poem by email. A poem about poetry – the owls were just one slice of the poetic pie. I haven’t been home all that often the past few months – working on Laura’s house in Denver and on the family home in Penrose – hoping to sell Penrose this spring. Looking forward to having only one house. Looking forward to being at-home. xo

  2. Wonderful! And The Snow Goose ( singular) is one of my favorites. Stay warm, Doris!

    • timeout2 says:

      How nice to hear from you, Renee! Check out THE SNOW GEESE – if you don’t like it better than

      • timeout2 says:

        It is still me, Renee. To continue, If you don’t like THE SNOW GEESE better than THE SNOW GOOSE, I’ll refund your money. (And she asks, “What money?” Are you still writing? How’s it going? Send me something you have written. Doris

  3. It’s great to read another post on Timeout2. We are in Southwest Texas searching for some warm, sunny weather. Although cold here it’s not like Westcliffe. The cranes that come to Alamosa in early March must be brave with warm feathers. Our trailer is not as well insulated. Otherwise we would love to be there.

    Note correction to our blog address, is correct. Hi to Mark—be patient, biking season will soon be here. Our best to you both..

    • timeout2 says:

      Sorry, Jon and Sharon, about the mistaken blog address. I have corrected the error in the text. As for seeking warmth in Texas, my sister lives in Rockport west of Corpus on the coast. She says that all the snowbirds are thoroughly disgusted with the cold weather – cocktail hour around the pool has been out of the question.

      It has been too cold and icy for Mark to cycle. The Westcliffe team is not doing Ride the Rockies this year. He is disappointed, but there are other riders – especially The Courage Classic for Children’s Hospital Denver. Mark’s 30th consecutive year!!! A very big deal. If I weren’t such a wimp, I’d train a bit and ride a few miles with him. Bad wife!

  4. marilynjh says:

    I’d love to do a day trip to Monte Vista to see the cranes! Last year I overnighted with Alamosa friends to experience the feathered flock – the next morning at 5am Jim loaded me into his F150 so he could photograph the birds at dawn – need two hands to hold his monster camera lens. Frickin freezing!! But so worth it. By 8:30am we had a steaming hot cuppa coffee and a big plate of vittles.

    I forwarded your blog to my long-time WY friend who also blogs about her owls, guinea jeans, Chinese geese, cats, dogs, long-horn steer Leatloaf and her paint horse. You are twin sisters of different parents. Love when I see your blog waiting in my inbox!

    • timeout2 says:

      Love knowing that you (Custer County’s most prolific and accomplished photographer) have taken the time to read my blog. Yes, I’ve been told that I need to be out and about with my camera before dawn. But it’s not going to happen: I need at least two cups of coffee before I get out of bed and that seldom happens before sunrise. Sunset is more my speed.

  5. Bar Scott says:

    Lovely. Thank you. Reminds me of Peter and all the birding treks he took. I wonder if he ever came to Colorado?

    The tulips are perfect. Thank you.

    Our first rain this morning. Loved hearing your voice yesterday. Bar


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