Winter winked its lazy ice-blue eye at us this morning.

Winter winked its lazy ice-blue eye at us this morning. Thirty seven autumn degrees, it nodded. Prepare thyselves. I am coming. Just around the pumpkin bend. Dig up those garden carrots. Finish those bunching onions. I’m coming first for the tender pink green bean blossoms. Then I’ll frost the last green out of those tomato leaves. Finally I’ll settle in to freeze the hearts of roots far below the earth. Just you wait. I am coming.

We listen with half an ear. I’m not sure my husband even listened at all. He headed out the door without even a jacket even as I reminded him of the temperature. He was still convinced summer lingers, that old man winter didn’t wink. I thought, “He’ll be back to get his coat.” He didn’t return. I thought, “See, Kathy, you are not always right!” and sang a made-up ditty about not always being right. Five minutes later the front door opened. “I need a jacket, Kathy, it’s cold out there!”

He shared a chipmunk tale over coffee this morning. One of our resident seed-loving chippies scampered up to him on the compost bin yesterday afternoon. (We no longer feed said four-leggeds on the porch, due to the seed burglary this summer when one fella chewed through our screen and leaped into the seed bucket. We have recently discovered stashed seeds in the couch cushions and stored bathroom towels.)

Acorns raining from the sky

Back to yesterday’s chippy story. Barry brought a handful of sunflower seeds out on the compost bin and called for Chippy. One of our deviant delights came a’runnin’ with a huge acorn stuffed in his mouth. Barry held out his hand with the seed offering. Chippy stared in dismay. He didn’t want to let go of the acorn. He nudged the seeds with his wee nose trying to decide if he could simultaneously eat acorn and seeds. It proved impossible. His little tail wagged and body shook. I will not set down my acorn, but I want those seeds, his eyes pleaded. “You can’t do it, Chippy,” Barry finally laughed, “get rid of your acorn first.” He sadly eyed the seeds but bounded away into the woods with his acorn-prize.

I harvested green beans, one zucchini, one cucumber, a handful of yellow tomatoes and a gallon bag of orange delectable carrots. Delightfully, enough long purple and green rattlesnake beans existed to give a bag to our friend Nancy this week. Her grandkids think they’re magic beans. Some of ’em are definitively purple, but when you toss the bean-snakes into a pot of boiling water they turn bright green.

Here’s what a rattlesnake bean looks like. Can you see its eye?

Speaking of orange carrots reminds me of the skies over our western United States. I’m sure you’ve seen the fire-hued skies crackling with wildfires and burnt trees and chemicals and smoke. Our daughter lives in Portland, Oregon, and my heart feels heavy imagining this burnt landscape in surrounding counties and forests and valleys. I am concerned about the air quality. It hit 516 in some parts of the county yesterday and brings yet another flavor of “I can’t breathe” to 2020.

I urged her to come home to the Upper Peninsula if necessary, but she’s not at that juncture. She still needs to go to the office once a week. They have two cats. It’s not as simple as jumping on a plane and escaping to the northwoods, Mama, no, life is not that simple.

Nonetheless. The offer stands.

Bark eyes.

I wrote a blog in early August contemplating whether to travel downstate to visit my mom at her assisted living facility during these days of covid. Should I stay or should I go? Life is not always simple, daughter, now is it? Writing is often an act of allowing thoughts to become clearer. We start writing and we simply don’t know. We perhaps don’t know days later. But eventually–through the mud of our confusion–the pond waters clear. We begin to see what feels true, for now.

I called my mom and lay all the puzzle pieces of my indecision on our table. What did SHE want? Not what I wanted or didn’t want. What did my mom want me to do? She very clearly said she wanted me to come downstate when I could be with her inside her assisted living facility. She did not want me just visiting with her outside. She did not want to stay with me at the house. “I don’t want you to come now,” she said, “Please wait until the public can come inside.” I agreed but added a caveat: “You call me the minute you need me to come.” She agreed.

Beach of stones. Stones as far as the eye can see.

Our daily phone calls ring as sweet as summer peaches. We both look forward to our daily gabbing about this, that & the other. Today she’s looking forward to pajama day. She’s planning pajama accessories. I am grinning ear-to-ear while still lingering here on the couch with my pajamas.

Our son and daughter-in-law are house shopping over there in New Jersey. Everyone in NYC is house shopping in New Jersey, trying to escape the city, and many houses are snapped up immediately after coming on the market. I am dreaming that one day they will find the perfect home, that their offer shall be accepted, and we will luxuriate in their beautiful guest bedroom. Yes, someday. Someday soon. Someday soon we are flying toward you, Chris…

Excuse me, it’s time to brew another cup of half-caf coffee with two tablespoons of Nutpod creamer for those of us dairy-less drinkers.

Mmmm, coffee!

Not my coffee cup. But you get the idea.

This blog post is more personal than I usually write these days. There are many more personal paragraphs I could share, but most of them are too personal for generalized reading. I am thinking that so many of us are challenged in certain ways during these imperfect times. We’re all carrying burdens we don’t talk about publicly–except perhaps to a few private close friends.

Another song I have been singing this morning–Hummingbird, dear hummingbird, just fly away, fly away…

In the song, Seals & Crofts urge the hummingbird not to fly away. I love you, hummingbird, the lyrics say. Don’t fly away.

But it’s time for you to fly away now, dear hummingbird. Your brethren have flown south. The males with their bright green and red feathers are gone. The crazy buzzing female frenzy has ceased.

But you remain, single female hummingbird, and I don’t want you to miss the sky train. I don’t want winter’s ice-blue eye to freeze you.

It’s time for you to fly south. We’ll remain in the northern woods waiting for your return. Sometimes it’s time to fly and sometimes we grow roots deep into the earth. Down past the orange carrots. Down, down, down, we grow…but part of us goes with you, hummingbird. Parts of us wings forever in the heavens, way up high. Both the wings and roots help us birth into whatever gifts and challenges come next.

Hummingbird, just fly away. It’s time. Our spirit goes with you.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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39 Responses to Winter winked its lazy ice-blue eye at us this morning.

  1. Susan D. Durham says:

    I love every word of this! What a sweet way to start the week. 🧡

  2. Larissa says:

    So sweet to have a little peek at your life! ❤

  3. Elisa says:

    Ah release of the known, grief of the parting or leaving, what to do, what do I do next. The mind says winter is coming and i cringe and i balk and i miss in the living right now. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for opening the door and coming inside. *grin* I know what you mean about missing the living right now. It’s a bittersweet time as we prepare to go inside the womb again. (But this year have we really gone outside the womb?) Take care, Elisa.

  4. Shirley Khodja says:

    Just up the bay from you, I felt that blink, but didn’t notice the eye. Thank you for perfectly describing what I don’t have words for. And your photos are magical – that eye!

    • Kathy says:

      Hello, Shirley-across-the-bay! I suppose we all noticed that blink and thought perhaps nooooo, summer can’t be ending this quickly. Thank you so much for your kind words about this writing and the photography. Over the blogging years I’ve amassed probably 5,000+ photos, plus the new ones that appear every week. It makes me happy knowing you’re across the way, but be sure & remind me who you are if we run into each other in the grocery store. Remember, I am challenged remembering names/faces.

  5. debyemm says:

    I can’t get my “like” to take but I enjoyed your blog. Still pretty warm here in Missouri but it has been a mild summer with even some high 70 days, already leaves begin turning – a few.

    • Kathy says:

      Hmmm, wonder why you couldn’t “like”. Not that it matters–I am most happy to see your comment today and to think about you and your Missouri neck of the woods. I am thinking perhaps our leaves are turning similarly. We have a few turning red and yellow in our area. Many more if you travel inland away from the lake.

  6. Carol says:

    I am not ready for winter and I don’t know where summer went – although we have not yet felt that blink if winter’s eye. This summer has been so different than those of past years and now that it’s cooled just enough to make working outside pleasurable, smoke keeps me in. I looked at a map this morning, and our smoke is not as heavy here as it is for our daughters along the Columbia Gorge.

    • Kathy says:

      You are very fortunate if winter hasn’t been blinking and winking at you yet. I have a blogger friend in Colorado who already got five inches of the white stuff. Not ready to contemplate that yet. I am just so hoping that smoke will ease up for all of you. Kiah said she could smell it in her apartment yesterday for the first time. We are not happy mamas, are we? 😦

  7. dawnkinster says:

    This was just lovely. We have a lone, female, hummer hanging around the feeder too. Just this morning I told her she needed to move south soon.

  8. Tilly says:

    So your little hummer is still hanging around, I was only thinking the other day that the geese haven’t left yet, that’s how I know that autumn is here, when their cry goes over head. That said we have a few days yet until natures autumn. Your veg crop sounds good, we don’t plant to much now, I had to choose between the trees or growing and I just couldn’t bring myself to cut the trees, (they take all the sun from the garden).
    Hope your son and daughter in law have lots of luck with there house hunting and find their perfect haven of heaven on earth.
    Bright Blessing to you all

    • Kathy says:

      Tilley, you are right—the geese aren’t flying south yet. Around here that happens late September to early October. I smiled reading about your tree/garden challenge because we have that too. In fact our primary crop is one HUGE spruce tree. Alas. We can’t bear to cut it down. Thank you so much for your well wishes for our son. Fingers crossed it works out for the best whatever happens…

  9. Joanne says:

    The title of this post caught my eye. I love the playful combinations of your words, and the way you express yourself with words so eloquently, Kathy. It’s difficult sometimes to hold in personal thoughts when times are strange, and difficult, and the words simply burst forth. I feel how much you are missing your children and your mum, and looking forward to visiting them again. That day will come. xxx

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Joanne. I have such fun writing! It is a blast to play with words like this. Thanks for also getting it how much I am missing the kids and my mom. Have decided that once this virus frenzy has abated a bit–I am going to start taking more trips to visit the kids. Who knows how many years we have left to go see them? It’s going to be a top priority. (Lately it’s been a top priority to visit my mom a lot, but now am adding the kids for at least a yearly visit.)

  10. timalanmi says:

    Just want to say Thank you for your blog and your posts .. its so nice to have these posts to read and something to think about and read about .. other then the sad state of our world right now..

  11. What a nice surprise, I remember your lovely eye in the water picture, Kathy! Back in January 2012 you gave me permission to use it on my blog and I paired it with a Thoreau quote. 🙂 Yes, winter is on its way but I hope it will pause and let autumn hold sway for a little while.

    Wow, Chippy sure was busy stashing seeds in the house while you were gone that day. I guess he was making plans! And I can just picture him trying to solve the acorn/seed predicament. I guess he finally figured that acorns were harder to come by.

    It’s hard being so far away from loved ones when so many scary things are happening. The same thing that is happening with real estate in New Jersey is going on here in Connecticut, too. Property values are skyrocketing. Locals are getting priced out of the game as wealthy New Yorkers are fleeing the city.

    I smiled thinking of your mom planning pajama accessories. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I KNEW you would remember the eye in water picture, Barbara! (You may have been the only one.) I stumbled upon it while searching for images for this post and really enjoyed looking at it and remembering it once again.

      Glad you enjoyed the Chippy story! What a saga…can you believe he stashed those seeds everywhere? We couldn’t. Our mouths dropped open to discover them. We’re wondering where else they may be…

      You are also so right about the real estate market. It appears to be nuts. Too bad they didn’t decide to buy a house last year. But, alas…

      P.S. Hope you got the picture! *smile*

  12. Lori says:

    I love those photos. Did you take that pic of the “eye?” Really cool. You know I love photography.

    I’ve never been a gardener until last summer. My husband grows the veggies and I have the flower garden. My flowers are still in full bloom . . . all of them. I hate to dig them out too soon, they still look so pretty. It got a little cool here, but not into the 30s. 60s during the day, 50s at night. Today it’s supposed to hit 80 though. It’s that time of year when it can go up and down for a couple of weeks. Supposed to be 60s again in a couple of days.

    Is there a filmy haze over your sun from smoke? It was over the sun here yesterday, but today seems a little clearer. I hope both your son & daughter stay safe on each coast.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, I did take that photo of the eye–maybe back in 2012 or so? After blogging for so many years I have about 5,000 or more pictures available, plus new ones. So sometimes when I write a post like this will search “eye” and see what photos come up in the archives.

      How fun that you have been able to learn about gardening in the past couple of years. And that you are learning about growing flowers–I am really quite a dud growing flowers, even though a friend tried to teach about it several years ago. Isn’t it crazy how we never know which of our hobbies will “take”? I like growing veggies because they’re practical and we get food, lol. But admire those who grow such beauties.

      As for the filmy haze over the sun, it’s kinda hard to see here in the woods. But folks with a wider horizon have posted pics of it. My mom saw a sunset on Sunday evening that looked like a big old orange moon in the sky. I think those in lower Michigan have had better views. And, thank you. I am still quite concerned about the air quality out near our daughter. May it clear up sooner than later. Thanks so much, Lori.

  13. Holly says:

    Oh, how I enjoyed your post, Kathy! What a beautiful breath of fresh air you are! Your photo of the eye was pretty spectacular.

    Having lived in northern Minnesota for a number of years, I understand exactly what you described. It was amazing how the weather could be so unpredictable living up there. It was so beautiful though. The views you have in nature are second to none.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your sense of humor with the story of your husband getting cold and needing a jacket. Of course you’re always right, ha ha! 😉 Also praying for the safety of your family during these crazy times. It does make us cherish the moments we spend talking and fellowshipping with those we love though, doesn’t it?

    All my very best to you and yours. I pray each of you stay safe, happy, and blessed. ❤ Thank you for these lovely words and brilliant stories.

    • Kathy says:

      Holly, what a lovely comment! You made me smile ear-to-ear when I read this yesterday. (Although had a migraine, so couldn’t get back to respond until now.) Glad you thought it was humorous about always being right–ha ha! After writing that paragraph almost wanted to delete it, but… *grin*

      Thank you for stopping by and reading these little stories, and for your prayers and well-wishes. I send the same to your family…so many blessings. Are you still in northern Minnesota, or have you moved elsewhere?

  14. atthecorner says:

    i dont know you, but i like your blog and how you write what’s happening around you. I love your photos, they are beautiful because they are real. thank you for sharing your lifes

  15. Stacy says:

    No, Kathy, life is not simple. So one must enjoy the simple things. Is there anything more to it than that? It’s a rhetorical question. XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      Stacy, well, my dear, you’ve stated it perfectly! Life is not simple…so we must appreciate and enjoy the simple things. I so love this… ❤ and hope you haven't been drenched in rain down in your neck of the woods.

      • Stacy says:

        It’s been real fall weather here – which is a treat. High about 80, low about 60, and best of all – low humidity. When you’re finished with Winter’s wink, send him our way! XOXO

        • Kathy says:

          Your fall weather is our summer weather, lol. Guess we’re finished with Winter’s wink for a few days, but I am not sure it’s possible to corral him and send him down south!

  16. I enjoyed your slice of life Kathy, and particularly the story of the cheeky chipmunk!

  17. Oh! I’ve never heard the Seals and Crofts song. I’m listening now. Wow! Thank you!

    I’m growing rattlesnake beans too. It’s my second year of them. I wasn’t sure what to do with them…but “throw them in a pot of water” sounds easy enough for even me to manage without adult supervision. Also? I bought deer tongue lettuce seeds and planted them. Annie’s Heirlooms is where I found ’em. That reminds me….I should go see if they’ve sprouted after all the rain we’ve had. 😀

    • Kathy says:

      Lunar, I never knew anyone else growing those rattlesnake beans. We freeze a lot for winter–blanch them for two minutes and pop ’em in the freezer until winter settles all around. I don’t like frozen as well as fresh, but it’s a way to eat them all up. Giveaway happens all the time, too.

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