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Posts Tagged ‘Snow’

There was a time, somewhere in my past, when that term referred to winter clothing – white woolen slacks or a white sweater or blazer. I’d say a long time ago. Right now, winter white is the color of the sky, the ice, the snow, the everything. But a lot of white sky. That and grey.

A few weeks ago, in my part of the state, we had between a foot and a half to two feet of snow. Pretty, but more than anyone would ever want. Just looking outside made me want to run for the covers. And digging out is, of course, in between work. Or maybe work was in between digging out. It was exhausting and that was even with a neighbor clearing my driveway with his snow blower. I suspect, without him, my driveway would still look like this.

Inside in the evening, things were much calmer. I’d been gifted a Crate and Barrel flameless candle for Christmas and it looks so lovely in this lantern. You can forget – at least until the next morning – that this is what’s waiting outside …

Icicles. Yes, long dagger-y icicles that dare you to walk beneath them. There was just enough warmth and/or blunted sun to have them start breaking, and as I sat at my desk working, or journaling in the morning, you could hear them occasionally crashing to the ground below. When my oil delivery fellow came, I went outside to tell him to stay flush against the house, pointing up. He did …  and flattened himself. But being young, he then skated across the ice on the ground, yelling “Wheeeeee!” as he slid to the driveway and went back to his truck. I could only smile.

These, may I mention, are equal-opportunity icicles – they’re on every side of the house, and on just about everyone’s house in town, and beyond, I’m sure. They are quite beautiful, but do make it advisable to consider which entry to the house is the safest.

The last few weeks have had an unexpected perk. My neighbor next door has been experimenting making challah bread, trying different numbers of braids, and more recently, a different type of flour, too. I’ve had the occasional text alerts on my phone asking first if I liked challah, and on a few subsequent occasions, if I’d like some. You bet! Above, it made great challah French toast. I decided to make a marble cheesecake, a large hunk of which was gratefully received by these neighbors.

An unseasonably warm day yesterday and a boatload of sunshine today – finally! – has much of the snow on the rooftops melting and receding. Just in time for another snowstorm starting tomorrow morning. Oh boy! But at least for tomorrow, they’re only predicting 5-8″, After the previous storm, that almost sounds like a coating.

But the sky was glorious, and though it was quite chilly out, the day was a brilliant respite to the many, many white and grey days we’ve had for the last few weeks.

I had thought to post something for Valentine’s Day, but didn’t get to it. Here is what I wanted to say:

Love yourself. Through thick and thin, we are who we live with. Loving ourselves, contrary to what I was taught growing up, is the essence of being able to love others, to give to others, and at the end of the day, however grey or white, knowing that everything is really okay. This is my Valentine to you – to all of you who stop by, who write, who love, who persevere in these difficult times, and who believe in a better world. Be good to yourself.

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Perhaps more than at any time in recent memory, joy has been pretty hard to come by in this past year. At the moment, I am feeling contemplative.

Christmas, usually a time for excitement, celebration, and sharing, has been very quiet. Not without its bright spots, but quiet.

Advised to stay home, spend time only with immediate family/housemates, many of us have felt isolated, bored, lonely, and hungry for the company of others and the fun that always accompanied the season. But sometimes the bright spots came right to our doors.

In small town New Jersey, Santa Claus still came through our streets, courtesy of our local fire department. It was different this year; traditionally, Santa has come through in the evening accompanied by 5 or 6 fire engines, sirens wailing, lights flashing in the dark, and Santa hopped off the truck to give out candy canes to all the little ones. It may have been a smaller appearance, but it still lit up our hearts and smiles.

We had snow … the wet, heavy kind that’s hard to shovel, but beautiful none the less, especially after the driveways and walkways were cleared. It’s still a bit of a fairyland, if just we put our worries to the side.

We are told in so many ways to forget the past – it’s over – and not to worry about tomorrow – it’s not promised to us – but to find our joy in the moment. 2020 has been one long challenge to that idea. I need not enumerate the global, national, or individual tolls that have been paid this year, and yet, for those of us who continue to write, and for those of us who continue to read each other’s posts, and for so many more around the world, we’re still here.

Maybe worn and frayed about the edges, but we’re still here. Let’s celebrate that.

If we have roofs over our heads, warmth, and enough to eat, let’s celebrate that.

If we have people who care about us – and we are always loved by someone – let’s celebrate that.

Tonight, before the clock strikes 12, I plan to make a list of at least ten truly wonderful moments I’ve known in 2020, no matter how big or small. If I feel like writing more, I will, but at least that, because the way to find the joy in so many moments is to be grateful for them. And I will try to be more conscious of the many gifts that are mine in the moment, right here, right now.

May 2021 bring you many joyous moments of all sizes and kinds. May you know peace within your heart, and know you are always safe.

Cheers.

 

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The sun attempts to break through an almost white sky. The weather report tells me that this is the best it will do today. Some high winds later on, and for Christmas, perhaps a dash of snow in the morning. This suits me fine – my days of longing for a white Christmas vanished as soon as I had to drive in it. As I looked out the window, I searched inside for my Christmas spirit. I found it to be a little lacking, having been pulled in many directions the last week. I knew one remedy, of course – images and words that bring a smile and/or inspire.

So here you see my gentle snowman, standing at my front door, ready to greet you. His candle lights at dusk, and he blows it out at dawn. But tonight it will burn steadily and all through the day on Christmas.

Inside, the beautiful oak washstand of over 100 years shines as always, with silk poinsettias, my very favorite ice balls holding tea lights, and just a peek at the photo of my Mom and Dad’s wedding portrait.

And though from a winter past, the snowy roofs and lightly dusted bare branches put me in a festive mood.

But what about words that inspire? I remembered some years ago, my Christmas present to loved ones was a print of the piece below, a longtime favorite of mine, to which I added original artwork of forest animals in each season in each of the print’s four corners. I felt my contribution was small in the shadow of Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata. I share it here with you, with my warmest wishes for a Christmas filled with the sparkle of magic, hope, and peace.

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

~ Max Ehrmann

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As snowstorm Jonas dragged on and the snow continued to fall – heavy and then heavier – it was impossible to not start having concerns about the power going out. Thankfully, our area of the state came through A-OK. We did, however, get very high amounts of snow, lots of high winds and drifting. My driveway ranged from 24″ – 30″, and created the ghost that once used to be my car.

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What a relief when everything was finally shoveled and pathways cleared. I can’t help but wonder if these huge mounds of snow won’t be with us til Spring. Here’s hoping you weathered the storm okay, and life is returning to non-shoveling activities!

 

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Guilty

FrenchieCrocusOne of the tough things about having a blog is that you really do want to keep up with it, and yet sometimes it’s just not on the top of one’s possibility list. Unfortunately, this infuses me with a certain amount of guilt. Things are running through my head constantly that I want to write about – it’s never for lack of subject material – it’s for the luxury of time to write it well and to provide images that you’ll enjoy seeing.

So consider this a teensy tide-me-over and more will be coming soon.

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Back when I lived in the city, walking about Manhattan, there was a very good reason to look up. Gargoyles. Fabulous gargoyles. Bumping into people on the street, apologizing, face-to-the-sky, gargoyles. New York is full of them and they’re all over the place. However, this post is not about gargoyles … maybe someday … but another reason for looking up. Icicles.

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The recent 6 – 8″ of snow we had recently, followed by a drop to 4˚ at night, followed by a day of brilliant sunshine has these 2 and 3 foot daggers hanging off roofs everywhere. And although today was kind of cloudy, kind of sunny, I thought to photograph a few because I believe this is the last we’ll be seeing them until next winter.

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Neither the main roof nor those of the porches on this house have gutters, which may be why there are so many icicles, I’m not sure, but what I do know is that when you walk around certain parts of the house, you best be looking up and stepping lively. Periodically during the day, you can hear them crashing outside the windows, just waiting for an unsuspecting soul to walk by.

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Witness a few misses to the side of my house, the walkway where I come and go daily. Of course, there’s also a sheet of ice to navigate as well. Ahhhh – winter!

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Having taken that photo, I became more interested in the textures created by the ice and snow around the house, often so beautiful as to look like abstract art. I peered over my back porch railing where the ice was dripping into the snow. Icicles were breaking and melting around the hydrangea, as eager for spring as we, I suspect.

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And then, the last of the roses, encased in ice, also surrounded by broken icicles.

I could have gone around the whole property photographing these icy textures once I began, but such is not my day. These brightened my artistic soul, maybe yours, too.

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Where am I?

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I’ll tell you how I feel – kind of lost. It seems like this Winter is just going to go on forever. And by the scarcity of posts by the fellow bloggers I know, I dare say that I am not alone. Of course, there may be other reasons, but a great deal has been written about the effect of weather such as we’ve been having on the human soul/psyche. Speaking for myself, the endless rounds of snow every few days and the concomitant shoveling plus the record lows in temperature such as I have never seen in my lifetime conspire to keep me, (and possibly you), indoors. Add to that, those of us who work from home and you have the perfect scenario for a serious case of the Winter blues and blahs.

Buddha2I suspect many of you, like myself, are looking for ways to brighten these 9˚ days. Getting out for even a breath of fresh air is always good, as is curling up with a good book, or watching some decent movie or TV. Each day when I journal, (a mood-lifter for me), I also look for some spiritual/metaphysical thoughts to pull me back into my more inspired self. Today I remembered this (favorite) quote from Buddha: “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.”

I am reminded that I am creating my day on every level and that my thoughts and feelings affect the energetic level of the planet itself. I searched a little further.

From The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley: “For this is the great secret, which was known to all educated men in our day: that by what men think, we create the world around us, daily new.”

 

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Now, while I’m not yet bursting with boundless joy, at least I am smiling, happy and more content. I am remembering that Spring will come in time, and that there is still plenty of beauty in every moment of the day that is here, right now.

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If you live anywhere in the swath of the recent and impending snowstorms that we have been having/will soon have, I know what you’re really saying, as am I, not Let It Snow, but Let It Stop.

SnowFeb4-SecondTree2

The other night I heard the weatherman on TV saying to “Embrace the cold.” I’m having a hard time with that as it just keeps on coming … and with snow and ice. But he has a point. Shaking our fists at the skies doesn’t change a thing, so we do best to try and settle into peaceful acceptance.
And with that, came a few photos of said snow.

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And even after the snowiest day, once the sky clears, it’s still great to have your laundry smelling fresh.

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Light Snow at Dusk

Let me say, as I post this, that I am well aware that this is not a brilliant photograph. Why I wandered outside to take a few shots was because of the magical, blue-cast light. We haven’t had much snow lately, and they’d predicted a dusting to an inch. But it was more than just these light, airy snowflakes at dusk that drew me outside; they were illuminated by a rising full moon. What part did my flash going off have to do with it? Something, no doubt, and that is most evident on the white porch elements at left, but the rest is what it looked like … a theme in blue, lightly speckled with snow.

I was awakened this morning about 4 by that beautiful full-moonlight streaming in my window. A part of me wanted to throw on my robe, climb out the window, and range the back porch roof for fabulous shots. Now that would have been foolish for oh-so-many reasons. So I bathed in her light for awhile and went back to bed, happy that I had taken a few photos of the moon dreaming herself skyward hours earlier, if only indirectly.

 

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Winter Sunset

“Your eyes register only a limited degree of the creative vibration that makes up everything in creation … Those persons who have perceptive eyes enjoy beauty everywhere.” – Paramahansa Yogananda

 

(Thanks to my friend, Pat, for sharing this lovely quote.)

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If you’re anywhere in the mid-Atlantic region you’ve been getting hit with snow. Here in New Jersey we got hit with a 1-2 punch yesterday and again last night. Thankfully, I shoveled after the first round because now there’s another 12″ or so in most places, and maybe 3′ out there where the plow went through. I decide to do a first pass at 8 a.m. to make an access lane from my side porch to the street and also clear off the back/side porch and wherever Little Fee, the feral I feed, might be coming from.

BUT … before I did … I had to take some photos of the unmarred beauty of the snow. And the question? Whatever happened to the teenage boys that used to come around on snow days looking to make some money shoveling some of us out? Yeah, yeah, I know … they’re home texting and playing on the internet. Kinda sad, as I guess it’s a time gone by.

That’s it – I’m hearing my shovel call …

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