Tag Archives: winter

Blossom

These little guys popped out overnight.

They took me a little by surprise on this cloudy day.

Just over a week ago they were covered in snow and ice. I was not sure about the fate of the tiny fragile buds. I was unsure if the bright yellow blossoms would survive the harsh cold.

But they made it.

Through the freeze.

Through the harshness.

Through the dark days that seemed  to go on forever.

They made it.

And they are lovely.  And strong.

They seem to have a heightened beauty this year.  Perhaps more beautiful because of what they endured to survive.

A sunny reminder on this cloudy day, that spring follows every winter and hope spring eternal.

Finally Spring?

mini daffodil

Today is the first day of spring.  And I feel like that should be said in a whispered, hushed tone.  Or better yet it should come out of my mouth as a question, asked prayerfully.  Really? Pretty Please? Can it finally be spring?  I feel like if we get too excited about the tentative blooms (who can blame them?!) or the sun that has hesitated to peek out from behind the gloomy clouds this sunny and seasonable day will be snatched away.  Again.  Another tease in this insane winter that will not end.

Everyone has been grumbling about the winter we have had.  Even my husband who complains about nothing finally cracked with a comment that he is “just tired of being cold.” This has been the longest, coldest winter ever.  Or so we thought, but maybe it really it hasn’t been.  We heard just yesterday that it is only the 34th coldest winter on record.  Now, exactly who is recording and precisely what record they are speaking of, I do not know.  But it is interesting nonetheless.  Maybe we are becoming a bunch of wimps.  Could be.  I’ll buy it.  Polar vortex or not, I’m done with it.  I’m beyond tired of being cold and waiting for school cancellations, and making runs for milk and bread to avoid empty grocery store shelves, and washing piles of snow clothes.

D-O-N-E done.  I’m just ready for sunshine.

And I likely just doomed us all by saying that out loud too.  Given the way things have gone through the winter, this lovely sunny day will end with a crack of thunder which will bring us snow in 10 days – an odd “snow lore” discussed all over town and noted apparently in the Farmers Almanac.  But odd or not, it has happened nearly every time we’ve had snow this winter.  We know.  We’ve counted.

We were duped on the first day of spring a couple of years ago this very same way.  I sincerely hope today will not be a repeat.  I’m bravely going to test fate and open a few windows.  I may even cut the few blooms that did not freeze in the ice two days ago, and I’ll sweet talk Mother Nature and shout ask nicely if it can, indeed, finally be spring.

 

 

Do You Want To Make A Snow Cream?

snow cream

I’m finding that silver linings come in all shapes and sizes. And temperatures.                            We’re freezing.  Well, not really.  But almost.

Today is downright nasty.  It started with a wintry mix and turned quickly to rain.  Sideways rain.  Stright down in buckets rain.  Umbrellas and boots and cats and dogs kind of rain.  But, because God is good to me and He knows one more snow day may push me over the edge, it is hovering at a balmy 35 degrees.  Which means, that even though it’s raining every direction imaginable, and even though my floors are marked with muddy paw prints, and even though it’s so cold I have my heavy coat on inside the house, I am thrilled.  Why?  It‘s not snowing.

35 degrees is my silver lining today. Who knew one would be so happy to have a rainy, cold day.

Even the kids are over the snow.  But it was, admittedly, a fun and snowy winter.  Fun because it doesn’t happen every year.  And even more fun because it is nearly over. (Right?!)  We were talking about winter this morning as we listened to the gloomy forecast on the radio.  The girls, looking back on the past couple months, said they enjoyed the day they made snow creams the most.  Which turned immediately into a carpool version of the Frozen song – “do you want to make a snow cream?  Just a little bitty snow cream?”  You get the idea.

Ever had a snow cream?  Me neither.  I’d never even heard of them until a few weeks ago.  I grew up in California where we did not have snow days.  We went out for snow cones or made them with the neighbor’s Snoopy Snow Cone Machine.  The idea of making a snow cream would have dazed and confused us.

Thankfully my kids have friends with parents who had memorable childhoods growing up in the snow.  They had barrels of fun with all kinds of clever shenanigans to entertain them through long winter months.  The kids heard about the snow creams and wanted to give them a try.  I was hesitant and skeptical. But the power was out, school had been out for days, and I had no reason whatsoever to say no.  Besides, I was curious myself. And I who am I to argue with making ice cream out of snow?

If you are still snowed in and getting another winter wallop, I am sorry.  Take heart in the fact that it is March and soon you too will be 35 degrees and rainy and freezing.  And that will make you happy too.  If you haven’t made a snow cream yet this winter (or in your whole entire life) then grab the chance while you still have snow and make one.  You won’t be sorry.  It will take you 3 minutes and you likely have everything you need to make it in your kitchen right now.

Besides, before you know it, it will be August and we’ll be sweltering with our snow cones.

And that will be a whole new story.

How to make a snow cream

Sometimes Joy Comes In A Vase

daffodils in the snow

 “No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” – Hal Borland

We’ve finally started to warm up around here.  If last year was the winter that wasn’t, this year is the winter that won’t end.  Mother Nature and her pal, Polar Vortex, have tested our sanity these past few months to say the least.

Look what were poking their little heads out of the last few mounds of snow the other day.  Yep, the daffodils.  It makes me so happy to see them each year.  I know they are down there and yet it takes me by sweet surprise when I see them bravely emerge from the ground.  They always seem to pop up just when I begin to think winter will never end, when I need a little sign of spring, of color, and new life.  The blossoms, though not even open when I took this picture, are such a welcome nudge to the bright side of life, aren’t they?  To think that they lay quiet all winter and survive the freezing temperatures and endure blankets of snow only to blossom and blossom is a small miracle.  Such a simple sign of hope and joy.

daffodils

This morning we had several blooms.  They look so pretty in the yard.  So bright and happy and simple.

daffodils in a vase

Tomorrow morning they will look like this, because guess what is back in the forecast?  Yep.  A chance of snow.  Not much, thank heavens, but enough to be irritating.  And to freeze the very blossoms I am excited to see.  So these little babies will come inside this evening.  They will sit on the kitchen counter and remind me that one of these days spring will be here and “wintry mix” will no longer be in the forecast.  I will smile when I see them, knowing some things are worth waiting for.

I guess sometimes joy comes in a vase.

 

Freezing Thyme & Freezing Time

Freezing Thyme

I took this photo the other day when we had a blast of cold winter weather.

It’s freezing thyme. Literally.

The thyme growing on my back deck was frozen. Outside, everything was frozen. The cold asphalt roads became thin sheets of ice. Grasses lining neighborhood streets were blanketed in white. Even desperate leaves on trees, clinging to brittle branches, bore coats of ice. Small icicles clung to the edges of play sets and roof lines.  Streets were silent and there was an eerie absence of sound, as if all signs of life were nowhere to be found.

But inside our house it was a different story altogether. The kids were all home, relishing the early release from school and the excitement of a break in routine. We all feigned disappointment as activities and sporting events that rule our calendar were cancelled, one after the other. My mom came over to be with us too, bringing added joy that only grandmothers can. There was laughter and life, voices and song, all awash in the soft yellow glow of the warm fire. Card games were played, board games entertained, and Wii sporting tournaments began as playful challenges were made. I delivered cocoa and billowing bowls of popcorn to willing captives. Everyone was happy. It was a perfect afternoon.

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And for a moment I stood still, slightly out of sight. I stopped to just watch them all. I crave these days when the worlds stops and we just get to be. Be with each other in the confines of our happy walls, the cold gray world seemingly so far away. I wanted to remember this moment – the kids, my mom, the happy spirit that surrounded all of us. I wanted yet again to do the impossible.  I ached to freeze time. To keep things as they were just then. Everything in a quiet, unspoken harmony.

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But ice melts and snow days pass. Garden thyme defrosts. And I am reminded once again that time cannot be frozen. Even on the coldest days when my heart is warmest.

 

The Winter That Wasn’t

This picture was taken in the middle of January. Yes, January.  It is tangible evidence that something has been missing the last few months.  We have been waiting and waiting for something that simply has not come.

Winter…an entire SEASON…has passed us by.

We waited patiently to wear cute sweaters.  We hoped for opportunities to wrap up in colorful scarves and warm hats. Heavy coats were rarely removed from closets. Hot cocoa and marshmallows were bypassed, leaving large mugs devoid of the winter treat. The fireplace stood cold, dark and neglected. There were no chances for the kids to sleep with spoons under pillows and pajamas inside out in joyful, excited anticipation of a snow day. Sleds and snowboots remained dust-covered in basements. Winter just never came.

All of this left me feeling…well…duped and somehow vaguely confused.  How is it possible that spring is dawning when winter never came?  It’s a blit like starting a new book when the last chapter of another has not been read.  It’s oddly disorienting.

Just as I was about to give up on winter EVER making an appearance, we had a little cold snap last week.  And by little, I mean little. Very little.

BUT…it was cold enough to be…hmmm…shall we say…unpleasant?

We had to find coats that, in all honesty, are much too heavy for March. The girls went frantically digging through laundry baskets to find long knee socks so their legs wouldn’t freeze under uniform skirts. Parents on the sidelines of newly begun spring sport practices grumbled and shivered. Even the dog refused to go outside. The daffodils wilted and drooped, conceding to the chill. It made everyone want to stay inside where it was warm.  It was unpleasant.  It was cold.

It was…winter.

All of this served to remind me that winter might be a wee bit over-rated.  In my romanticized notions I had forgotten that winter could be cold, inconvenient, and down right unpleasant some days.  It was not all cocoa, snow days and warm hearth fires.

One of my favorite writers, Anne Bradstreet, wrote:

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

And I think she is spot on.  However, maybe every once in a while, by the Grace of God, we are given a pass.  A winter without bitter cold and unpleasant inconveniences is a gift.  A season in our lives without hardship is a blessing not to go unnoticed.

All it took for me was a quick chill when I had grown accustomed to easy mild days to remind me of how lucky we have been!  Delicate January cherry blossoms sure beat barren trees.  Bright, cheery daffodils lining our walkway have way more curb-appeal than dirty, melted snow.  Carolina blue skies are much more promising than heavy gray clouds.

There is unspoken promise in all that comes with the pleasantness of spring.  And is a true gift when it is granted to us without having to endure the difficulties of a harsh winter.  Perhaps it is then that we are called to appreciate it even more.