Thinking Ahead

Sierra Exif JPEGIn about 26 hours, it will be March.

February, in these parts, has been one of coldest and snowiest on record.  Average temperatures between 12 and 13 degrees. Not only here but friends in the southern states…you know, the ones who let you know that the daffodils are budding…have also been dealing with cold, ice and snow.

In my working days, when I would tear off the calendar page for February, seeing the word March at the top of the calendar seemed like a turning point.  Even though we can easily get snow into April, March always meant “You’re almost there.”  It will be a miracle if I see the back yard by the end of the month but the lion’s share of Winter is history.  Deep beneath the snow cover the spring flowers slumber and soon the tight buds on the trees will get JUST a little bit bigger.  The sun will shine just a little bit warmer.  And the daylight will be around just a little longer.  We will start to hear the bird symphony in the morning.  The world wakes up, and inside of us our plans, dreams and hopes also awaken.  It’s the cycle that is ever faithful.  I am ready.

How about you?

That Flash of Color

cardinal2Nothing like snow to make our cardinals stand out as the bright spots in the dead of winter!

I have had a pair of cardinals in my yard for many, many years.  Probably not the same pair, and unlike some folks, only the one pair and not several of them at once.  Unlike the juncos and sparrows…of which I have many.  The feeder and the ground below it are always busy.

I enjoy the constant activity, it brightens up even the dullest day.  At some point in very early spring, it seems like they all disappear for a few days but they always come back.  The yard is surrounded by all of the trees and shrubs we’ve planted since moving in 30 years ago and they have not only ample food and water (we have a heating element in the bird bath) but plenty of shelter as well.  This winter, with snowbanks piled high and most of the natural food sources buried it is especially popular.   Unlike a lot of people I continue feeding them through the year because I enjoy their company.  The squirrels are still trying to figure out how to empty the feeders on occasion but the fact that they can’t has been a plus…the birds have a fighting chance at the food and they know it.  Feeding and watching the birds…one of the simple pleasures of life.

And one of the most rewarding.

A little time away

2015CP11I just got back yesterday from a 5 day Centering Prayer retreat at the Dominican Retreat and Conference Center .

I look forward to this retreat each February, not only for the experience itself but the sense of being in a cocoon…safe and warm inside no matter what may be happening outside.  This year, the relentless cold and snow made things even cozier (at least it seems that way to me).  I am thankful to be at a point in life where I can get away now and then for reflective and quiet time.  To me, that’s as exciting as some people might find a trip to some exotic location.  The point being, to have a total change of scene. Time to think – or not think – and break the routine just a little bit.

Usually, I come back with a new insight on something.  It may take a few days to come to realization.  The cold midwinter can hide much to our sight and our mind but life is  waiting for the right time to burst forth. When things seem cold, dark and dead we might wonder if Spring will ever get here, in our environment AND in our souls. We can count on one thing:

It always has.

Yes, it’s still snowing

outwindowAs I sit and look out the window, there is more snow out in the yard than we have had in about 4 years.  The continued cold temperatures have discouraged melting so it has pretty much stayed with us also.  We are far from having it as bad as places in Massachusetts however.  We can still SEE out the windows.

Today, we have had a few bursts of flurries and overnight the arctic air is supposed to come blowing in.  Times like this I am very thankful for a warm house.  I also sit and marvel at how it can be so hot and humid in the summer.  But times like these make spring so sweet…

c in snowTo give you an idea of how much snow is out there…this photo was taken at the end of February, 2011.  And it looks just like this now except with my broken arm and ribs I am not standing outside tempting fate.  I was just a little closer to the house on this path to the bird feeders and garage when I fund that patch of ice. We are pretty hardy up here, or at least we used to be, despite all the moaning I see on Facebook posts.  And, it’s lighter just a little later in the afternoon…as I type this at 5PM EST, it’s still light out.  The seasons are what makes life interesting, they are what can be likened to real life, and you can let them make or break you.  But if you let it, this season of cold, dark and challenging days can be nurturing the seeds of growth and creativity inside.  It’s up to you…

What is your choice?

Six more weeks…

bd1Big surprise…the groundhog saw his shadow.

Although after being pulled from his comfy burrow into the snow we had the day before…I can’t blame him for deciding we need to be punished.  Here on the home front we had about a foot of snow but I am by a river and we seem to get just a tad less.  Most of the storms so far have missed us so we were due for a good one.  It IS winter, after all, and it WILL be here for 6 more weeks no matter what the little rodent says.

I have been indoors watching the festivities for the most part.  A slip on the ice resulted in a broken arm and some bruised ribs.  I can’t even say I was on some great assignment…I fell in my ownbd2 yard coming back from filling the bird feeders.  How mundane.

The snowstorm also interfered with a follow up to the orthopedic doctor on Monday but I will just keep doing what they told me to do.  I do remember a time when you didn’t have to go every week-10 days for follow ups.  I guess insurance is to blame for that.  On the road to recovery, even though slow it is not a bad time to stay put.  I am getting some reading done, and thinking ahead to Spring, whenever it gets here.  The biggest pain is not being able to take pictures as easily!

Stay safe and warm.