Some I’ve bought many are gifts from friends and family. Every one has meaning and function. Large thick mugs to hold in two hands savoring heat and flavor while looking out a window or better yet, sitting outside. A meditation in observation of all senses. The small mugs to use while focusing on something else, to refill often from a hot kettle. A more rapid infusion from both thought and tea. The favorite mug filled with a favorite blend to savor like a Sunday morning prayer.
Sunday, January 31, 2021. The last day of January. It’s 28 degrees outside, has just started snowing and is predicted to keep snowing until early Tuesday morning. Depending on where the heavy snow band sets up we can get anywhere from 8 to 14 inches. That’s a big storm for us! Whenever we get a snow storm like this it always makes me feel like a kid getting a snow day. I was going to wax poetic about it all and remembered that I have written about snow a few times in the past. This post was from two years ago and sums up how I’m feeling. Except for the first sentence, it all applies.
If you are getting this storm, stay safe. Do you have favorite snow memories?
If you are reading this in a warm and sunny place enjoy a little winter. And thanks for stopping by!
As I wait for the third snow storm in three days I was feeling a bit done with it all. For some reason I began to reminisce about how I felt about snow as a kid. I wrote down a bunch of memories and by the end of it I realized that snow really is amazing and how sad it is that as adults all we worry about is the shoveling, trying to drive and lost work time. It’s been a very gloomy, long winter around here and since I felt cheered up by the end of reliving my childhood memories of snow, I thought I would share some of them here and maybe you too can remember the magic of snow. (There’s no promise that I will enjoy shoveling later!)
In trying to remember my earliest memories of snow the first thing that comes to mind is looking out the window and seeing white snowflakes falling from the sky. How amazing is that? If you’ve never seen that before it is a beautiful sight. Or waking in the morning to a white and softened world? Did my parents know it was going to snow and didn’t tell me so it was a wonderful surprise? I am still surprised by how the world is transformed by snow.
As a kid the excitement burst throughout my whole body. Snow! Running to the kitchen and eating something quickly so I could start the long process of dressing for hours of playing in the snow.
Putting on the warmest pants or maybe two pairs. A turtleneck sweater and shirt over that. Two pairs of socks. Snow pants which made a loud swishing noise when you walked because they were so thick the legs rubbed against each other. A thick snow coat which made it hard to bend your arms. A hat and mittens that Mom had knitted. They were thick and warm and quickly got heavy and soggy wet, but she always had another dry pair waiting to switch out. Boots. They were rubber boots that had a flap you pulled over to the side with an elastic loop to put over the big button to hold them shut. They never kept the snow from getting inside and melting but they were the best we had. And when they leaked, we would put plastic bags over our socks to keep our feet dry longer. Dressed in all of that, we were ready to go outside.
The excitement of those first steps in the snow. How deep was it? Was it dry and light or heavy and wet? We liked the heavier kind as kids because you could make anything out of it. Snowmen, snowballs, snow forts and one year I made a whole snow village with a bunch of simple rectangular houses all around a half a foot high and probably a foot long. Small roads connected them all. Working on them for so long I remember being so cold that even my knees felt frozen from crawling on the ground.
I remember feeling like I could make anything out of snow. Being lost in the moment and not feeling the cold until eventually my body was screaming that I had to go in and get warm. Then suddenly feeling it and going inside for lunch which hopefully included hot chocolate. Toes numb and then tingly and then incredibly itchy as they thawed. After being inside long enough to feel toasty again, we would bundle up and do it all over again.
Another huge thrill was going sledding somewhere. The first sleds we had were the traditional Flexible Flyer. Metal runners with wooden slats to sit or lie on. A rope was tied to the cross-piece and you could steer it by pulling on one side or the other. Those sleds were fast in the right conditions and if you were really daring you would lie on your stomach, head first and feel like you were going a million miles an hour! They were very heavy to pull back up the hill. Later we had plastic sleds in a variety of configurations. The saucer which was wicked fast and no way to steer it. Then the thin sheet of plastic sleds which you pulled the front up by holding the handle giving it a toboggan shape. That was super fast too and you felt every bump, rock or stick as you slid over it. Eventually we had the molded plastic sleds which were a bit thicker and more comfortable to ride in with handles to hold onto. Steering involved leaning in the direction you wanted to go. It was never a guarantee. You always hoped you ended up where you wanted to.
We became experts of snow conditions and which sled worked best. Heavy, icy snow; the Flexible Flyer. Light dry snow of only an inch or two, the plastic sheet sled. A few inches of almost any kind of snow, the molded plastic sled. And the saucer was best for the soft powdery kind because you always had to bail out of it to prevent crashing into someone or something.
I remember going to a golf course where there were a lot of people sledding. The thrill of sitting at the top of a steep hill on that sled, being pushed really hard by my dad. It wasn’t just a push. It was the back and forward to build up power and excitement. The one, two, three! And I was heading downhill like a rocket!
We had to help shovel snow too which wasn’t as much fun but it was all part of a snow day. And again, if the conditions were right we would build snow forts from the snow piled next to the driveway. Digging holes and tunnels, stopping to eat the snow every now and then looking over our snow kingdom. After the forts were done, the snowball fights. I usually got laughing too hard to be very good at aiming.
And even as a kid, just sitting and listening to the blanket of silence that only comes from a good snow fall. If it was still snowing and nobody else was outside, feeling like the world was contained in that moment of crisp cold air and snowflakes melting on your face.
The world and nature were amazing.
I need to hold on to that feeling later today and tonight when I’m out shoveling. Maybe I can catch some of that magic again.
I’ve been trying to get outside every day and was just thinking how wonderful and calming it is to hear the cheerful birds and see the plants growing as usual. Some normalcy in this scary time.
Thanks to David Kanigan for posting this. Margaret Renkl perfectly expresses what I wanted to say but couldn’t find the words.
Read via Monday Morning Wake-Up Call
We went camping this past weekend for the last time this season. Many of the campgrounds around here close after October. So I had planned on posting about the cool fresh air, the smell of fallen leaves and campfire smoke, the changing leaves and savoring every minute of this last weekend. And we had all of that.
This weekend was also one of this campground’s Halloween weekends and luckily we saw on their website that there would be trick-or-treating. A couple of times in the past we have arrived only to find out once we were there and we had no candy to hand out. We would hide inside the camper feeling guilty. This year, we saw it ahead of time so we brought a couple of those big bags of mixed candy bars feeling happy that we could participate. We hate to let kids down.
Usually our weekend camping trips consist of quiet and relaxing. That was not to be this weekend. The entire campground was buzzing with energy and excitement. The kids were running around in their costumes most of the day Saturday. People were decorating their sites. Seriously decorating their sites for Halloween. Unloading boxes and boxes of decorations and spending hours making them look festive. We did a lot of walking around admiring their handiwork.
Saturday the trick-or-treating was to begin at 2:30 in the afternoon which is brilliant! It’s daylight and everyone can still enjoy their evening. As the time approached, and as the hay rides went by over and over again, we saw the final preparations around us. And then we became concerned. People were setting up mini candy shops! And most had non-candy treats as well. Our site neighbors went all out. They had those items as well as treats for the many dogs in the campground. (In case you didn’t know, many dog lovers go camping since most campgrounds are dog friendly).
We had our cute mini camp table with a Halloween themed table cloth on top which was full of wrinkles since who knew that last time we had used it. We had our one light-up jack-o-lantern, and two bags of candy and nothing to put the candy in because we forgot to bring a bowl. It was pretty funny.
We could have retreated. We could have given up. But no! We went with the flow and offered what we could. And it turned out fine.
We had a lot of fun watching all the kids and their wonderful costumes. We were incredibly impressed by how polite these kids were! Most of them only took one piece of candy. Almost all of them said thank you and so did their parents. There was so much excitement and laughter. And they just kept coming.
Backing up a bit, I have to say that we never lived in a neighborhood when our kids were little so we never got many people at our door. Now we live in a small neighborhood and have about a dozen kids show up. So getting to see so many trick-or-treaters was exciting for us.
This weekend we estimated that we had about a hundred kids! Wow! After one hour it was like a faucet was turned off and they were all gone.
Once again, we are so happy to be campers. If you ever want a taste of old-fashioned community you need to go to a nice family friendly campground.
Kids can ride their bikes or wander around without fear. And go trick-or-treating with or without their parents. Everyone watches out for everyone else. There are hay rides, ceramics, bingo and so many other activities for young and old. And everyone is welcome.
So despite this weekend not being the really quiet and relaxing one we usually have, this was a fun time. We’ve met some new and friendly people. And we still got to have our campfires and relax a bit too.
Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.
As you can tell I didn’t write any blog posts this summer. In fact I haven’t written an original post since March 3rd. Sometimes I go through dry spells with writing and I used to really worry about it. I don’t anymore. I always come back to the writing.
I was also delayed when my laptop decided to stop working. Something in the BIOS went crazy and luckily I only lost a couple of months worth of writing and photos. Most of the photos I’ve been able to piece together from my camera, phone and places like Facebook or family and friends.
Even luckier is that most of the writing was done in notebooks first. I have been doing a lot of writing by hand and now I’m very happy that I did. I’m also back to making regular back-ups.
The beginning of this summer was really stormy and we had some interesting storms and saw amazing clouds in the sky. Luckily we didn’t get anything too serious like a lot of other people.
This was a warm and humid summer but it seemed pretty normal. Whatever normal weather is anymore. Sometimes I think we forget that summer is supposed to be hot and humid.
Something I did this summer was to pull my sewing machine out of the closet. I haven’t sewn in years! I decided to make curtains for our new little mini camper. I found fun camping-themed material and proceeded to make new curtains for all the windows. I had forgotten how much I enjoy sewing. It felt so good to be working with material and my hands again.
Even though I haven’t posted here I have been writing. Lots of ideas, a few poems and journaling. I’m hoping some of it ends up here and may even be of interest to you.
This has been a summer of deep thinking. Hopefully some growth. Both good things.
Now at the end of summer, the sounds of the cicadas are loud, the crickets are soft and the katydids are somewhere in between. True sounds of late summer.
The gardens all look tired and some yellow leaves are appearing. The lawns are muted and burnt from the heat. The birds don’t sing as much but are just as busy looking for food.
And despite knowing that we will have some more hot days ahead, summer is ending.
For now I will enjoy the cooler weather and enjoy the many offerings of Autumn.
What Today’s Perfect Day Looks Like?
For me a perfect day is one that is completely of my making.
Full of promise and possibility.
I wake when I want to and sleep when I want to, never worrying about it being too early or too late.
Having some goals in mind but being loose about whether I do them or not.
A balance of getting the practical, responsible things done with the creative, fun or decadent.
Getting to the things I crave to do.
The wonderful feeling of never being rushed or pushed or pulled in any direction by myself or others.
The amazement of how good I feel and how much energy I have to accomplish so much
because I’m not fighting the tension and friction of obligations.
Of moving easily and effortlessly.
Of going with the flow.
Of checking in with myself and feeling what is right.
Time to myself.
To hear and feel clearly what I need to do.
What I want to do.
Of deep, contented sighs
Hummingbirds are living miracles and full of life and beauty. Please enjoy David Kanigan’s post and visit his blog. It’s full of beautiful posts.
Consider the hummingbird for a long moment. A hummingbird’s heart beats ten times a second. A hummingbird’s heart is the size of a pencil eraser. A hummingbird’s heart is a lot of the hummingbird. Joyas voladoras, flying jewels, the first white explorers in the Americas called them, and the white men had never seen such creatures, for hummingbirds came into the world only in the Americas, nowhere else in the universe, more than three hundred species of them whirring and zooming and nectaring in hummer time zones nine times removed from ours, their hearts hammering faster than we could clearly hear if we pressed our elephantine ears to their infinitesimal chests.
Each one visits a thousand flowers a day. They can dive at sixty miles an hour. They can fly backwards. They can fly more than five hundred miles without pausing to rest. But when they rest they come…
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A beautiful post from David Kanigan’s blog.
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon,” Henry James wrote late in his life, repeating the phrase with evident relish, as if to squeeze the full pleasure out of it, “to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” It’s easy to see his point, to follow him into the meadowland that those two words conjure effortlessly. Surely “summer afternoon” suggests a lovely aimlessness, with time as a friendly spirit guide, not a haunting, hectoring ghost. Lemonade, ice beading the glass, comes to mind, and a fat 19th-century novel that you’ll never actually finish but can drift into, and then let fall open on the grass, as you get lost (you’re in a hammock under a big shade tree) in a drift of clouds passing overhead, shaping and reshaping themselves. That’s “summer afternoon” for you. It gathers you up, paradoxically, when you give up hunting for it. Keep…
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What is a mud sale? I had never heard of a mud sale either until I moved to Lancaster County.
Mud sales are a way for communities to raise funds for local fire houses which are run by volunteers. Since the annual sales begin in early March and are held inside and outside, the ground is often muddy; mud sale.
You can buy almost anything during a mud sale. Furniture, new and used, quilts, crafts, farm equipment, plants and the list goes on and on.
So much excitement in the air. People greeting others they knew, the smell of delicious food cooking (and I mean delicious food!) and so much to look at!
There are great bargains to be had and knowing that anything you buy helps the community makes it even better. If you need help getting your purchases home, there are endless young men with their wagons to give you a hand.
My words can’t seem to do it justice so I’m thrilled to be able to share the amazing photography of Bob Devonshire. I’ve only shared a few of his photos here. Visit his sites linked below for more. He very nicely gave me permission to share with you. His photos capture the day beautifully.
Please visit his site here: Bob Devonshire
and his Facebook page here: Photo-5 Imagery
It was a long week so I looked back through some of my posts and this one still makes me smile. I can’t believe my kittens are almost three years old! They still show a lot of wisdom about life and are a joy to have. I hope you enjoy this too.
Just for fun, this is a small list of watching kittens exploring the new world they find themselves in. We can look at the world like it’s all new again when we watch the young do this. I hope you enjoy some of these things in your own life. What would you add to this list?
-Look at anything new that crosses your path with curiosity and wonder. Then play with it!
-Play a lot.
-Remember to notice even the simple things in life. Take nothing for granted.
-Enjoy the comforts life offers like a big warm pile of laundry.
-Sometimes you just have to run at full speed because you are so full of the energy of life! Plus its fun.
-Play until you can’t keep your eyes open for another second.
-Eliminate the negatives in your life by swiping at it, slapping it, shaking it until it can’t hurt you anymore.
-Get plenty of rest.
-Cuddle with a friend.
-Take care of the ones you love.