Monthly Archives: November 2012

Endless clink of logs: filling the wood room another moonlit night

Full cold steady stare of white moon’s face illuminates our wood room filling adventures.

Sparkling snowflakes gleam against dark evergreens like fireflies.  Soft and alive and diamond, then gone.

We crank open the heavy wood room door.  An endless winter chore.  Three and a half tall rows of split wood must be hauled in from the tidy silver tarp-covered wood pile and stacked in our wood room.

We fill the unfinished wood room after dark.  It takes three nights because we’re–dare I label it?–almost elders.  It takes middle-aged folks longer than spry young’uns.  We fill maybe an inside row each evening with the heavy maple logs. (In our pioneer youth with willing children, if we were lucky to get willing children to help, we did this in a night.  I swear it was so.)

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Wolf. Sideways blowing snow. Chicken enchiladas with spicy mole sauce.

Monday.  Brown-furred wolf runs south to north in front of my car.  His legs pump, his haunches strain.  Masterful, he sprints, his legs sure, not slipping and skidding like those long skinny-legged deer who sometimes fall and splay all four legs as they attempt to gain traction on ice.  Solid, purposeful, the wolf crosses snow-covered asphalt, his eyes staring straight ahead, almost oblivious to the barreling car.  He darts into the woods, immediately  in a grove of evergreens, concealed in plain sight.

Snowy spruce

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The possibility of grace and freedom

Last week, before the thermometer dipped to 22 degrees (-5.6 C) and it began to snow…

Blessed warmth shines from blue sunny skies.  We’ve forgotten what sun looks like.  We’ve forgotten how cheery we feel when sun streams warmth across the backs of grazing deer in the yard.  We’ve forgotten how bright the woods look when illuminated.

In the drowsy warmth of afternoon I creak open the windows.  The screens are long put away, stored in absent Christopher’s basement bedroom.  On our last day of wood splitting last weekend bark separated from log to reveal an amazing inner pattern.  “The secret life of bark,” I think, and attempt to photograph the hieroglyphic lines, the hidden labyrinth in a busy world.

Inner world

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Aligning with our deepest values

Hints of self

One of the things I pondered during the recent retreat from blogging and computer and caffeine and other distracting activities was this:  how can we more deeply align our daily activities with our deepest beliefs and values?

Where are we putting the gift of our attention?  Is it really aimed at our deepest wishes, or is it aimlessly drifting in other helter-skelter directions?

What do we want to be doing with our one precious life?  What is the core, the honey, the hidden treasure, the Holy Grail?

In what ways am I just coasting through the day, sugar-coating or filling the hours with distractions?  In what way is attention scattered into pursuits that really lead down dead-end streets?

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Finding your way home again

Here is a little story inspired by blog reader Colleen who was fascinated by a recent comment about some of our inky black nights in the woods.  You can’t see your familiar hands, your feet, your journey to the mailbox. 

(Now that the moon stretches into her fat belly every night it’s like soft lamplight amplified by the gleaming of stars.  Except when it’s snowing, and the firmaments hide themselves behind clouds pregnant with heavy white maternity robes.)

When the pregnant moon births our way through the darkness

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Fare thee well, fallow fields and yet another blogging break

Time to leaf you…

And now…it’s time for this one to take another blogging break.

Yes, you knew this would happen, didn’t you?

You recognize the pattern, don’t you, even though I’ve tried to deny it?

Some of us create, create, create, create…and then our fields must lie fallow as we renew, as we build up the soil of our creativity.

As the chill of November deepens, as the winds whip to a frenzy on Lake Superior, as the snowflakes scurry and spin…some of us heed the call to turn inward, to dream, to listen to the deepest inner voice whispering between pine needles, between scurrying autumn leaves scuttling on the frozen earth.

Last time I took one of these regular breaks a couple of you expressed concern, worry.  No, my friends!  Never worry about me while on retreat.  I am happy, somehow, at these times.  When the computer mostly turns off, when the emphasis turns inward, something in my soul sings like a cheerful chickadee.

(It sings in outward creativity and sharing, too, but it’s a different kind of song.)

As we turn toward the Thanksgiving holidays, I give thanks for all of you.

For your steadfast presence in my life.

For all the gifts you share with others.

For the gift of sharing your precious self, your unique thoughts, your individual gumption, your brightness, your magnificent beauty.  Your gorgeousness…

In my absence, please feel free to peruse my New and Revised blog roll.  Finally, after months and months, I’ve added new names & faces for you to enjoy.  I’ve deleted those who’ve passed by the wayside or remained silent so long that they’re composting into new friends.

Evergreen blessings!  May our hearts open further in gratitude in this upcoming season…

Life’s patterns…

P.S. The comments are turned off, dear readers, because we’re not saying goodbye, are we? We’re saying fare thee well, ye fallow field, ye. We’re shouting *over the river and through the woods* “Until we meet again! Fare thee well! Fare thee well!”

Waking up to five inches of snow…

Our Little House in the Big Woods

This post is for our children who are far, far away.  May you enjoy the walk around your childhood home.

This post is for you southerners who dream of snowflakes but rarely see them.

This post is for you northerners anticipating the bright beauty of new snowfalls.

Please enjoy the scenes outside our little Upper Peninsula house in the Big Woods.

If you get cold, how about a cup of hot chocolate to get your winter started off on the right foot? (I mean boot.)

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White Winter Hymnal Magical Fox Child kind of day.

It’s spitting snow today with our thermometer shivering at 27 degrees (-2.8 C).  It’s hard to ponder going outside.  North wind cuts through flimsy autumn jackets, demanding winter garb.

I’m reading.

My friend Emma recommended The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.  Just started lapping up the words and paragraphs last night, mesmerized by stark white descriptions of an aging couple living in Alaska in the 1920′s.

Here’s the book description:  Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

I haven’t read beyond Page 80, so can’t determine if I’ll like the book or if it shall end “happily ever after” but am fascinated by the Fairy Tale child-fox sprinting in the trees of imagination, in the landscape of hope and possibility.

Speaking of magical, would you like to listen to one of my all-time favorite songs?  Prepare to be transported into this White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes.  The video is pure delight!

The joy and shame of stats

If I were a perfect person in a perfect world I would not care about stats.  (That’s what I tell myself.)

However, as an imperfect person in an imperfect world, may I share one of my greatest joys and shames with you?

I am a long-term lover of stats and the thrill of numbers.

They have made this heart race to the stars and back over the years.

A little background:  I am a financial person.  Two of my part-time jobs involve budgeting, comparing, saving, reporting and creating journal entries.

Oh how I’ve adored playing with numbers!  Up, down, backwards, forwards!  It’s like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle.  It’s been darn fun.

Daughter & me with jigsaw puzzle

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Weekly photo challenge: Leaf a comment, will you?

How the leaf actually looked.

Can you believe how the green life is slowly retreating from the leaf as it dies?

Leaf again.

Let’s play with the green leaf photographically-speaking, shall we?  How can we renew this dying leaf?

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