Winter Toes, Summer Water

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There is magic in water.  It is life-giving and taking.  It washes us clean both physically and spiritually.  We consume, immerse, bend, play, collect, rearrange, covet, and transport our water.  We have a very special connection with this liquid.  It is part of us, literally.

I love the water, open oceans, sprays from a sprinkler, warm showers, rain from the heavens, but most of all, the cooling waters of a swimming pool.  I have maintained a swimming pool of some sort for the last fifteen summers.  I have loving established a small wading pool for my toddler to cool off in during our muggy, hot August days together.  I have graduated all the way up to a 5,000 gallon above ground back yard pool, where you must keep PH, alkalinity, and chlorine levels at a precise amount.  Dutifully changing filters, skimming leaves, refilling water after a wild splashing party.  I find my focus on the perfection of the crystal H2O distracts me from my general dislike of summer. 

My favorite treat in the winter is a dip in an indoor pool.  Letting the chlorinated vapors saturate my sense of smell, the warmth of the pool consuming my body in a truly warming embrace.  I use the stairs to ritually step on to the first of the concrete slabs to my ultimate relaxation.  The water gently caressing my toes, my ankles, my knees, and waist, until I dive under to feel the weightlessness of my watery delight.

Water is also a focal point for my meditations.  I love the varied colors of water in nature, muddy brown with green tinges to light aquamarine, reflecting to the sky above.  I imagine the rapids of a cold river, quiet tropical coves of salt water, expanses of natural and man-made lakes, water trickling down a fountain, cascades of water falling to pools below splashing noisily.  My mind seems to focus and relax, calm transcends my spirit.  Find your focal point and put your winter toes in summer water.

Anticipation

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We live in a world of instant gratification.  Our documents can be received in the blink of an eye.  We are able to call anyone, anywhere, anytime, we choose.  News travels at the speed of light.  What happens when we stop to truly wait for something?

Wait for it….

Are you still with me?….

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Finally the moment arrives!  The anticipation of an event bursts into reality.  Like bubbles floating on the wind, bursting at the slightest touch of a blade of grass.  The wait is over!

The past few months have been an epic marathon of anticipation for me.  I had to wait for my favorite holiday.  Then I had to wait again for another.  Christmas couldn’t get here soon enough.  The celebrations of birthdays stood patiently in line waiting to be noticed. Snowfall in my region was waited on by me (alone, I think).  2015 couldn’t get here soon enough.  I happily ushered out 2014 and embraced the start of a new year!  With all the activity around me I have not been on a roadtrip in a while.

My anticipation is nearing it’s end!  I leave in just a few short hours on my first family roadtrip of 2015!  I love traveling in the winter.  The cool crisp air is refreshing when you step out of your vehicle, for a much needed stretch.  Traffic is lessened by the absent vacationers.  The scenery is clear, vistas are not hampered by foliage.  I feel free!

As I gather all the added essentials for our winter excursion, I feel warm.  The cozy moments gathered with loved ones feel….warmer.  The warm splash of an indoor swimming pool, while you look out the huge picture windows at snow drifts, feels warmly refreshing. The smiles of the kiddos warm your heart and soul.  The wind will howl.  The snow may fall. The winter weather will continue to slow travel plans.  Yet it is the anticipation of this winter roadtrip that makes all the extras worth it.

Travel well my friends!

Good Morning!

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The wind left me a “going away gift” this morning! I paused appreciating this leaf tucked securely into the handle of my car door. Fumbling with my purse, phone, gloves and laptop, I snapped a quick picture of my reminder to appreciate all the “gifts” of our natural world….even if it blows in on a sub-zero gale!

No School…Again

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I originally wrote this on January 6th 2014.  I find if amusing that I am sitting in my living room, snuggled under blankets, watching a movie with my teenagers almost exactly the way I was 1 year ago to the day.

The temperature this morning is -8° below zero.  I love winter and yet this is too chilly, even for me.  The call came in yesterday evening around 5 p.m., schools were closing. 

This phone call was exciting!  My boys will be home all day for us to enjoy one more lazy, watch TV, play video games, eat snacks, do nothing kind of day.  A small extension of their winter break from school. 

Recently calls of this nature were a life line of hope while I was working at a day care center.  If the public schools closed so did this particular institution.  The cancellation of school was a ticket to relaxation.

When I was younger, in the public school system, we didn’t get phone calls.  The responsibility of knowing if your child was to be at school in inclement weather rested solely on the shoulders of the parent.  The parents had an easy job here.  This was news every student in the district would happily receive for their parents.  The news station, yes it was singular in my house, would scroll a banner of school closings across the bottom of the screen.  Every child would sit, transfixed, to read each school listed.  The silent prayers for your school to be closed flooding the heavens.  Brothers and sisters would stop their teasing, teeth would go unbrushed, pets would become restless at the silence in the house.  Sometimes children would be chased to bed because hopes had not been answered, yet.  Sometimes the district wouldn’t make a decision until the morning.  At 6 a.m. the TV would come to life, cereal bowl in hand, more prayers…waiting…waiting…

Then it would happen!  The announcement would come, NO SCHOOL TODAY DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER.  Chaos would ensue.  Siblings who couldn’t sit next to each other at the dinner table, would suddenly embrace with joy.  The cheering was deafening.  Parents would scramble to make sure appropriate care was in place for the younger children.  Pets would join in with the celebrations with yapping and hissing at the commotion.  Nothing compares to the news of unexpected days off from school.

It seems in our technologically advanced era the excitement has not ebbed.  Social media was flooded with reports of the closings the moment it happened.  My teenagers happily stayed awake as late as they chose.  The anticipation of rest and laziness just for the sake of being lazy is almost intoxicating.  In my house today I will enjoy the company of my boys while I work. I will bake cookies for the sheer love of warm cookies. I will embrace the calm of a restful day that does not require make-up or jewelry.  

Have a warm, restful day.

‘Cuz I’m Weird Like That

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No! I am standing in rebellion! My fists are balled at my sides and I might even stomp my feet! I love change but this is too soon!  I don’t want winter to be over.

I know, I know, everyone is sick and tired of the cold, the snow and the basically depressing weather outside their doors. But hear me out…When those first light flakes fall to the earth in an icy dance, I feel peace.  An all-encompassing quiet in my heart that makes me smile.

Think of your favorite childhood toy.   Think of how it felt in your hands, not your hands of adulthood but your tiny, uncoordinated child sized fingers.  Is it soft?  Does it make noise?  Maybe it was an item that fit perfectly in your little palm.  Think of the way you felt when you had your favorite toy…

That joyous, peaceful, “I’m in my own world” feeling is exactly how I feel when it snows.

Goodbye winter, I will miss you.
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Traveling The Unknown

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The road twisted through the hills.  Winding up a narrow stretch to fall gracefully into the valleys below.  The view from the window suggested I was in a strange, brown world of Dr. Seuss.  Large, furry caterpillars reclined on the hillsides.  Golden spikes burst from the chocolate earth.  Tangled branches reached for the heavens, begging for the sun to warm them.  Everything in various shades of brown and grey.

Little homes dotted the landscape.  They look abandoned and desolate, no movement can be seen.  Occasionally another traveler passes by, on their way to their destination.  I move forward, curious to find the next hidden getaway.  A sign beckons me to turn my car around.  Up a narrow dirt road, off the beaten path, I climb.  The sign announcing the entrance is weather-beaten.  The drive meanders into a forest.  Following the little driveway, I find patches of snow still clinging to each other trying to outlast the warmth of the day.  They squish under my tires making my tiny car slide.  I accelerate and move beyond their reach.  The lane curves into an open meadow.  The grasses cut short by last autumns mowing.  Green sprouts of new life are just showing in the tan expanse, giving the field an unnatural hue, like the earth is glowing green from within.  I drive slowly on looking for signs of modernization. 

There is no feeling like the feeling of adrenaline.  I feel a rush every time I explore an unknown part of this world.  I return to the areas I enjoy.  I want to show everyone that will journey with me the little gems I have found.  Whether it is a pristine vista, a historic monument or a private retreat, I want to share my excitement with the community of travelers. 

My hope and prayer for all of you is that you find an adventure in your life that gives you a personal feeling of peace.

Travel well my friends. 

Winter Is Dying

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The days have grown longer, sunshine brightens my mornings.  It has been a long cold winter on The Great Plains.  Weather personalities speak of a Polar Vortex, sweeping down to consume us all in the arctic air of the north.  I feel like the great Alaskan Malamute that lives down the street from me.  As the snow piles higher, that beautiful, cold loving, hound, prances on his daily walks with his master.  One very bitter morning, as I was shoveling my front walk, I thought I saw him smile.  I feel the same way about this quiet, chilly time of the year.  The snuggles are freely given, movie marathons with “blanket beds” retain almost no guilt for tasks left undone, and hot tea warms your body and soul.  I love winter.

In the last few days my fantasies have turned to blissful green meadows, flowers blooming, neighbors chatting, walking a little slower from building to building, just because of the warmth in the air.  Soon inhabitants of the quiet houses all throughout the city will wake from our sloth laden slumbers.  As the sun warms this area of the world, we too shall wake.  I dream of the sunshine warming my hair.  The smell of fresh turned dirt sparks in my memories.  I hear the laughter of children playing in their yards.

It is still just a dream.  Winter has not released her grasp on us, yet.  The air is cold.  Jack Frost will visit again tonight.  I will continue to dream of spring.  While I am awake I will relish every cold moment.  For everything changes and soon winter will pass along to spring.

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