Saturday, January 31, 2015

Another Snowy Day

What a winter wonderland ! That is how I am choosing to see it. What a lot of snow no matter how you look at it. I just came in from a snowshoe trek. It wasn't a really long one and I didn't even venture up into the woods, as being home alone I thought if I didn't make it back out no one would even know to go looking for me. I walked instead out my back door , through the anniversary garden over a drift at least four feet high and down to the basement door in hopes of convincing Biscuit to come out with me. He would have no part of it. From there(alone) I trudged past the swing set, the swings almost touching the snow , across the driveway and over the field to the far end of the garden. As I stepped in tracks that were so deep you could hardly lift your snowshoe out I thought of the hot past July days when I had stood in the same spot and pulled weeds or picked beans. I followed the fence along to the rest of that lower garden where squash had grown and we had pulled carrots. I visited the pigs in their cosy shelter and tramped down yard. I made my way up to the route and headed back to the house. I had not gone far but I had had quite an outing on a stormy day when I could not go anywhere even if I wanted to. For now I do not care that I cannot go anywhere. I have a warm and comfortable house. I have the hope of seeing the ground , the grass and everything else that now lies buried under this deep white blanket . Tomorrow, February will begin bringing us closer to many of the things we are looking forward to this spring. I have chosen the cover for The Memory Chair , previewed the interior and await the moment I hold the book in my hand. I look forward to Meg and Cody's wedding. I am anxiously awaiting my May tour days in Ontario. I also look ahead to the days when I will stand where today I made deep snowshoe tracks and again drop seeds into the rich soil when this winter offering eventually melts and the seasons change.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Look Ahead and Behind

A month ago yesterday it was Christmas day, three months ago Leonard came to stay with us, in three months it will be Meg and Cody's wedding. How quickly the months go by. I trudged through the snow up the wood road yesterday. Tomorrow, I expect the snow will get much deeper as they forecast a storm coming that may be the biggest one in the last ten years. We are always looking ahead and looking behind. Sometimes I think we spend so much time doing that that we forget to look at right now. Today amid my thoughts of what was and what will be I will look closely at this day. Burton is outside attending to Caleb's three calves and two pigs. He has his tractor running and while he waits for some repairs from last week's breakdowns he will make do . I will get to be in my office all day after writing this entry, making the bed and putting a load of laundry in. We have leftovers from last night's turkey dinner. It is January 26, 2015 and this day as we have been given it, will not return. It is exactly what it is and we are present in it just this one time. Of course it is shaped by the worries and concerns from days before and expectations and concerns of the days to come. Joys and experiences of the past have landed us here and we anticipate things we hope for in the future. Each present day is bookended by what is ahead and what was behind. Should we wonder why the time goes so fast when we just have to consider how we rush our days along to get to the things we see ahead. I love the cycle of one day. As I walk down to get my granddog in the morning I take my time and welcome the day. I try to squeeze all my chores into the first couple of hours so I get to my office by 10:00. I bring my lunch to my office and keep working watching the hours go by mindful of the gift these hours are. At 3:00 I walk, letting what I've written settle and letting ideas simmer and bubble to the top. When I get back I sometimes return to my desk jotting down the ideas that have come to me or re-reading and refining the jumbled work of the day.Then I prepare our supper meal as the sun sets and the darkness brings another flavour to the day. Contentment, comfort and rest. By the end of the day I look forward to getting into bed , reading and letting the day go, anxious to be given another one just like it if I'm lucky. So the days come with their own identity and with familiarity. Some might say boring. Not me. The gift of an ordinary day ,each day stuck between the behind and the ahead. That's how a life is lived. I stop to look at today and be thankful.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Stuff of Dreams

January is often a month for re-evaluating. Resolutions often speak loudly to the desire to change,to improve and to take charge. One of the changes that sometimes pops up after the acquisition of things brought on by the gift giving season involves de-cluttering . Yesterday, before I went for my woods road walk I heard a discussion on CBC's Tapestry about 'stuff'. It got me to thinking and of course that thinking continued as I walked. Burton constantly jokes (he thinks it's very funny) about how much he will get for certain objects in our home when I'm gone and he has the yard sale. The woman presenting her theories about our obsession with possessions commented that acquiring stuff has it's stages. We start out with very little and concentrate on accumulating things. Then at a point in our lives we start to de-value our things and begin to get rid of stuff. I watched my parents do that a few years ago. In the process of getting rid of their home they let possessions go until they packed the most important things and moved into a much smaller space. From their life of accumulated possessions I took very little. Perhaps one of the most treasured of the handful of things I took was Mom's clothespin basket. I do look around at my stuff and despite my husband's comments I realize there are things I could let go. Some of my possessions mean more to me than others and the monetary value attached has very little to do with it. Thoughts about the stuff we surround ourselves with led me to thinking about the stuff of dreams. I have a little bag hanging on the doorknob of my office. The small panel on the bag has a star and the word DREAM stitched on the fabric. A dear friend gave me this bag. It is a possession I value because of what it says to me every time I look at it. I live my dream every time I enter this room and sit down to write. The stuff of dreams and the following of those dreams fills our lives with more meaning than any amount of possessions will ever be able to give us.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

On a Cold Winter's Day

We just finished a very cold week. It is January after all but the bitter cold made my wood road walks challenging. Yesterday, however after Friday's snowfall and rising temperatures my walk was wonderful. I don't mind winter at all really. I love the contrast, the rest from garden and lawn chores and the enjoyable heat created by our wood burning cookstove and furnace. It is labour intensive and as Burton pointed out yesterday I have been very pampered since he retired last year. He definitely keeps the home fires burning. Today, I will spend my time in my sunny office enjoying another day of writing. Burton has gone to a cribbage tournament so I will have to attend to the fires. I will take another opportunity to walk the snowcovered trails that he broke out with the tractor yesterday morning, so that I can make my way all the way to the top of the hill.I will prepare a Sunday night meal for family. I will take this winter's day and enjoy it for what it has to offer.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Accepting the Gift Horse

On my walk two days ago amid the jumble of thoughts in my brain I somehow landed on the saying 'Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.' I thought about what that saying means , where it originated and what it was saying to me at that moment. As I worked through all of that I thought about the frequency sayings like that pop up in our everyday conversation. As a writer I sometimes struggle with a tendency to overuse clich├ęs or figures of speech when they creep into my writing. I understand the folly of overuse but at the same time believe that there is wisdom in so many of those sayings. I think it behooves us(now there's a word that deserves to be used more)to see figures of speech and common sayings for the important grains of truth they hold. These saying came from experiences and observations of life that can still assist us as we live through our present day challenges. If someone gives you a horse for free you shouldn't look in it's mouth and criticize the gift if some teeth are missing or the teeth show you it's an old hag with not much good left in it. So what bit of wisdom did I take from that as I walked along my beloved therapy trail? To me the gift horse is where I find myself at the present moment. I might have asked for a different horse , a younger horse with stronger traits and a more impressive bloodline. But the horse I've been given is a gift and I could be without a horse of any kind. Even as I write this I realize there might be those who wonder what the heck I'm talking about but at the time the message was very clear to me. Where I am right now in my life would not be where I would choose if I was asking for a perfect life and expecting that the perfect life I ask for is what I deserve. The life I have is full of sorrow and worry and concern and heartbreak but also so full of joy and hope and potential. The gift horse is not always what it appears at first inspection. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth , accept the gift horse and ride that horse to the best of your ability.