Weather Forecasts

Last winter we barely saw the sun. Blue was more often our mood than the color of the sky. However, back to back snow storms blanketed our landscape in a liberal cover of white, blessing us with one of the best snow years in recent history.

Then, of course, that winter to remember had a hard time letting us go. Not until June did the sun finally win the battle and sunshine and blue skies returned to delight our days. Our world turned from brown and white to a virtual kaleidoscope of color almost overnight.

I am not big on weather forecasters. I continue to stand amazed that someone so seemingly inept at their job continues to get paid. Furthermore, people actually continue to believe what they say.

Me, I look out the window in the morning. That is my weather forecast. It is rarely wrong. Are there clouds? Probably at least partly cloudy today. Is the sky an unmarked blue? Probably sunny today. Is it mid-June with a growing cloud bank on the horizon? Better plan on a thunderstorm. Is the sky heavy and dark? Expect some weather today.

It is a simplistic system. It does not work well for predicting future weather patterns. Besides it does not give me a clue what is happening underneath other ‘patches of sky', but it is usually quite accurate for that particular day under my particular ‘patch of sky'.

So, I look to the sky and I see lots of blue, or maybe some light clouds, and I figure we are not getting any snow today. Quite frankly, I figure we had winter until almost summer, and we complained. I supposed winter's delay is just recompense for our lack of gratitude last spring.

One way or the other, winter is bound to come. How much snow we get, well, that is Someone else's hands. Regardless, God is in heaven. All is right with the world (even if it sometimes seems otherwise). And, I am thankful to remain the

Lady of the Lake


All Nature Sings. . .

This has been a special fall for me. While it is my fifth at Elk Lake, it is the first I have actually spent here. Family obligations and other demands have found us elsewhere. However, this year we have spent many enjoyable days watching the Centennial Valley change from late fall to early winter.

While things are still not very ‘white', the miracle around me has been amazing to observe. I have enjoyed the return of the elk (who wander farther up the mountain during the summer's heat), and I have enjoyed a few experiences I did not even know I was missing. Dozens of Trumpeter swans lining the ice along an open patch of water. Glimpses of rabbits in their winter white and tracks in abundance. The return of the moose. However, my most incredible fall experience is not in what I've seen, but in what I've heard.

"This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears,
all nature sings and round me rings, the music of the spheres."

Maltbie Babcock loved God's creation. How can I be so sure? While some would recognize creation's visual beauty, others its diversity, still others its vastness, Babcock begins his famous hymn speaking of creation's voice.

I can honestly say I relish my time up close and personal with God's creation. With repeated exposure I have learned to look deeper, to see some of the intricacies of this marvelous planet we call home for awhile. I've learned to see. Now, I'm learning to hear.

Other creature's voices. A lone coyote or a chorus in four-part harmony. The howling wolves letting us know they are near. Elk bugling their challenge across the canyon. A fox's eery bark. Eagles screaming upon the wind. Sandhills warbling encouragement to their companions. Trumpeter Swans sounding their horn to a listening world.

And the smaller sounds. A wren trilling her morning praise. The wind, whispering in near silence or roaring as a storm passes through. The croaking frogs. The chirping crickets. The tiny spring which giggles quietly as it slips down the hill.

All this and more I have learned to hear. And as I have listened, new sounds have been added to my repertoire. The latest and most amazing - the voice of lake ice.

In previous winters I have been blessed to hear the muted deep bass boom of ice, cracking under its mantel of snow. Recently I have heard the resounding deep bass boom of snow free ice echoing its voice from the nearby hills.

However, the last few days I enjoyed the most amazing sound of all. The warbling wave of the ice's soprano voice, elevated and diminished as it moved back and forth just under the surface. What an amazing sound! What an amazing Creator!

Lady of the Lake



I try to keep these blog postings up beat. I really do. However, there are times when the press is sooooo biased and, although I doubt anyone reads this blog who disagrees with me (at least in general), I can't help feeling like the issues need a little balance.

For every 12 articles supporting the green movement, there might be one (in the mainstream press) which gives the other side a voice. This week, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle finally gave West Yellowstone business owners a chance to share their side of the story. Sadly, I fear, as usual it is much too little and much too late!

To add insult to injury, online newspapers allow, even encourage reader feedback. While this is a good idea, in principle, the feedback often amounts to nothing more than a spitting match.

Take the response to this particular Chronicle article. It started out with two comments from folks who obviously understood the concerns expressed by West Yellowstone business owners. However, it degenerated rapidly when a reader accused Yellowstone snowmobile visitors as being 'Me' centered and lazy.

Add the addition of a little inappropriate language and the writer had the desired result. Other respondents lost their cool, and it degenerated from there. Why? The only purpose this served was to reinforce my belief this whole 'environmental' issue is not really about what is best but who has the most power.

Before I go any further, let me clarify something. I do NOT go looking for articles to increase my frustration. I would much prefer to stay at Elk Lake and let the rest of the world go to hell in a handbasket if they so desired. However, I know if everyone practiced this mentality, it would only serve to increase our traveling speed - so I believe, if nothing else, I have a moral responsibility to at least speak to the issues in a peaceable and (hopefully) reasonable manner.

On the other hand, I do go looking for articles to keep Elk Lake's friends and guests up to date on the happenings in our area. My sources are usually the Island Park News and The Magic of Yellowstone. Elizabeth, The Island Park News editor, does a good job of staying on top of local issues. I also feel she works hard to present a fair and balance (albeit not always politically correct) news presentation.

The Magic of Yellowstone is my other source of area news. Jim McDonald, while much greener than Elizabeth, keeps the interested world up to date about recent Yellowstone news articles related to the area.

So, on to another article. This article is, I believe, a good example of current 'reporting'. It comes from the Jackson Hole News and Guide. This particular article speaks to green group's fears of what may occur during the last days of the Bush administration, and how much, in their words, 'inordinate impact on public lands' those acts will have.

While the basic premise of the article may be correct, the current administration may be working to 'enact policy' changes as their time comes to a close, the author's bias is so clearly set in the article's opening paragraph, it makes one wonder why he bothered to call his piece 'reporting'.

In the opening paragraph, Mr. Hatch says, "After eight years of government that unabashedly placed development over conservation and recreation over environment. . ." I'm not sure where Mr. Hatch lives, but one thing which has NOT happened in the vast majority of Idaho and Montana in recent years is an emphasis on recreation over environment.

While the Bush administration may have been pro-development and pro-recreation, the environmental groups have quite successfully locked up most pro-recreation and pro-development moves in the tri-state area. Since Jackson is in the tri-state area, I am surprised Mr. Hatch did not bother to get any input from the other side.

I should not be. This 'my agenda' reporting seems to represent the new definition in news these days. Maybe that is why so many Americans are turning away from the mainstream media?

One way or the other, only one side (the green side) gets much press time these
days. While I do not disagree with the green agenda in all areas, there
needs to be some balanced presentation. Otherwise people like 'Mr. Me',
the reader who commented on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's article above,
will continue to feel that "he who shouts the loudest is right"

So the world continues. Who knows? Things may be worse before they get better. One way or the other, I will continue waking up in one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on God's green earth. And, for as long as I can, I hope to remain the

Lady of the Lake