It IS still winter…

Here in the Northeast, we are gearing up for a major snow storm.

It seems like the days around St. Patrick’s Day can be a ripe time for late winter-early spring storms and blizzards.  After breaking record high temperatures for 3-4 days at the end of February…now we have been locked in the freezer for a bit and the storm looms. But that’s winter for you.

This was our yard after the blizzard of 1993…we had another good one in 2007…and now we may get 12-18 inches of snow beginning in the wee hours Tuesday.  This morning was relatively calm and sunny but the clouds are moving in.  We have plenty of supplies and I just hope our power stays on.  It’s not anything unusual for the area but you would think so by the reaction of so many people. Winter will be winter and March is wild and unpredictable.

I will post a couple of shots as we go along.  Presently there is no snow cover,  That’s going to change in a big way.  Or will it fizzle out?  Stay tuned…for that has happened as well in the past.  Be safe.

 

A little snow

Holy CrowSo far, this winter has been pretty quiet.

No snowstorms, no below zero days or nights…as a matter of fact before a squall the other day covered the lawn there was still a lot of green in it.  A big difference over last winter  and I for one am not complaining.  But that might change this weekend.

We are not supposed to have as much snow as the coastal areas – at least at this time looking forward.  On the Facebook pages about the weather people either are clamoring for a good snowstorm or they are perfectly happy to not be shoveling.  But I do hear the beginning grumblings of people looking forward to Spring.  I’m just happy that I am not yet looking out the window through the huge icicles that formed, turning the house into an ice prison of sorts.

No matter what winter does, it is a good time for me to do some reading, clean up some digital files, and generally slow down for a little while after the hectic Holiday season. Perhaps even get my butt in gear and make more entries on the page.

And that’s not such a bad thing 🙂

Heading toward a new year

P1290158-1I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday, whether Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa…or another celebration.

Our “Family Christmas” was held yesterday, the day after Christmas.  The two little ones lit up the room at my sisters’ home and the rest of us just relaxed, shared a meal (and too many candies!)  The weather has been unseasonably warm but that is supposed to change in the next day or so and we should see our first measurable snow.  Then sleet and freezing rain.

As the new year approaches, I have abandoned the habit of wishing for a BETTER year but for the grace to appreciate whatever comes.  Shortly after 2015 began I broke my shoulder/arm and still somewhat feel some limitations in other ways.  We grow older, things change.  Life changes.

But we can embrace life in its fullness each and every day.  We may have new limits but new horizons also open up for us.  Do you see these as stumbling blocks or stepping stones?  I prefer to see them as the stepping stones.

Wishing all of you the very best, and thank you for being with me these many years.  Happy New Year!!

Advent

advent wreathI just got back Sunday afternoon  from an Advent Silent Retreat at the Dominican Retreat and Conference Center.

As the pace picks up going toward Christmas, it’s always good to take a little time in silence to reflect, regroup and be renewed.   Although it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee…) we can all benefit from stepping back from the crazy activity that we are all engaged in presently.  No matter which holiday we celebrate.

It is still warm here for December…the grass is still green and snow is at least a few days off.  Maybe even a few weeks – who knows!  I have some decorations up, and enjoy driving around and seeing all of the lights.  As a matter of fact, I think it would be wonderful to have lights up until March.  It would sure help those dark cold days of winter pass a bit more pleasantly.  We human creatures are drawn to light, to warmth.  But it is in the cold bleak days that our appreciation for the season of bloom and plenty increases.  To every thing there is a season.  Take a bit of time out of your whirlwind schedule.

Breathe.  And Be.

Where IS the summer going?

sunset81415I can’t believe it is getting near the end of August!

I have been busy getting ready to lead a couple of retreats up in the Adirondacks.  I have all year to do this and always seem to wait until the last minute.  But I seem to work better under pressure.  And I am not changing things all the time.  I found over the past 10 years that it works out better overall.

The garden was particularly lovely this summer.  Things are beginning to fade somewhat but it is still lovely.  Hard to believe that Fall is just around the corner.  About a month from now.  But there is still time to enjoy wearing sandals, not having to find a sweater when you go outside…you know the drill.

I hope to get another post up before I leave.  The house will e in capable hands, and I DO miss family when I am gone but it makes coming back all that much better.  Conditions where I will be going are rustic but the place still has a pristine charm, and although I will be working, I will also be taking in the best of nature.

It’s a win-win deal.

The First of July

come sitI can’t believe it is July already!

As you can see, things are really green around these parts.  The rains we had in June (and it is raining off and on today) have helped the deficit we DID have.  After the snow this past winter it seemed we would be abundant but dry months from March through May dropped levels significantly.  But things are lush and green now, for the time being.

Summer is fully upon us, even though the air has been cooler the last few days. junegarden Gardens are flourishing and somehow, even when the skies are dull it is still beautiful out there.  The birds are most likely raising their last broods and soon the outdoor sounds change from new life to quiet fullness.  I’ve been able to get out for photos and opportunities abound.  There are still things indoors that could be done but I think I will put them off a while longer as I soak in this fullness.

How about you?

Birds, Wild and Tame

canaryA couple of times, I have mentioned the wonderful sound of the birds singing and how you can hear it once again in the early morning hours.

Even watching them swooping through the yard to the feeders, drinking or taking a bath in the bird bath, lined up on the edge of the garage roof or arguing within the branches of the shrubs brings a smile to my face and can cheer up even the dreariest day.

I think also of some of the “pet” birds we had years ago.  The canaries that would sing so sweetly or the parakeets that would squawk from their perches.  One friend had a parakeet that would spend time out of the cage and sit on her shoulder trying to steal her Cheerios.  Or sit on the curtains and scold all comers. My mother would put on a canary “training record” to encourage or teach the bright little birds to sing.  And sing they did! Another friend had little finches – lovebirds – that didn’t do too much that I remember but they were lovely birds.  I often wonder though, if captivity is kind to them.   Dogs and cats can become very comfortable in the role of “domesticated” but do birds miss flying free?

Just some of the random thoughts going through my mind today.

Happy Easter!

easter“Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time.” ~Martin Luther

It’s Easter.  Although it’s kind of chilly and windy for Easter dresses and bonnets, the snow is just about gone.  I was thinking this morning how, in about 3 weeks or so, the leaves will be coming out and the grass will be green once again.  After a long, snowy, cold winter everyone in the great northeast is more than ready for…Spring!

And how appropriate that Easter is celebrated in this season of new life and rebirth.  In plants as well as in our hearts.  Actually, each day is a “little Spring” in that we have a fresh slate to make the most of what we have.  One thing that we all share in equal abundance is Spirit.  There are always difficult times in life, just as there are storms to contend with in nature.  Harsh times can crop up in both winter and the other seasons…and they can pop up at any time in our lives.

Having been confined most of the winter recovering from injuries sustained in January, I had a LOT of time to reflect.  And in this healing time, I am amazed at the capacity for humans to heal even as we get older.  Of course, like anything else in nature, our time here is limited but what we can accomplish in many diverse forms can be almost unlimited.  Everything is reborn right now.  We have new chances, right now. Maybe not exactly the way we would prefer, but growth nonetheless.

Begin to live again.  Right now.

A little touch of Spring

casting callOutdoors, the weather bounces back and forth from “almost warm” to snow flurries.  It seems that in the Great Northeast, Winter will not give up without a tug-of-war with Spring.

These bunnies at a local Country Store are trying their hardest to be harbingers of Easter, warmer days, sunshine and a touch of carefree whimsy.  I have to admit they DO look just a little perplexed…like they looked out the window and can’t see the early flowers for the snowbanks.  We are only a couple of days away from April but I think March might go out like a lion.

In other news around these parts I have been watching the gradual transition in the neighborhood as the “For Sale” signs go up.  One house…the one next door…should have a revolving door for all of the activity it has seen over the past 20 years with folks moving in and out. Another…the house of a long time friend…will soon house another family.  We are one of the few remaining “old timers” here and I have to say, I do miss the old times quite often.

But life changes, as seasons change, and we are called to be open to each new chapter of our lives.  To learn and grow from every experience that comes our way.

Welcome, Spring, welcome life

Welcome.

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.