The secrets we don’t tell

Flash of yellow in snow

Flash of yellow in snow

Snow continues to fly here in the north woods.  You think snow drifts downward, don’t you?  You think snow drops from clouds to earth.  Sounds logical, right?

I’ve learned that snow, in actuality, flies every-which-way.  It’s most intriguing when it flies upward.  You’re looking out your window and snow rises.  It’s aimed for the clouds. Go figure.

Later, you’ll realize it’s the wind.  Snow does drift down from clouds.  The wind sometimes tosses it back up.  It’s like a game of catch.  Who’s gonna catch the snowflakes, wind or cloud?  Grandfather Winter likes to amuse himself.

We started re-filling the wood room again last night.  Oh, so frigid.  We topped off the back row and half filled the second row.  Tonight we’ll haul logs again.  Actually, I haul logs and hand them to the chief stacker, Mr. Barry.  I wear my grandmother’s old 1969 snowmobile suit.  (It’s famous, you know.  Someone said so on Facebook.)

The famous snowmobile suit

The famous snowmobile suit

After our wood-hauling episode with snowflakes flying upward toward the almost-full moon, I tramped around toward the front of the house.  A shadow scurried beneath the oak tree.  You couldn’t tell what it might be.  I’m guessing a fox.  Or perhaps a fisher.  It scuttled away, hiding behind spruce trees.

I sometimes ponder what we don’t reveal in blogs.  We reveal interesting facts like snow flying upward, and the sighting of foxes, but we remain silent about many intriguing happenings.  You’d be surprised what I don’t tell you.  I keep very mum about many family and personal matters.

Wood pile.  Snow shovel.

Wood pile. Snow shovel.

It always surprises me when friends or family say they “keep up with you” on Facebook.  Perhaps they do, on the surface.  Yet so much lies beneath and between our words.  So much fleshes out in what we choose not to say.  A world exists in our silence, in our reluctance to articulate, in what we shelter in our heart.

Now I must drive to work at our two-room school built in 1911.  A small silver electric heater blows warm air at me in my upper story office.  I must revise the budget, pondering categories, adding numbers, playing that jigsaw puzzle game of finances.

Children shall laugh, way downstairs.  They shall sing, preparing for their Christmas concert.   I shall watch the snow blow upward, downward and sideways out the upper story school window and think of you reading this blog, and the secrets you hold close, the secrets you don’t tell.

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71 responses to “The secrets we don’t tell

  1. Oh the individual aches and hurts we harbour. But we, no, you know I mean, “I”, don’t talk about them coz that’s not why I Blog. I Blog (I’m learning) remind myself of what makes me happy. It’s easy-peasy to find what makes me sad. My Blog and the kind comments of those who visit it, help me remember …

    Thank you Kathy, for being you.

    • Sybil, it is so interesting to more fully realize why we blog. Some of my blogging friends blog to try to resolve what’s sad in their lives. So glad that you’ve found an outlet to help you remember what feels good, what makes you happy. I often laugh out loud when reading your posts! (And thank you for being you, too.)

  2. Wasn’t it a beautiful night under that moon, Kathy? I thought of you yesterday, as I drove in to work. The sky was a brilliant blue gray, and plumes were rising from out in the harbor, where water met ice. One little tugboat was out there, trying to clear the way for another, returning to the island from the upper peninsula with a barge loaded with our winter’s fuel. Ice was more than a foot thick, in places! Already, in December! Before long there will be a bridge of ice from your Michigan home to mine!

    • Cindy, that is a most lovely description. Is the ice really that thick already? It’s truly amazing that this is happening in December. And to think we’ll soon be joined by that bridge of ice. I sometimes think we fly over your little island when headed downstate. I wave and whisper, “Hi, Cindy…”

  3. The snow is blowing every which way this morning, although mostly drifting down from the clouds. What is seen and what is hidden, an interesting dilemma. Still, the large drama’s tend to find their way into the blogs and facebook pages even if the small (maybe more important?) ones don’t.

    • My goodness, yes, Lisa, a lot of dramas do seem to find their way onto Facebook! I guess I’m the opposite–I’ll share the small ones quite willingly. It’s the larger ones that stay private. Not sure if it’s snowing here yet–it’s too dark. But soon heading out to see!

      • I don’t know, Barry’s knees were a pretty big deal as was the loss of his co-worker. The family trips are good drama and you usually write about them after the fact but they do show up here. That’s the kind of “keeping up” most folks expect, and the small positive things. I on the other hand didn’t mention either full anesthesia surgical procedure or the $1500 damage I put on the car so I get what you’re saying.

        • Ahhh, yes, you’re right about those. So I don’t remain completely mum, that’s good to know. I guess I don’t share about the thousands of dollars of damage on the car or trips to the emergency room or details of surgery, either. Don’t share about family illness and prognosis. So we’re probably the same in what we keep to ourselves, Lisa.

  4. That silvery moon was up early yesterday and she chased the sun away awfully fast I noticed. I admire your hard Sunday work piling logs, Kathy! Sometimes I wish I had something outdoors and strenuous to tend to.

  5. Beautifully poignant …

  6. It’s wicked bitter cold in my part of CT, but sunny, so that helps makes things a little warmer. I feel that I’m encamped on the couch to be close to the small ‘fire’ of a space heater and this sense of encampment and the staying close to the fire brings up many stories in my mind as I sit here and occupy myself with tasks for a small space. In some ways I see my mind as Vegas — what happens there, stays there. In other ways I see myself as going in and taking what Truth I want, what is ready to appear, what is there to be dusted off and polished and sent out into the world.

    • Gretchen, how beautifully you expressed the conundrum of our mind. Somewhere between Vegas and that space heater. Everything’s allowed to arise…but who knows what direction it shall head! Hoping it’s not wicked bitter cold there in CT today. It’s supposed to reach 22 today so we’re thinking ‘heat wave’.

  7. Lovely as always. Leaves me wanting to be in my silence….but I had to say this.

  8. I too wonder about the effect of our collective secrets in blog writing and sharing online. I often wonder if there might be a visible shadow in the aggregated impressions we give of the world on any given day or year. The that fisher and how I haven’t seen one in years now, not a weasel either, very red looking mink are the only ones of this family of animals that lives on Mayne Island. Just as quickly I am transported back to an old two story four classroom wood school building that I attended for grade seven that was sitting like an old bump beside the new elementary school. Only grade sevens used it partly because it was considered a fire trap and we might have the good sense to scramble out in time and partly because there was no middle school and this kept us separate from the younger grades – which we liked. We could visit and help in classrooms and then return to our early teen lair. So like the snow going every which way so do my thoughts drift with the same companionable scatteredness Kathy.

    A fine Monday to you as I sip coffee in an old apartment on the second floor just off Commercial drive glancing out the window to see if the fog is still hiding most of the city. I will head home tomorrow but for today I am enjoying one last day making more cookies and visiting with my son and grandson when they return from work and school.

    • Terrill, yes, I think there might even be a visible shadow from our collective secrets. Sometimes don’t you just catch it passing in the ethers? So enjoyed reading your thoughts here–from the red-looking mink to your own two story four classroom wood school. Ironic about the seventh graders and the fire trap… Hoping you have a very Tuesday and would love to sample one of your cookies–although your son and grandson and you probably munched them already!

  9. A world exists in our silence, in our reluctance to articulate, in what we shelter in our heart.–a beautiful and telling sentence–it is a story all by itself–I love it when someone else says what I think

    • Oh LouAnn, I am glad to articulate what you have felt, too. Our reluctance to articulate–our privacy–our silence–yes, perhaps we could write novels from that rich loam.

  10. The heart holds infinite wisdom, words, sorrows and joys . . . if everyone divulged everything (some days it is hard to believe at least some people don’t!), how dull the world would be.

    • You are so right, Kat. I just read an article about how marriages actually thrive on space AND sharing. How without each aspect the couple does not continue to grow. Fascinating…

  11. I love the snow. I dream of white Christmas. As I lay down, after a long tiring day, yet I’m happy I have a dream. I wish I could be with snow all around, I could crush it, splash it on my face, put it all over my clothes, eat it, smell it… oh, its seems so pure! I wish the trees here were all snow covered.. I wish, how I wish! & yes, I don’t like to mention about the hot weather our side, I’d rather keep it to myself.. I don’t want to tell anyone that our trees are only covered with dust! :(

    • Oh, Sonali, I love your enthusiasm about snow! I am afraid you would soon be shivering and your toes would grow numb and your fingers ache. Yet you would adore the beauty of the flakes and you would make angels and experience it in every way possible. So many people in northern climes long for heat–just a little heat–and escape to the south and maybe even India, too. My neighbor just visited India this fall and adored it.

  12. I don’t think of it as secrets I don’t tell. I think of it as details that the whole world doesn’t need to read. For my blog, I figure there’s enough negativity in the world, and my blog will not contribute. It’s a place for happy thoughts. And Facebook degenerates into whining all too quickly. If I need to update some people on FB about unappetizing things, I do it with a group instead of a general posting.
    Happy human-conveyor-belting of logs. Give that snowsuit a workout! Just not too hard, that thing’s an antique ;)

    • Heather, I am smiling–nay, laughing softly–at the practicality in your words. You bring me down to earth, in a good way. I often want to tell the world everything–yes, everything, not leaving a thing out. Because it feels too often that only the happy-happy side is revealed and that’s just half the picture of who I am. So always force myself to sneak in some whining every once in a while so people aren’t totally blindsided. As for FB, oh I could whine about that! But shall not–at least not today. :) As for the snowsuit, ohmygoodness, it’s starting to rip and fray just a tiny bit. I gave it another good workout last night, though. We filled the woodroom to the brim! We rock! tee hee. Heading out to school in a few minutes to test my car lights. Yesterday morning they flashed out and disappeared for a second. Waiting until it’s light enough this morning to test the system. So if they go out, it will be safe. OK, thanks for reading this book of a comment response. Tee hee.

      • You can save your fraying snowsuit! Petey’s cape apparently was made very cheaply – it’s fraying badly – but it does the job. Where the top wind/waterproof fabric is (you know – the kind that’s just terrible to sew) I applied fabric glue and let it dry. It doesn’t look great, but the cape is still in business :)

  13. I blogged about one of my “secrets” recently (still many more kept, for sure!) and was surprised by the response. Secret dreams — we all have them. Then there are secret regrets, and I’ll probably continue to keep those to myself.

    • Pamela, did I read about your secret or miss it? If I missed it and did not respond, please shoot an email. Secret dreams, secret regrets…the older I grow, the more I am learning to give cherished space to these, whether shared or in the silence of my heart.

  14. Love the photo of the yellow bird against the snowy backdrop. Well, ahem, there are certain things I do not reveal on my blog about certain family members because said certain family members read my blog. :-) But, sometimes I’ll mention issues (with said family member(s)) in comments on other peoples blogs. It’s just a fact of life … personalities clash sometimes. It happens. Have a great time with the kids and stay safe in your travels.

    • Isn’t it a beautiful yellow bird, Lori? I liked the way he/she pointed away from the camera, looking like it guarded secrets of its own. Yep, when family members read our blogs it’s good to keep our topics safe.

  15. Wow…beautifully written. I had a hard time launching my blog because I am a very private person and didn’t know if it was for me or not. But the responses from my sons, my family and friends made it all worth it. But I still struggle with how much to share…LOVE the picture of the finch!

    • Debi, that would be very interesting, indeed, for a very private person to start a blog. But glad you’ve received a positive response from those who care about you. Thank you for commenting–and liking the little finch picture.

  16. You are a wise woman and I so respect you for that.

  17. It was so cold under that almost full moon last night. I hope you didn’t stay out too long. Yet it was beautiful too, so I hope you stayed out long enough. I think you did.

    Yes we all have those things we do not share, at least most of us do. Some of my younger (much younger) relatives seem to share way too much. But they too probably have things that are left unsaid.

    There is risk in exposing our deepest most personal things, yet perhaps they would hound us less if we let them go public. Still. Perhaps not.

    • Dawn, yep, you’re right. Stayed out long enough–but not too long to freeze the little toes and fingers. Such a gorgeous moon in the snow! It is so fascinating what we share and don’t share. Sometimes I’ve risked and shared deep personal things and felt nurtured. Other times just felt vulnerable and exposed. It seems also a matter of timing. We shouldn’t perhaps tell until our deepest self determines it is time. Of course, who always discerns what the deepest self wants…?

      • Funny you should mention the deepest self Kathy. I wanted to share something deeply personal the other day but ultimately, couldn’t. Did manage to choke out some thoughts, but not nearly enough. For some reason, I just don’t want to keep half of me to myself…I want to talk about things I think about…a LOT. Like relationships for instance.
        Once again, your post arrives when I have been thinking about secrets we keep, or as Heather says, details. I think I want to swap ideas on details….but perhaps they need to be cloaked a little, in stories perhaps, so as not to feel too exposed and vulnerable, as Laurie suggests :)

        • It makes me feel good that someone halfway across the planet is thinking in a similar way, Munira. Sometimes I would like to share more of what I think about. But, for one reason or another, it often doesn’t feel right. Perhaps little stories are a good way to go. Thank you for sharing your feelings about this.

  18. Oh so true, the secrets, I mean. The things we don’t tell. Sometimes I wish that I could shout to those clouds of yours what is really on my mind. Not a good choice, and so they are like your snowflakes rising silently to somewhere up there. Also, we had a big storm day yesterday. Just trying to keep up with you. :)

    • Hi, Bonnie, have you ever thought about writing a completely anonymous blog shouting secrets to those clouds? But, then, of course, probably no one would read it…which might be for the best. Guess what? Our sun came out today. Just to play with the snowflakes, you know. Hope you’re dug out from your storm.

  19. This is beautifully written and a you’ve really hit the nail on the head – there is so much in what we choose not to say. As always, touching, wise and gently but undeniably thought provoking. Blessings, H xxxx

  20. I save all of the un-said as fuel for fiction. Like the logs you and Barry burn throughout winter to stay snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug, the un-said is a great source for kindling and conflagration — getting the creative job done (while being cathartic at the same time)…

  21. Love this – “A world exists in our silence, in our reluctance to articulate, in what we shelter in our heart.” I think our snow and cold will abate for awhile. I am totally good with that, which is why I live in Missouri and not Michigan !! You are hardy souls up there.

    • Deb, sometimes I think we are crazy for living this far north. (My husband does not think this at all. In fact he thinks the opposite.) Hope your snow is melted because we’re headed south to Georgia for Christmas soon. Got your phone call today–was at work, and then we went off on our own little adventure to our nearby bigger city. Hope you had a nice day! It was good to hear your voice.

  22. I love winter. And since there isn’t quite the cold and snow here in California that you have in the far North, I love reading your winter stories! Your words always take me to a magical place.

  23. I miss watching the snow do its dance with the wind. Someday I will learn to like the dances the wind practices here where it’s warmer. I have to admit to enjoying what seems to me to be an unusual amount of sunshine (will be around 70 degrees here this weekend). As for secrets, ah well. At least half of my life (my husband) doesn’t make an appearance on the blog except for sneak peeks.

    • That you, Robin Wind Dancer, for stopping in and sharing some of your thoughts this December day. You know, if my husband wasn’t a newspaper editor and sharing secrets of his own every week–he might have balked at regular appearances on the blog, too.

  24. Here in the Bay area, no snow is flying upward, downward, OR sideways. BUT, I realize while reading your delightful post, that sun does the same thing as snowflakes. The sun’s rays seem to be coming from on high, but no, it bounces off of the earth, and shines from below up to our chin, sideways off the high rise buildings and homes, and swirls all around us, reflecting the water’s light. Much like our smiles, which don’t just come from one space on our bodies to light on one space of another’s. No, our smiles bounce off of each other, so we feel them above, below, and ZING, right into our hearts.
    Big smile to you, my switcheroo blogging friend.

    • ZING! –what a lovely comment, Pam/Pamela. I have never thought of sun rays bouncing in the same way as snowflakes, but you are amazingly perceptive. They do. As for smiles, one can feel them from half a planet away. A big smile back atcha…

  25. I debate often about what to say and not say. Still haven’t come up with an answer, just pros and cons.

  26. Of course there are secrets that bloggers (and people in general) don’t share. One of the reasons I don’t share everything is that there are a lot of predators out there in the cyber world! I want to stay hidden to protect myself from them. Another reason I keep some things off the net is because I have a dark soul and I don’t want to push people away!! (Quite the opposite from protecting myself from predators….)

    Anyway, sometimes it’s best to let others read between the lines, you know, like Hemingway’s theory of the iceberg. So much more is beneath the surface, things that don’t need to be said if we just read closely enough. <3

    • I am always puzzled when you say you have a dark soul, Stacy, and wonder how it could be darker than all of our souls? I remember when I tried to stay hidden on the Internet for years. And then, suddenly, poof, it didn’t matter any more. I like what you say about icebergs and reading between the lines. That is a good plan, and one I don’t think about often enough.

      • I suppose being totally exposed still scares me, Kathy. But I like your openness, and what you have to say, what your thoughts are, in general. You see a lightness in the world that I don’t, but am trying to learn. <3

  27. I often wonder about the secrets we keep as well, Kathy. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to keep certain things private, but I often ask myself why some things are okay to share with other people but other things, not so much. Most of my “criteria” are self-imposed, I’m sure. :)

    • Dana, I am sure you are right about the self-imposed criteria. I have a blogging friend who unabashedly shares secrets that I would hold close. Some of them have to do with family, but others probably just don’t feel “safe” to share. It is fascinating. We should have been psychologists, right?

  28. Pingback: Is it a blizzard, Mr. Wizard? | Lake Superior Spirit

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