Showing posts with label nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nature. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Mom & Sister: Two 'Sisters on the Fly'

My little sister Karla
Morning Breakfast with my Mom
I'm not the only one in my family with a yen to travel. My mom and sister have become "Sisters on the Fly," members of America's largest outdoor women's group. 
All decked out for a weekend
of "Sisters on the Fly."
"Sisters on the Fly" offers empowerment and sisterhood through exceptional outdoor adventures. The Sisters like to say that "as a group of women, we challenge ourselves in all that we set our mind to. There is no age, color, religion or political group. All women who want to share in the adventures of "sisterhood" are welcome."
My Mom and sister's
"Rick Rack Shack"
 In a rick-rack
holiday mood!
 Camper transportation:
the prettiest little bicycle
 Holiday spirit!
 This is the first time
I've seen a pink chandelier
for an outdoor camper,
I'll admit
 These photos are from
 a recent holiday open house,
not an actual "Sisters on the Fly" event
Setting a beautiful table
for an outdoor adventure
is a tradition in our family.

My mom once came back
to her campsite in Aspen
and the neighboring campers
left her a note
to say how fascinated they were
to watch her set
a beautiful table
just for herself
on the picnic table.
 They loved her example.
Sisters meeting in 'Sisters on the Fly' get together, often via camper caravans, find a great outdoor spot to meet, and enjoy a weekend of laughter and good times. The campers that women have purchased to do this are often adorable vintage trailers that the ladies have customized and made uniquely their own.

Here are some of their adventures: fly-fishing camp, horseback riding, and sightseeing and exploring beautiful natural parks.  

 SOTF says, "We encourage you to join us on one of our adventures and let yourself be spoiled rotten, learn to fish, to be a real Western Cowgirl, run rivers, and enjoy pure highway traveling fun. The best part is meeting all those new sisters you didn't even know you had.
 just "Remember the rules:
No men, no pets, no kids 
...and be nice."
In 2015, Sisters on the Fly is going to caravan the entire Route 66! Won't that be a sight with all those vintage trailers rolling down America's vintage highway?

Men are banned from events, although my Mom says many women often have their husbands help them get their camper set up for the weekend and then bid hubby adieu.

All kinds of women participate from hard-charging career women to single moms just eeking by. It's a range of ladies who kick back to appreciate the great outdoors and enjoy fun fellowship.
"We were going to
change the world today
but then something sparkly
caught our eye."

Would you like to learn more about Sisters on the Fly?
Check out their website here.

You might enjoy
some other fun posts
from Colorado
in the American West:

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The book that made me crazy with homesickness for America

Aldo Leopold
I have a young teenage friend here in Istanbul who pines to be out in the Turkish countryside among apple orchards, tending herbs, growing living plants and enjoying nature. Instead, he's growing up in a city of 15 million! That has to make his summers out in the country just that much more special.

I tried to think of English-language books that I could share with him that spoke to this inner calling of nature. "Walden" of course, by Thoreau. "The other side of the mountain" by Jean Craighead George, one of my own childhood favorites. To this day I still remember how much I savored reading her young adult novel about trying to live off the land by oneself as a teenager in the woods. Instead, I gave him a book, even though I hadn't read it myself. I had, however, heard mentioned over and over again as one of the best in the American canon for nature writing: "Sand County Almanac" by Aldo Leopold.

"Sand County Almanac"
 has sold over 2,000,000 copies
"Sand County Almanac" proved too difficult for his intermediate English. So he gave it back to me.
Having always meant to read it because of its steady, growing reputation, I opened it up and began.

"Sand County Almanac" is divided into a year of observations about living on a Wisconsin farm and the natural life that goes on there through the seasons. Aldo Leopold, the Iowa-born author, was a professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Wisconsin when he wrote it. He would retire to his "tired-out" farmland and shack on the weekend with his wife and five kids. Before his professorship, he was very active in the United States Forest Service writing the first fish and game handbook ever and proposing the first National Wilderness Designation ever for Gila Wilderness Area.

Thank goodness, I was going home to America within the month! The beauty of the Wisconsin farm landscape came pouring of every page of this book. So did his pride and passion for observation of his piece of land, something every property owner has felt. Having last lived in central Wisconsin when I was in America, I could hardly bear reading it so evocative was it for all that was gorgeous about nature in the Midwest, and Wisconsin in particular.

Aldo Leopold is considered
the father of wildlife ecology

No wonder my young friend had such difficulty with the English. Aldo Leopold's language is so learned and his thinking so lofty, I began to regard what was in my hands as "divinely-inspired" like Mozart's works or Handel's "Messiah." Could a human being create such a work of such sacredness, joy, and wisdom without help from a higher power?

If I could have every American read one chapter, it would be "February." There is no action in this chapter other than Aldo sawing apart a tree for his wood-burning stove. Doesn't exactly sound like a must-read, does it? And yet, each sentence is utterly compelling.

Aldo describes not knowing where our heat comes from as a "spiritual danger." A spiritual danger! Is that not what we experience when we consume our petrol mindlessly as we do without acknowledgement of the depletion of nature and cost to human life?

He says "if one has cut, split, hauled, and piled his own good oak, and let his mind work the while, he will remember much about where the heat comes from, and with a wealth of detail denied to those who spend a week in town astride a radiator."

I am not going to split my own oak for heat anytime soon, but let you and I just ask ourselves if we know the details of where our heat comes with the same deep consciousness and thought for its replacement as Aldo did. While sawing, he recalled exactly where the tree originated from, what it measured in length and width, what was going on in history at the time of its birth, and what the oak had to survive to get to this age. When another oak was felled by lightening on his property, he allowed it to properly age in the sunshine it could no longer use, and then split it one fine winter day secure in the knowledge that there was a renewable source of new wood growing on his farm. Do we consume our heat with that level of awareness and consciousness about where it's coming from, how it shall be renewed, and at what cost?

The forward alone is full of such copious amounts of wisdom it was, again, awe-inspiring to read. May I absorb his wisdom to my bones.

From the forward:

"But wherever the truth may lie, this much is crystal-clear: our bigger and better society is now like a hypochondriac, so obsessed with its own economic health as to have lost the capacity to remain healthy. The whole world is so greedy for more bathtubs that it has lost the stability necessary to build them, or even to turn off the tap. Nothing could be more salutary at this stage than a little healthy contempt for a plethora of material blessings."                                          
                                                                                    ~Aldo Leopold, 1949

You might also enjoy these Wisconsin or nature-related posts:

The Marvelousness of Madison

A Spectacular Hike to Gem Lake

Elk Bugling Season

Couchsurfing Hike to Český ráj

Hiking the Sázava River in Central Bohemia

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