Tag Archiv: snow

Post Easter week snow and the troubador

photo compliments of morguefile.com

photo compliments of morguefile.com


Good Friday was warmish. We saw green bits in the brown of the grass and smiled. Easter was cold but the afternoon warm enough for a walk through wet paths and fields. Easter Monday it snowed. My husband did dinner dishes yelling every time he forgot and raised his head that he refused to look outside the window. On the way to school, Boy two remarked how strange it was, here it was one of the most beautiful snowfalls of the year and we weren’t happy about it.

It’s true. The trees were lightly covered in just the right amount of snow. No plows had gone through throwing brown sand around the edges. The roads had fixed themselves. Their black winding path went through a world of unbroken white. Fields and branches perfectly baptized, a grey blue sky was especially free to shine as the only real colour in town.

My son has this same problem right now. I have always wanted him to love music. To share this part of joy together. He loves music now more than I’d dared to hope. Except he doesn’t play what I think he should. He plays loud pieces when it should be quiet. He practices endless chord sequences instead of scales. He teaches himself songs from musicals or rehearses pieces from two years prior when I know he should be preparing for an upcoming evaluation.

If anyone had shown me a picture of the snow on Tuesday morning, I would have thought it impossible for my response to include anything other than rejoicing and gratitude. Likewise if anyone had told me four years ago listening to my son’s great boredom and disinterest in music, that he would be sticking his trombone out the window to serenade whatever country neighbours might be driving by, that he would be unable to stop singing or humming as he went about the business of the day, or that he would be unable to pass the piano without setting his hands down to play a few bars, I would have bet the farm that the tidings would bring nothing but joy.

In both things I have been wrong. I want to say to son and God – timing is everything. And if it is not everything, it is at least something. But the hoped for vision is the grander one.

We prayed for snow leading up to Christmas. We don’t want it anymore. Yet there is no denying it’s perfection. Shimmering and glinting in the morning light. I spit out my no thank you, and it stands unheeding. Behold all things are new. Come, dance. The music that you love is playing again.

I made my peace with the snow (which was good because it snowed like five times last week before it finally left). Perhaps there will be grace for the chord loving, composer dreaming, discipline eschewing troubadour as well.

March Buzz


You can see at least a few of the bodies here.


The business of bees nags at my brain. I want a sugar alternative, I want kids on fire for living things, and I like us learning whenever possible. People tell you to expect nothing for honey harvest in year one, while simultaneously telling you how much honey their uncle Harold, neighbor Frieda, and son, Billy, got their first years. We did not become a story like Billy; our first year we got zero.

I discovered in early January that the winterizing of the hives had not been done properly. Exits and ventilation are as important for bees as they are for people. One hive seemed ok. The other had both entrances inadvertently sealed. I removed hundreds of dead bodies and ice and settled into hopelessness. I mentally pronounced hive A dead and the hive B potentially terminal.

February broke all kinds of weather records for average cold, most consecutive cold days . . . This past weekend saw warmer temperatures. Despite the sunshine, I walked with heavy steps through snow higher than my boots (or knees) to make myself look at the hives.

“Good news!” I told my husband afterwards. “There were dead bodies all over the snow.”

I had hoped to see a bee or two fly out into the sunshine (they use the warm days to relieve themselves). I didn’t see that, but I did see a lone bee fly. Granted, she flew straight to the snow and committed frozen harakari . . . but before that she flew.

“It’s kind of weird,” said my husband, “when you say, ‘good news,’ because you discovered dead bodies and witnessed a suicide.”

But good news it is. Dead bodies on the ground mean the girls inside are alive and cleaning house. Should the buzz continue into spring, I’ve made some resolutions in celebration of hope’s resurrection:

  1. We’ll buy better bee protection. Winterizing would have been done better if we weren’t so sick of getting stung.
  2. I’ll give up expecting the boys to own the bee project. We all find the bees exciting. The boys are willing to work and willing to get stung. For the foreseeable future, they aren’t going to carry the emotional burden, initiate anything, or wake in the night with what they’ve forgotten to do. I can own the project or we can quit. I can be bitter about what my bee men aren’t doing or be happy for what they are.

With dreams of project watching gone, I am officially the project manager. May the eventual honey sweeten the gaps in working style among the partnership. I’ve got the ability to make myself do what I don’t feel like doing at a particular moment because it needs to be done and the notion that the pursuit of ongoing knowledge is required.  The boys are actually much more comfortable handling the bees than I am. We could do worse for a combined skill set.

Februray Unpost


There is no post today because:

1. Monday was a snow day and it was too cold to get the kids outside. Coming off the weekend and a string of cold days, they were quite a bit stir crazy. My only creative thoughts on Monday were about how to put together a dogsled team to pull a sled made for one, what to pack and whether it would be better to arrive somewhere or to fall nobly off the sled into the soft drifting snow while the dogs pulled on. I might have opted for this last except I worried the visiting shitzu would notice and come back to me. I would awake not to the pearly gates but to the eager tongue of the animal dropping connoisseur on my face.

2. Tuesday was full of commitments.

3. Two people I know are suffering under the ravages of an unkind disease.  Sometimes death is beautiful and people write books and poems about it. Other times loving people and their families means there isn’t very much to say.

Small Conversations

A Tranquil Winter Forest at Dusk, by Louis Apol

A Tranquil Winter Forest at Dusk, by Louis Apol

The snow brings its joy in tiny thrills. I love the wood stove.I love the whole world singing new. Trees stand gloriously enrobed. Even garbage sparkles along the path. Best of all are the footprints. In most seasons, whoever has gone before me does so in secret. Yet footprints are now one of the chief pleasures of my walks. Highways of creatures cross my own. I can’t be sure of who is whom, but yesterday I counted at least five separate creatures in abundance crossing at one place or another the snow I was walking.

I pray in fits and starts, on my walks and otherwise. Mostly, I am lousy at it. I manage a sentence or two or three, get distracted and start again only to find my mind wandering in yet another direction. I go for months with the discipline of regularity then slip softly off the wagon unable to get back on. It’s an off the wagon stretch with a string of failed attempts to climb aboard again right now.

The world seems such a serious place. Rome is always burning in one way or another, and it’s Advent after all. Hardly the time for cessation of communications. My shortcomings frustrate me at the same time I struggle to force myself out the door to the woods, where it’s infinitely easier to talk. Yesterday as I tromped through the snow, I had in mind it was a good time to send up some official supplications, but the usual distractions cut them short.

Inside, that bothers me. Out there, not so much; what I do or say doesn’t seem to matter. Especially in winter’s forests, there are little invisible hand-built bridges between the lowly here and grand there. With trees towering on all sides, it is difficult to feel alone. Some prayers I didn’t work to say yesterday.

“You make good feet,” I said. And later admiring yet another set of prints, “Really, they’re exquisite. Especially with feet, you are amazing.”

The sky did not rain angels. Birds did not softly circle my head, and there was nothing to cross off a list.

Perfection and expectation, O foolish impostors for grace, get thee hence. If I can get on my coat and my boots, the great conversation awaits.

Contagious Determination


We’ve talked about switching chicken duties from Boy two to Girl two but height has held us back. I sent Girl two for the eggs the other day only to realize that no one tall enough to open the coop door for her was outside.

“It doesn’t matter. I can do it,” she said.

“How are you going to open the door?” I said.

“I think I know a way,” she said. “If it doesn’t work, I’ll come back.”

Off she tromped in snow pants, coat and boots. A few minutes later, she was back with two containers of eggs and a very big smile.

“My idea worked,” she said.

I walked out to the driveway to see for myself the wheelbarrow she had found and parked by the door so she could climb up high enough to unlatch the door. Girl two is now officially responsible for chickens.


It was the wheelbarrow and Girl two I had in mind when I set out to plow the driveway. The tractor I usually use is out of commission for the winter, my husband was away at work, and I had driven the “new,” tractor only once for a few minutes in the summer. But how hard could it be? I said to myself donning my outdoor gear.

I found the key, found the lever I was 95% sure would make the plow move up and down, and then sat troubled. Knobs and levers have a way of multiplying when you’re not sure what they’re good for. In my particular mind they also take on explosive qualities. As in, I panic that I will touch something in combination with something else that everyone knows that you never do, only since I am doing it because I don’t know, it will cause the tractor to blow up.

Except for the blowing up anxiety, I really wanted to start that tractor. Since he knows very well I’m not that confident on how to drive the thing, visions of a plowed driveway to greet my husband at the end of the day called quite seductively. The thing that stopped me cold were the two gear shifts. Whatever numbers that came with the tractor fifty years ago to say which gear was where or which of the little sticks did the real work were long gone. I quit and went inside.

That is, I quit until I found my metaphorical wheelbarrow. Who knew you could page through photographs from Ford 3000 tractor manuals on the internet complete with pictures and directions? The manual had such a warm and friendly tone that I dispensed with caution. Although my diagram transfer skills are generally weak, ten minutes later, I was outside getting the old girl started. I plowed the driveway, I did not blow up, and my husband was mightily surprised. :)


More absurdities

IMG_2674The cottage where we stayed last week has the most delightful chess board I have ever seen set out on a table in the living room. It was impossible not to play chess. Boys one and two are learning. Girl one has the barest basics. Without even playing, the kids would stand by the board intrigued with the figures.

Come play chess with me, Girl two said to me on the second day.

You don’t know how to play, I said.

Yes, I do, she said. I learned yesterday.

She turned, expecting me to follow.

You might have to go easy on me, she tossed over her shoulder.




Would you mind, said Boy one. (It may be established by now that Boy one doesn’t say things unless he means them seriously, but just in case it is not, picture the way you might ask someone to consider giving you a kidney and you have about the right level of earnest.) Would you mind, if I shovelled the yard?

I blinked for a few minutes trying to figure out what I was missing. I could not come up with anything.

Where, I said.

On the other side of the driveway. I know it sounds strange, but I want to break in my cleats and I don’t want them getting all wet. I thought I’d shovel down to the grass and make myself a field big enough to take shots on a net.

Of course, he was still serious. If the goal was grass, he failed. If the goal was fun, he and his brother made wild success out of a few hours with a soccer ball, ten minutes of which involved a shovel.



I make it my business to read anything left lying around. Things left around the house are considered voluntary donations to my curiosity. The latest secret journal in tatters opened to the following page. Journal: date unknown. Content: unexplained. Original spelling: preserved.

To My Dear Huspin.


I culd nevr love u anuf

Girl One



Bent over the dryer, I hear footsteps and a chair is shoved across the floor. I emerge to see Girl two climbing up onto my laundry table.

What are you doing? I ask.

I want to own that rainbow, she says eyes intent on the wall.

Over top of the laundry baskets, on tip toe she reaches a finger to a little square of colours reflected on the wall.

There, she says, and begins her descent. Now I own it.

I own a lot of those, I hear her say to herself as she disappears down the hall.


Dear God

January  2013 193

Lovely snow with recovering chicken slayer in the distance. 4 years and counting since a lapse. Proof that there’s hope for everybody, I think. :) 

Dear God,

Apparently, this is a letter writing week. I’m sorry you came after the chickens. My mother used to make me write grateful lists when I was grumpy. Here are my top three reasons for gratitude at the moment.

Sunday afternoons that involve Suduko: Is anything more relaxing than Suduko? A perfect square, and all the numbers have a place in a line where they belong. After I fill in all the numbers, it’s over. The numbers sit in their order and even if the house were to catch fire, the task would remain concluded. Unlike the rest of my life, once I’m finished, nothing can change and suddenly make me unfinished. For this, I am deeply grateful.

Irons and ironing boards: Why anyone would buy permanent press clothing, I have no idea. The dog barks, the kids fight, the husband searches for his keys/wallet/phone/papers/bag (pick one), but when my iron moves, the wrinkles go away. Boy one has no clean underwear. Girl two has spilled her cereal. La. Ti. Da. Wrinkles are disappearing before my eyes. Tra la with a lovely trill. Ten year old shirts they may be, but they perk right up with a little steam and pressure. Me and my iron, we know where every stain on every piece of clothing is, but nobody else does once we’re done running that crease down the pant legs. With my iron, I am invincible. Invaders, marauders, no matter. A steaming, red hot implement is in my hand. I defy the demon of interruption.

Snow: Not that it matters, but from where I sit (blue chair with the duct tape over the arms the kids keep picking at despite numerous reminders and consequences rational and otherwise) throwing something white and sparkly over top of everything for a few months every year was one of your best ideas.

So thank you for suduko, irons, and snow. I look forward to thanking you for eggs from my chickens as soon as it becomes appropriate.

With humility and gratitude when possible, and, “Just as I Am,” the rest of the time,

Yours truly