I’ve been thinking about the human spirit lately, that delicate, resilient, ageless part of us that holds fast to our dreams, hopes, needs, and wants. And I’ve been wondering, can we keep the changing circumstances of our life, both good and bad, from changing that essential part of us?
“The light died in the low clouds. Falling snow drank in the dusk. Shrouded in silence, the branches wrapped me in their peace. When the boundaries were erased, once again the wonder: that *I* exist.”
We’re raking up leaves here in Michigan, cutting back the withered flowers in our gardens and planter boxes and thinking about Thanksgiving Day recipes and holiday shopping. I love both summer and autumn in my home state but I’m looking forward to winter this year. For me it will be a time of rest and renewal. I plan to hibernate like a bear beneath a blanket of silent white snow, I want to meditate in front of a warm fire, I want to sew puzzle pieces of fabric into colorful whimsical quilts, I want to read books that inspire me to dream with my eyes open, I want to play with my grandchildren and watch old movies and drink hot chocolate and gain twenty pounds and remember who I am.
Listen . . .
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
Went to an ice carving show in town recently with my husband to take a few pics and get out of the house. It was cold cold cold, but the bright sunshine and blue sky made up for the chilly air. Thankfully, they aren’t holding the competition this week, it was 53 and sunny yesterday! We Instagrammed a few iPhone photos from the ice show and I took my Canon along too, this was my favorite capture from the Mark II.
I couldn’t bring myself to post another snowy, barren winter scene… I am sooo over winter. My poor backyard is all brown mud and pools of gray snow, it’s covered with sticks and dried leaves and ringed by wilted and neglected clematis vines. I’m feeling a bit wilted and neglected myself after a long, cold winter (and a long, grief filled year) and I need a dose of color. So here’s my little park across the street before the snow and cold swept in this year. Happy SkyWatch Friday everyone!
So it’s been kind of a long road, but it was a good journey altogether. ~ Sidney Poitier
Last week a posted a photo from a past January trip to Cancun, this week a photo of why I wish I was in Cancun again right now. As lovely as winter can be here in Michigan, it was -9 when I got up today and when it’s that cold you just don’t want to leave the house. I did step out to take my SkyWatch photo though, now I think I’m going to go drink a pot of hot coffee and defrost my toes by the fire!
Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home. ~Edith Sitwell
It finally feels like the holidays are over today and a new year has begun. Over the past couple of weeks, as 2008 wound down, I started to feel that big bad cloud of sadness and regret gathering over my shoulders and at first I let it, I figured I deserved it, didn’t I? A little wallowing, a few what-ifs? I mean, this has been one helluva year of stress and loss and heartache around here. But after a few days of it (and a few sleepless nights too) I realized that I was going to have to make a conscious effort to choose between sorrow and happiness, between gloom and optimism. And I knew that there might even be days when I would have to fake it to make it, but that’s okay, I can do that. Because I’ll be damned if I’m going to feel sad and only remember the bad days every time I look at a photograph of my mom, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to believe anything other than the fact that come July 1st I will be holding a healthy little grandbaby up to my face and breathing in the sweetness of a new life, a new beginning.
The other day I was driving home from running errands and I saw that little patch of blue sky peeking through a blanket of lead colored clouds. During the winter, the landscape around here seems to lose its color. But I think maybe we sometimes simply lose the ability to see the muted colors of the season. That little bit of bright blue sky reminded me to look a little harder, to look past the naked brown branches of the trees and the withered flowers in my garden. I went across the street and photographed the fishing pond in the park again, frozen now, but rimmed with bronzed grasses and crowned with just enough blue sky to renew my fragile faith.
Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. ~MotherTeresa of Calcutta
“What do you want to do this weekend?”
“I want to sit here in the sun and read my book.”
“Yeah, it is isn’t it?”
Last week a friend asked me what I had been reading this winter. Maybe it’s age (or lack of sunlight) but I could only think of a couple of titles. So I went and took a peek at my booksheves to refresh my memory. My book club read The Known World (didn’t like it, too many characters and timeline flip-flops for my currently ADDish brain), Middlesex(a family epic deftly written and based here in the Detroit area), Eat, Pray, Love (a joy) and next up for us is The Pillars of the Earth. Hmm, I think those are all Oprah books, we don’t always read off her list but lately that seems to be the case. On my personal reading list was I Love You Beth Cooper (very funny writer, but the high school setting got old, or maybe I’m just old), Those Who Save Us (good mother/daughter relationship read), The Alchemist (a lovely little spiritual fable), The Painted Drum (if you appreciate lyrical writing like I do you’ll like this one). In the photo I’m reading The Camino (fascinating if you have an open mind), I enjoyed They Did It with Love (a lightweight murder mystery about a mystery book club) and the short stories in Alice Munro’s Runaway were wonderful. I read a couple from Jackie Mitchard recently, Cage of Stars(my fave of the two)and Still Summer(a high seas adventure that explores the nature of friendship). Jackie not only seamlessly weaves stories laced with heartbreaking characters and suspenseful plots, but she is an author who has always been generous and gracious to her fans. Click on her name and check out her fabulous website!
The holidays always slow down my page turning ways, plus I’m making an effort to finish my third book which means less time reading and more time writing. Those of you who voted for my #2 novel excerpt on Amazon, thank you, thank you, thank you! I didn’t make the final cut but it was encouraging to enter my first contest and garner a few of my own fans along the way:)