Tag Archives: nature

Winter Rest?

I look out my bedroom window and see a row of newly-planted blackberries. The wooden posts are easily three times the height of the twigs that promise fruit in the spring. They’re surrounded by browned-up leaves and it’s hard to imagine the spring of 2014 on November 11, 2013.

A few days ago, one of my tenth-graders asked me, “Do you like your job?”, and I was caught off guard because a student has never asked me that before.

“Yes, I do,” I said, and it was true. I left out the part about “You guys drive me crazy!” and “There’s so much stuff behind the scenes – so much planning – you people have no idea!”, because really, I do love my job. She looked at me, her head cocked in cheeky questioning, because I don’t think she believes it possible to like school. Who knows? I might get her to change her mind come spring.

I’ve counted down the days to Christmas and it scares me how quickly it will come and go and I’ll be unceremoniously shoved into 2014.

The musical will go up in mid-December. I’ll be consumed with writing my unit for grad school, writing a research paper, directing Aladdin, Jr. with patience and creativity (yes, yes? right? patience?), and then *blink!* Christmas, and unless I get my act together, my family will suffer from lack of planning and “I love you, but I’m sorry! Shopping is hard for me! Sorry!”

(Maybe I write these posts as a warning? “Heads-up, guys, my gifts might be less-than-awesome”? Or perhaps as a way to force myself to plan enough time to get just. the. right. gift. Either way, I hope it works.)

The girls have slowed down as the days are shortening – we only get about eleven eggs a day, which is barely enough to fill our orders. I coax them with sweet singing, but alas, they are stubborn old birds. The light in the henhouse extends the day, but there’s something about the cold they just don’t like.

This is what is running through my mind as I look at the bare twigs out my window. Not much is expected of them right now: just lie there, dormant. Come April, though, little leaves will unfurl and a winter’s worth of rest will fill my belly with sweetness.

I may not have a whole winter, but I do have today.

Good Things #19

This fall has been a particularly beautiful one.

Morning commute. This is not something I generally consider a Good Thing, but yesterday morning was the most beautiful drive. I looked out and saw fog lying low over the fields, the trees red and orange, the sun shining in that October-morning way. I wanted to stop the car and run through the fog, but imagining it was second-best.

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Books. Writers’ group met this past week, and we talked about John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction. “I’ve never read that,” I say, and my friend hopped up, ran to his shelf, and pulled out his copy. I’ve only read the preface, but already I’m in love. Addressing the fears that so many wanna-be-writers have, Gardner says:

Most grown-up behavior, when you come right down to it, is decidedly second-class. People don’t drive their cars as well, or wash their ears as well, or eat as well, or even play the harmonica as well as they would if they had sense. This is not to say people are terrible and should be replaced by machines; people are excellent and admirable creatures; efficiency isn’t everything. But for the serious young writer who wants to get published, it is encouraging to know that most of the professional writers out there are push-overs.

I love this. Partly because I think, “I knew it!”, and partly because I feel like I need to admit, “Yes! It’s true! I DON’T clean my ears as well as I should!” I can’t wait to get into this book.

Music. I first heard this band in my city-friend’s apartment last spring. I didn’t know who it was and I didn’t figure it out till a few weeks ago when another friend said, “Hey, I think you’d like these guys.” I like their lyrics and I love their sound. Good writing meets good music. “When Your Back’s Against the Wall” is encouraging in a not-hoaky way – give it a try.

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Chickens. There was a long while where I was not grateful for chickens. I hated doing them every day, I hated how they acted like they were starving when there was clearly food in the feeder, and I did not like that I had to clean out the henhouse. While not all of that has changed (I still do not rejoice in the early mornings…), I am so thankful that I get to eat farm-fresh eggs and sell them to friends and family. It’s actually been hard to get enough eggs recently – something I’ve never had to deal with before – and I’m considering expanding the flock next spring. There’s nothing more beautiful than an assortment of eggs.

Movies. Okay, this is not so much a recommendation as a plea: I haven’t seen a good movie IN FOREVER. Are there any out there? Please.

Blizzard of ’13

The brothers and I went for a night walk in the storm. We used to do this a lot when we were little – bundle up in layers and wander around in the glowy-darkness that only happens when it snows.

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I liked it better without the flash, even though the images are dark.IMG_1253

This picture looks like it could’ve come from the 1950s, with the Coca-cola machine and the clock.
IMG_1256 Kindly posing.
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The plows were the only vehicles out. They probably thought we were crazy. And we were, a little bit, singing Neil Young and Jim Croce songs at the tops of our lungs.

By the end of it, our cheeks were burning and we couldn’t look straight ahead because our eyeballs were getting sliced. “We’re like Laura Ingalls!” I said, laughing. Except, I realized, she would’ve thought we were pretty stupid, choosing to be out in a blizzard. Probably would’ve shaken her head and muttered something about 21st century wackos.

[Did I mention we had a snow day? I think I was more excited than the kids, waiting for the notification, staying up too late because hope is strong. And it paid off! A whole Friday to fill!]

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This is the world I woke up to.

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I love it when the glass gets covered in icy snow.IMG_1300 IMG_1298 IMG_1297 IMG_1296 IMG_1293

Spending my morning in front of the fire. It’s quiet, at least til everyone else gets up. Trying to make a dent in “Cost of Discipleship,” but it’s not exactly a quick read. I guess it goes with the territory – “cost” doesn’t sound easy, and neither does “discipleship,” really.

Writing a letter to Switzerland, wondering what the world looks like from there, trying to share what’s been going on in this corner of it.

For someone who was ready for spring, I am certainly enjoying this wintery place.

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Pre-Christmas Hike

When people ask me, I will tell them we climbed all the way to the summit. This will be followed quickly by, “Well, actually, we only made it to the warming hut a bit below.” (My conscience often beats out my desire to tell a good story.)

I will tell them that a sunrise climb in December is the best idea ever.

I will tell them that everyone should do it at least once.

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(our hiding spot from the groomers)

If they dig a little deeper though, I might tell them that there were times I thought I wouldn’t make it any further. That when I walked through a snow-covered stretch of running water, filling my boots, I wasn’t sure if I would even start the climb. That when I fell through the snow along the tree line WAY ABOVE MY KNEE, I pulled a muscle that hurt with every step.

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But what I’ll also tell them, is that when I fell behind the group (which was every single time), they stopped and waited. When I apologized left and right for being slow, for being out of breath, they told me not to worry, that it wasn’t a race, that we’d all make it to the top together.

And I’ll tell them that when I sat down 3/4 of the way up to take my boots off, change my icy socks, and tuck warmers in the arches of my feet, two of them held lights up for me to see, while another held my backpack.

That we toasted our climb with champagne and peach rings and wrote our initials on the wall of the hut.

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That I gazed down over the valley and surrounding mountains and thought, God made this. It was in his mind, and he made it.

I’ll tell them I was overwhelmed and proud and grateful. That I looked at the three of them, my climbing companions, and praised God for the mountains.

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