Abi Roy (@abihroy) — 'Be on your guard; stand firm in...faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.'
Expat, Michigan-->China. Decent pics, better captions.
Expat, Michigan-->China. Decent pics, better captions.
Lakes in the desert. . Water makes all the difference. Rain seems such a little thing, when you see it often enough, but when it comes rarely...rain brings miracles. . Flowers bloom in once-desolate places. Brown-grey trees exude green to their leaves like children with Easter candy exude unbounded joy. Dust-caked wadis fill with impossibly blue water and turn the dry, crackling roadside dust into sticky, mucky, sucking mud that smears like clay and collects on your shoes in inches-thick clumps. Life returns to the desert. *Visibly* returns. And it's a beautiful thing. . May precious-rare waters rain into your world today and bring a taste of *life.*
Brightly burning. . When you're nearly bright enough to outshine the mountains? You *shine,* child. Shine, and let no one dim your light, because out-fabulous-ing those rocks they call a "range" is only the beginning—there's more in you than you realize. . Shine on, luv.
Bubble art. . Because every coffee is beautiful, even if you have to look closely to see it. . Also: I may need coffee on a fundamental level, as my mitochondria—powerhouses of the cells—are running out of energy to powerhouse *my* cells. I think. Probably. I've heard it both ways. . Excuse me while I find caffeine to ingest, absorb, or mainline. [Exits powerhouse, stage right]
City sunset. . "The vast and solemn company of clouds Around the Sun's death, lit, incarnadined, Cool into ashy wan; as Night enshrouds... Now every sound at length is hush'd away. These few are sacred moments. One more Day Drops in the shadowy gulf of bygone things." -William Allingham . Goodnight, dear hearts, and sweetest dreams.
Shade and sunshine. . More rain today, and driving through the flood-ish fallout from yesterday's weather. (Unsurprisingly, desert cities do not have awesome drainage...because *who plans for this much rain?!? In the desert!?!* I'd've brought wellies, had I known.) . In other news: The flowers are pretty, the clouds and horizon are positively fantastic, and the food—oh, my rapturous taste buds, the *food*—is exquisite.
Rain on the mountains. . Which, to be honest, was not at all what I expected on my first day in the United Arab Emirates. The desert, however, looks a lovely, deep reddish when damp, particularly with camels pacing across it. (No photos of that, sadly, cos I may or may not have been trying to be not-carsick on the ride, due to too much travel food in the last few days, not enough sleep this week [but particularly not last night], and sitting in a back seat.) . Yes, we've landed safely on April's second long trip, although not without adventures that I shall have to share at a later time. (Some days need a bit of distance before you can recount them with humor instead of crankiness. The humor-ful versions are always better. Nothing ruins a good story like cranky over-staying its welcome.) And it's raining! And *cool,* because of the rain. Hooray for small blessings.🌧️🐪🐪🐪🌧️
Cauldrons and kettles. . New 24-hour challenge: Unpacking, laundry, hacking through emails, printing off whatsits, *five* separate meetings, packing for the next trip, consuming food at some point, cleaning the apartment, and being asleep for as many seconds as it is physically possible to be in the space of time between now and when my alarm is set for tomorrow morning...just in time for one more meeting and then a dash to the airport. #challengeaccepted . Now, please excuse me while I make non-caffeinated tea to gear up for the final push this evening.
This trip back is... ...14 hours on airplanes ...15 hours waiting in airports ...1.5 hours in taxis at either end ...approximately 47 years spent standing in queues . But sometimes, between all of the waiting and standing and staring off at the dim airplane signs when everyone else is asleep (except for the person who does not know how the brightness control on their screen/device works or that they should defo be using it), there are moments of beauty, of color, of a fun guy painting the time every moment of the day. . Still not home yet; will be in another...5 hours or so. Hallelujah. . May your day be restful amid the "on the go" of it all.
"I'm not going anywhere I love you more and more each day To love is not to leave So hear me when I say: . I may not be wise And I won't save the day But look in my eyes And know I'll always stay I won't run away I won't run away" -Ben Platt . Goodbye and best wishes, Scotland. You've been brilliant; we'll be back. #someday
Majesty. . Sometimes, even getting lost and soaked and half-frozen and accidentally climbing part of a wrong mountain can lead you to places that make you just...stop, just stand in awe and remember to breathe, because you can't quite believe that you're actually there and present and looking at things like...well, this.
Lake District. . Fun fact: Most of the "lakes" in the Lake District are called by just one name (Buttermere), or "___water" (Derwentwater), and only one is actually called "Loch ____", and so technically...there's only a single lake in the entirety of England's Lake District. 😁 . This place is *glorious*, but differently so than Scotland. It's...tamer, somehow. Gentler. Softer at the edges, and more colorful. (Except in the high passes, where it's equally wild and mildly terrifying.) . We spent the day driving about the area, stopping for places like this, slowing to sigh over adorable towns/villages/hamlets, and choosing to go up some of the truly spectacular high passes (with narrow, dodgy roads...which we didn't realize until there was No Going Back). Chased sheep around walking paths, cheered on the insane bikers huffing and puffing up the stee-e-e-eep mountain passes, picked out 87 manor houses and multiple town homes we wouldn't mind living in, and laughed hysterically to cope with the wild bends rollercoaster-ing us through the mountains. At some point, even the GPS was like "there are no roads; I do not know where you are or what road you're on now (because it doesn't exist), and I've no signal to figure anything out, but I'm *telling* you that your current location is 'the middle of no-where.'" And still the day ends with key lime pie and coffee 'round the kitchen table. . May your adventures lead you home today.
🎶 "The wee birdies sing and the wildflowers spring, And in sunshine the waters are sleeping. But the broken heart it kens nae second spring again, Though the waeful may cease frae their grieving. . O ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road, And I'll be in Scotland a'fore ye, But me and my true love will never meet again, On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond." 🎵 . Scottish folk song, "Vocal Melodies of Scotland" (1841) . Today was restful. I walked about the Trossachs area, ate sticky toffee pudding, and watched the sunset over Loch Lomond. Cherry on top had to be getting jumped on and slobbered on by a couple o' wolfish sort of dogs also on the beach with their photographer owner. The dogs were very sweet and lo-o-o-oved scratches and attention. (I don't especially want to *own* an animal, but interacting with them is often a highlight of my day—there's just so much restfulness and *joy* in them...joy especially in the canines.) . May your rest today come in the form of what brings you joy.
Today's adventure: The Lost Valley, Glencoe. . 15min: Light rain showers; haven't seen any landmarks from my printed directions; pull directions out & realize they worded things poorly—I should've gone the opposite direction . 20min: See other hikers headed up a liklier-looking trail; follow them; find a footbridge that matches the photo on the printed directions; proceed with more confidence . 30min: Stone slabs as rough steps up the mountain forever; not fun, but okay, that must be the price of getting to this place . 1hr: Trail becomes more than a little treacherous; doubt creeps in, despite presence of other hikers; I check the directions again, *&* the map this time, & realize I've climbed half a stupid mountain & it's *still* the wrong direction . 1.5 hr: Back at the bottom of the hill below the car park (*sigh*) . 1.75 hr: Find the correct, identical footbridge, with all the right landmarks beyond . 2hr: More stone slabs upwards; rain falls now in torrents & the wind picks up; gloves & pants are soaked; rain jacket is slowly giving up; the waterfalls are spectacular . 2.5 hr: Rain turns to heavy sleet; everywhere is muddy or slippery; some stones on the river crossing were almost underwater; I'm pausing more frequently (my legs are tired of "up"); some nice hikers returning from the valley pause to check on me; "I'm fine, thanks" . 2hr, 50m: Sleet becomes hard pellets of snow; the wind is strictly incredible; pausing to rest has taken a toll—I'm not quite warm enough any longer & can feel my soaked gloves turning to ice . 3hr: The Lost Valley opens before me; no one else is anywhere; it's breathtaking & magical & worth every step & I...cannot stay to explore—I'm too wet & cold to safely stay long, if I climb down the valley I'll have to climb back up (my legs say "no!"), & I was already going to be an hour late to meet my ride . 3hr, 10m: I reluctantly turn around, heading back down into the gorge between mountains . 4hr: Knock on the car window & ask my lovely ride to pop the trunk, cos every article of clothing I'm wearing is dripping icy water (yuk) . 4hr, 7m: Sitting on a heated car seat, drinking coffee, both revved & exhausted; what an adventure!!
Today's adventure: Weather! (an approximate timeline...[yah, that's me far right]) . 7:45 - sunrise was glorious and clear over the mountains; all around are blue skies, sunshine, and white puffy clouds; cold but not freezing; we are out early to beat the tourists (the other, not-us, annoying tourists, I mean 😉) . 7:50 - grey clouds and what looks like mist start to creep over the far mountains . 7:58 - clouds and mist descend further, cutting off the view of nearby mountains; the mist seeps over the Old Man of Storr, making him more distant and cutting off the view of the mountain rising behind him . 8:06.00 - "Is that a snowflake?" "What? No...surely not." "No, really...look!" . 8:06.30 - snow begins to fall in earnest, a lovely, if unexpected flurry; darkness covers us and the southwest sky; to the northeast, blue skies and sunshine still glow . 8:12 - snow falls more thickly, fat flakes turning into a whiteout that obscures even nearby rocks; the bkue skies and sunshine are out there, but we can no longer see them . 8:17 - the wind picks up, nearly blowing us sideways, driving the snow into our faces; we pause to take a moment with our backs to the wind; our backs are soon covered in snow . 8:21 - the snow thins, still driving, but in smaller, harder, pellets; we agree that the sky is now just being *mean*; the icy gale cuts through any unsealed seams in our layers with a deft and cruel accuracy . 8:28 - the snow drops off gradually over the next ten minutes, petering out to a "foof" of flakes every moment or two; the mountain now looks as though it's been dusted in powdered sugar, when it had previously been a lovely spring green . 8:44 - sunshine breaks over the mountain; the sky returns to clear and blue with puffy, white clouds decorating the horizon; except for the "powdered sugar," one might never know snow had fallen at all (the hikers we passed on our way down certainly had no idea...) . 10:03 - we return to the heated seats of our rental car with much rejoicing . (pc photo 1: @kandercamera )