Winter Tempest Trilogy

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Morning sounds nonexistent

The world neatly colored in colorlessness

Banks of white hip deep

We dig out meters and walkways

Icicles hang from the eaves

Thick spears dangerously hovering overhead

Doormats saturated

Skin cracked

Dull

Dry

Nearly swollen in its thirst

Work slowed

Can we get out today?

Our feet live in slippers or boots

Our hands in gloves or mitts

Our hair suffers from hat head

while the men grow their faces to insulate

them from the cold

Fleece is our fashion

The season seems endless

Not fleeting nor fleeing anytime soon

 

(They say it’s the third storm is as many weeks though it feels like more. First the storm, then the days of cleaning up. One runs into the other making the season a long and slow moving freight train.)

The Road to Completion

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The moon was lightly veiled in a frosty mist, hanging low in the western sky. I turn right on the road that serves as a low ridge for a sunrise view. The day was just barely breathing, trying to add its muted glow to this dead zero day. I am encased in Gortex, winter proofed and multilayered. Surprisingly mobile and agile despite being sealed and wrapped from head to toe. It takes mere minutes for my eyelashes and bangs to create miniscule icicles, the results of my warm breath meeting the crackling cold air. I’m reminded that my nostrils have hair, as they,too, stiffen in the chill.

Getting out the door for a walk or run in this long winter requires a different kind of dedication. Smart preparation the night before, added time in the morning to layer up and a sheer determination to just do it. Forget physical ability. If your head’s not in it, go back to bed!

I would like to think that my obsession with fresh air and morning movement helps me be less fearful, allows me to grow an extra skin layer of grit and toughness, maybe even a kind of boldness, a clarity for the day ahead.

I am immersing myself in this season mostly because I know it really is my last in this climate. I’d still be out there anyway but I feel more purposeful now. Time is roaring past me; the days seem to spin into one another. They fold and unfold in ways that put me in the dual role of observer of and participant in each moment.

Would I have this same outlook if I were not departing? I cannot answer that question fully. Would you dear readers feel the same?

Maybe we all need to be right in the midst of the microseconds of our life. Maybe we need to embrace the Grace, the Holiness and the Wholeness, the Light and the Dark, the Here and the Now.

 

There is no path to happiness, happiness is the path

~ Buddha

 

Writing Up a Storm!

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(part of my backyard-a blanket of deep white)

The blizzard has passed although the day is far from ordinary. School cancellations forced me to stay home. Others are digging out, taking another day to reorder their life. We feel lucky not to have lost power even if we got 2 feet or so of snow. It is under 20 degrees and all I can think about is those others in the very eastern part of the state and the islands who are off the grid and cold. We live just far enough from the coast where it could have gone either way.

I’ve got a roast in the oven and potatoes ready to be cooked for my famous mashers. It feels like a Sunday. We went out today, heading to the gym for exercise and the local organic grocery store for dinner ingredients. Laundry is getting done and we are in denial about the workday for tomorrow even as I prepared the smoothies for the next couple of days.

Winter storms shift the beat of daily life. Some panic- rushing to the stores for an overwhelming amount of food, as if Armageddon is approaching. Such a weird response in my mind. We don’t live miles or hours away from the nearest anything. I often wonder how much of the supplies end up in the trash after all is said and done.

So we chill in the chill. We had a great meal together last night-created by what we had in stock. So yummy! And my youngest and two friends took a 2 hour hike into the woods late yesterday afternoon. Refreshed and rejuvenated and ready, they experienced a rare excursion into the quiet. Late last night, the neighbors took their sleds to the street, whipping down the hill in the middle of the road. The travel ban had its benefits!

 

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(another part of the back with the footprints that lead to the woods)

I’ll be up before dawn tomorrow. Hopefully catch a run before the rush. Thanks to all of you for sharing in the tidbits of these last 48 hours. And remember to capture ALL the moments everyday if you can!

Blizzard Bound

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Funny thing about snow bound days. They go by quickly. I always  plan on “catching up”  but somehow all I’ve managed thus far is a bit of dusting, cleaning the tub and putting my laundry away! Oh, and yoga too…

I was awakened early early this morning by the snow plows on the street and my own plow guy. My driveway is very long and sloped in places- it would take hours and hours to shovel just once. In fact, shoveling has been only attempted twice in the twenty-six years that I’ve lived here. Once, in late1992 when I was vastly pregnant with my youngest and the beast of a snow blower (bigger than I could handle) was broken, leaving my then husband to take on the task alone. He spent the next month accompanied by crippling back pain, relief only found by visits to the chiropractor. Five years later, he was nowhere to be found (off on an adventure).  With the boys too young to help and me overwhelmed, I called the teenage boys next door to clear us out. So,when my ex left nearly 8 years ago, a friend suggested I get someone to plow me out. (The snow blower was older than me and once again quite dead.) The service is a life saver and worth the money. I’m lucky that it is not expensive as my guy has known my situation.

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We still need to shovel though. There are places the plow can’t get around. For some, it would be the equivalent to clearing their own driveway. I try not get negative about the task, especially those times in the recent past when I’ve been by myself (boys away at school). I am still  young enough and in good shape. Plus I love being outside!  And the boys-both grown-know what to do. In years past, we made them get out there and take care of those areas that needed to be cleared. They naturally gravitate to the work-such a good thing for me and for them.

Round one is now done. We are expecting more snow until at least 1 am tomorrow. Wilson, my youngest son’s best friend, had fun clearing out his spot. He got word that #2 son was able to use his long arms as a human wiper (my boy is HUGE!) so he figured his whole body was the equivalent! My oldest caught the photos with my phone. (The first 2 through a window screen.)

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The boys are upstairs bonding over a Top Gear  special.  I am writing and pondering a hot shower and perhaps a bit of work on the scrapbook project that I want to complete before I get married and move.  I remember this is my last winter here and take it all in.

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I count my blessings even as these hours zoom by and the weather forces us to stay put. We have heat, food and each other.

 

Storm Warning

Credit: imgkid.com

The last flight out left at 7:30 pm.  The driving ban takes effect at midnight, leaving only essential personnel permission to use the roads. It’s quiet now; the forecasted wind gusts yet to arrive. The news reported that we have contractors in from as far as Tennessee to help fix the power lines that are bound to come down from the heavy wet snow on the southeast coast or the gusty winds from the Atlantic and Alberta.  Not everyone is home yet. I’ll be happy when we are all under one roof, readying ourselves to ride out the blizzard. The youngest brought home a generator, given to him from his boss in case the power goes out here.

This morning’s run in 11 degree darkness is but a distant memory. The cold was biting and inviting as I knew the roads would be impossible to endure for at least a day. I thought I might see the sunrise, but alas the steel sky won out once again!

I knew a storm was coming; I could smell it. Not the buttery scent of rain yet to arrive but the pings of  a sharp crunch or something like a dull brightness. I could feel it too. The dry air was on the verge of giving in for a change; it’s been a ‘mild’ winter here. Cold, cold but no white blanket gracing the backyard. Just the land of nosebleeds, scratchy throats and thirst. Some days are so parched that it’s like living in an Artic desert.

But not tonight. Picture perfect precipitation. I hope I sleep without the worry of that dead silence, the one where you don’t hear the humming of the refrigerator or tinging of the radiator.

Sleep tight wherever you are!

A Writer’s Hibernation

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The sun just rose for the day. So much of winter here is void of color and light. It is easy to simply hunker down after a day’s work. Make dinner, slip into jammies, grab a book ( I am reading a ton these days!).  Or head to the gym for strength training. Or hit my mat for a few minutes of yoga.  Or watch the first two seasons of “Nashville” with my oldest ( a Christmas present). He loves to share favorite shows with me; it’s one of the ways we bond.  As usual, I continue to run most mornings despite the sub-zero temperatures and black ice. My only chance of quiet and fresh air happens just before daylight on weekdays.

But what about the writing? I cannot claim to have writer’s block. Certainly I have ideas running through my mind. And this blog is part of my DNA.  Maybe my words are dormant. Fattened up for the cold season. Resting and growing.  Conserving creative energy.

I also know that this is my last full winter season here.  I am preparing to leave in early summer. As a result, I am grabbing onto and gravitating towards moments with those closest to me. We need to be in this time together. And I have to say I am enjoying it all even if some days are filled with the drudgery of work and keeping the household running together! I hope my kids are learning the value of sharing even the most ordinary moments of their day with their housemates.

Well, the sun is done for the day. Replaced by the usual gray. It was pretty while it lasted. Think I’ll head out for a run …

Days Like This

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The house is quiet. The kind of hush that comes from the end of the holiday season and the bitter cold of winter’s kiss. The tree came down today and along with it all the decorations which filled this small space called home. I am at once sad and relieved. My last Christmas under one roof with my sons. No matter that a new life, a new start awaits us all-change is difficult. I don’t need to say good-bye to the warm memories of all the shared holidays; they are in our hearts and minds forever. Even though my boys are in the twenties (oldest turned 24 yesterday!), the little child in them still exists during this time of year. This despite their responsibilities as young adults at work in the wide and wacky world!

Last night as we sipped champagne, my youngest son’s best friend remarked as to how rich we are. We are indeed awash in abundance.  This wealth does not come from living an overly large home that is pristine in its vapid sterility. At best it is cozy with photos of family gracing shelves and tables. Moments of warmth and love captured and held still in time. Places experienced. The refrigerator door is covered and cluttered with quotes of the famous and not so famous ( that would be us!) and more photos-especially of the boys through the years. Our bedrooms reflect who we are and serve as a haven after long days when the outside world causes chaos.

Our wealth comes from a multitude of sources. We’ve grown into our present life through the fits and starts.  The rocky adolescence made worse by their father’s shenanigans and ultimate abandonment was tempered by the saving graces of therapy, our awesome faith community and the determination to always make joy and positive memories amidst the pain.  We mined loving nuggets of gold from these times.  We grew a new and better life.

So here I sit on this chilly January night, holding fast to all that is good. Preparing once again for a new phase. Glad to keep one another close as we walk the path together for a short while longer until the road diverges.

 

 

A Moment of Serenity

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Sitting here in an early June quiet. The days have finally grown into a full warmth. This late spring surge of sun has distracted me from my writing. We cut grass, plant flowers that will last well into early fall, lay down mulch. Fret over carpenter bees boring holes in the upper eaves at the back of the house (I need a 25 foot ladder to reach them). Douse the paper wasp nest with chemicals before it outgrows the strength of  our spray can.  Stain the long neglected front porch a luscious mahogany red while noticing that we need new risers. The rails need a fresh coat of white. The north side of the house looks tired. Long winters and years of just plain wear are evident at this direction of the house’s compass.  I try not to worry about the expense of repairs and send out intentions of abundance to the universe.

A year from now, this house will be my sons’ domain. Rented with others in order to afford payments. We are shifting gears. Learning to be present in a major life transition. Sharing in the pulls and tugs of the here and now as we move into the there and then. Keeping our eyes wide open while we let go of the old life little by little. We are all making our way into an independent dynamic. There is much to do before my wings take flight.  I send out more intentions-ones where I hope to avoid the vortex of panic and anxiety. A friend says “Don’t be afraid to pray for big things.”  So I do.

For now, I am staying in this moment. Sitting up in bed, nearly ready for sleep. The house is empty except for me. The crickets are back and the night breeze is full. Cool and cleansing, sort of a northern climate mini spa in my mind.  I look forward to refreshing dreams and a new morning sun.

 “Listen to yourself. And in that quietude you will hear the voice of God”

– Maya Angelou

 

Why I Run

Credit: davegetzschman.photoshelter.com

I run for no specific reason

I run because I like to feel the morning air on my face

The dark nip of winter

The welcoming breeze of spring

The heat of summer

and the tri-colored relief of  autumn

I run to  feel the aches

as I first shuffle my feet

and the sweet release as I enter my stride

 I run to see the changes in my world reveal themselves bit by bit

I run to listen to the day’s first stirrings

and the night’s final slumber

to hear the coyotes’ howls

the red tail’s hunt

the snort of  deer

and the yip of the fox 

I run to peek at Venus, my morning star in the east

I run to watch the moon’s final rise at the first mile

and the sun’s first with one to go

I run to breathe, to think (or not)

I run because I want to feel alive

and take in my daily dose of peace