Spring is bustin’ out all over (and a blogging milestone)

Eagle ready to take flight

Spring burst wide open in the Upper Peninsula early last week. When we returned from our East Coast trip May 2nd a pile of persistent snow still melted slowly on the ground.

A week later the wildflowers graced us with a single marsh marigold bloom.

Then lime green buds appeared on trees followed by unfurling fiddlehead ferns and whizzing red and green male hummingbirds.

The thermometer soared, our spirits delighted…and we spotted our first crawling wood tick.

Yay! Spring is here.

May I show you some photos of our arriving warmth and expansion?

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Posted in May 2022 | Tagged , , , | 49 Comments

Traveling from little house in the woods to big city on the coast

Flowering dogwood in New Jersey

It’s a quiet May morning in our little house in the woods. Gray clouds scud across the tops of budding poplar trees. Wind blows her gusty breath on the deck umbrella which we just retrieved from the basement in honor of spring’s supposed arrival. We’re waiting on hummingbirds. They usually show their flitting tiny red and green bodies around May 10th, but this year they may be late. It’s been such a cold spring, but the snow around our house has finally melted and lupins are pushing leafy green stems up through moist soil.

Three carpet layers work in our bedroom as I write. Yes, we know carpeting is not politically and environmentally correct and not welcome in sleek modern houses with wood floors, but we love its warmth between our toes as we stretch awake and tread downstairs to start a woodstove fire. Yes, Barry laid local hard maple flooring and ceramic tile in our kitchen three decades ago. . .

We’ve seen these carpet fellows before. When they arrive in our driveway they linger in their van and smoke cigarettes for five minutes. Clouds of smoke roll out of their open windows. Some of them wheeze as they work their craft on their knees stretching the new carpet against tack strips. It’s a demanding job. The elder fellow mentions he’s just recovered from pneumonia.

Barry’s out with his trusty chainsaw, cutting up the wood pile. Lots of work for us in upcoming months as we’ll saw, split and haul the firewood. We’ll work our craft steadily–hopefully in the early morning before the hot sun sears–perhaps watching hummingbirds drink from the red feeder against the house.

I’ve been sorting through photos of our trip to New Jersey to visit our son and his wife in their new home. Would you like to see some of the pictures from the wee iPhone?

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Posted in May 2022 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Healing a broken toe, watching the snow melt

The last three weeks I have been mending a broken toe while watching snow fall and melt, fall and melt. Since my mobility was rather limited in the first couple of weeks the day’s highlight often occurred during a daily limp to the mailbox.

It’s been one of the coldest longest Aprils we can remember. While other bloggers happily posted photos of phlox and daffodils–all I could take pictures of was snow and disappearing snow.

When would spring arrive in the Upper Peninsula? And would this broken toe heal before or after?

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Posted in April 2022 | Tagged , , , , , | 53 Comments

The maze is your labyrinth

On the day before Gretel journeyed down to earth again and birthed in her mama’s belly, her spiritual angel reminded her about the purpose of Living on Earth.

Remember, Gretel, in the deep recesses of your heart WHY you’re choosing this human incarnation.

You’re diving into a world of seeming duality: the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful.

Your helpful mind will draw lines to determine what’s right, how you want to live your life.

Your loving heart will attempt to navigate in a good way.

Your sweet body will listen to mind and heart and reflect your path back to you.

You will seemingly lose your way.

You will weep, rage, stagnate, not know, spin, sorrow, grieve.

You will try to fix what seems to be wrong.

You will most probably feel alone and abandoned and oh-so confused.

Sweetheart, I want you to remember this.

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Posted in April 2022 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Mindfulness, equanimity–and a broken toe

Reflection in mud puddle

I’ve gone “back to spiritual basics” in recent weeks since our trip to Georgia. Being aware of breath and body. Breathe in, breathe out. Paying attention to this body, this shin, that shoulder, this pelvis, this skull. Doing long body-based meditations. Simply being aware of what is and noticing all the thoughts, emotions and sensations arising and falling away.

Noticing how easy it can be to forget this mindfulness intention on a certain Saturday morning in early April. Noticing how very easy it can be to run barefoot pell-mell fast and hard into the coffee table in front of the couch and SMASH the foot against the uncompromising unforgiving wooden leg.

Remembering how easy it is to yelp, cry, curse, sniffle, moan and chastise myself for forgetting to be mindful. Letting that self-judgment be as it is and noticing the quivering lower lip and the OWWWW of the painful toe.

Limping, limping, limping. Trying to decide: should I go to the doctor? The medical internet advises all sorts of things. If the toe is broken–it will heal on its own. If the toe is broken–get ye to a doctor right away. But what if it’s not simply a wee toe? What if it’s a broken foot bone?

Warning, warning, do not click over to the rest of the story unless you want to see a picture of said foot.

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Posted in April 2022 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

The perils and ecstasy of walking on snow

Let’s talk about the ecstasy first, shall we?

Often a special moment arrives each March. Since the snow melt started a couple of weeks ago we’ve been sinking in. You walk to the shed and your boot sinks in over ten inches. You pull your boot out and the other boot drops thirteen inches.

You slog, you slip, you falter, you fall. You may even curse. It’s not very fun to navigate in the melting snow.

But then arrives that special magical incredible awesome day… (It arrived yesterday in our neck of the woods.)

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Posted in March 2022 | Tagged , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Loss and gain

We lost my father-in-law, Jim, this weekend. Barry lost his dad. Our kids lost their dear grandpa.

Our loss is heaven’s gain.

I don’t have much inclination to write. It’s a quiet time.

But I am reflecting on loss and gain this morning.

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Posted in March 2022 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 72 Comments

Sad transitions

We lounged on the patio in my in-law’s backyard in early March. It was almost 80 degrees. A bluebird fluttered on the branch of a nearby magnolia tree and cardinals sang their sweet song in the fig tree. An hour earlier deer pranced nervously on the red Georgia clay.

It was beautiful. Blue sky, red earth, blossoming spring daffodils.

Yet our spirits felt heavy.

We traveled to Georgia again (see the post about our recent visit in December) to help Barry’s parents. This time it proved much more stressful. His dad had fallen and was hospitalized; his mom needed immediate placement in assisted living. Both parents required extensive care and it took Barry, his brother and both spouses to navigate through the days.

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Posted in March 2022 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 68 Comments

Snow, snow, snow and it’s really __ __ __ __ __

So while my “southern” friends are posting pictures of crocuses and daffodils, we’re still getting snow, snow and more snow.

If you’re a Wordle player (which I am) please guess the following word __ __ __ __ __

You have to guess it in one shot because I’m incapable of replicating the game for each and every one of you enthusiasts right now.

Look at how many of you got it! Good job! The Wordle word of the winter is SNOWY.

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Posted in February 2022 | Tagged , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Vegetable scrap smiley for our company

Company arrives in about four hours. Our friend, Dave, said he’d be here by noon but messaged to say he’s running late. He’s coming from the eastern Upper Peninsula in his camper van. He’s been snowshoeing and skiing near the Tahquamenon Falls this past week and wondered how the ice fishing might be in the Keweenaw Bay?

Barry said come. Their usual first-ice spot off Jentoft Road will probably be safe by early this week. The next better fishin’ hole by Whirl-i-gig might even freeze. It’s too early to fish for lake trout near Pequaming, but you can see ice fisherfolk with their tents creeping steadily further offshore every day.

Barry fishes with his buddies, Nancy and Don. They’re game to meet Dave and try their luck this week, too. All looks promising.

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Posted in February 2022 | Tagged , , , , , , , | 26 Comments