Little birds — sparrows, juncos, chickadees — dance at the feeder, filling their bellies. A red-tailed hawk hides in the trees at the back of the pond, waiting patiently as snow and wind whirl and howl. I wonder if he is contemplating the animal tracks in the snow and on the ice, hoping to manifest breakfast. Pema Chödrön said, “Give up all hope of fruition,” because hope robs us of the present moment. The hawk abandons hope and swoops. Breakfast has arrived.
a fall transition
We had our first hint of winter yesterday. It was mitten weather, cold and damp after a week with the remnants of Sandy swirling wind, gray clouds, and rain showers over the area. The lake effect machine (Lake Erie in the north) was turned on, bringing rain at first. Big, fat snowflakes joined in, reminding us that winter weather will soon take over.
blown about by the North Wind
the tang of woodsmoke
drifts in and out
black polka dots overhead
meandering across a drab gray sky
mobs of snowflakes arrive
silently rioting and gathering
in patches and drifts
the blue jay in the woods
in a counter-demonstration
A small stone for a snowy Day 28. Boreas, in Greek mythology, was the purple-winged god of the north wind and winter. I’m far from Greece, but can’t seem to find a North American equivalent.
Bend your knees. Learn forward slightly. Relax the knees. Long, thin, strips of fiberglass designed to spread body weight evenly will slide, glide, and coast across the snow. Relax! Bend your knees! Ready.
I am a goofy foot, launching on my right ski.
First rule learned in first lesson: Relax! Put a little bounce in your body. Slight uphill to start and then a gentle, gentle glide through the meadow, sunlight sparkling on the snow, cold air grazing my face. At the end is the turn and steeper downhill.
I often end up in the brambles at the end of that hill. I forget to relax.
Swoosh! Snow flies. I fall, laughing as I do the turtle, skis and feet high up in the air (how can you not laugh at that position?), and roll over on my side to get back up. There is freedom in that first fall. Joy.
Relaxed, knees bent, a little bounce in my body, I take on the big hill with a joyful wheeeeeee!
Day 22′s small stone. A little wordier than usual. I actually fell twice today, but the first fall was the best because it’s always the first fall that releases the fear.
Fresh snow accumulated overnight, redrawing the lines of the landscape. The birds gather around the feeder, some on the ground scratching for fallen seeds buried in the snow. A red-tailed hawk perches on a high branch in a tree at the edge of the meadow, watching. Waiting. A fine white powder, barely visible, is being squeezed and sifted from the clouds overhead, falling softly, silently, in a straight line from sky to ground. The air is still. The raspy screech of another hawk somewhere off in the distance is carried across the hills and the pond.
I wonder why all the birds don’t fly south to escape the cold and snow, leaving us birdless for a season.
fifteen minutes at zero degrees
even with layers
– fleece gloves, mittens on top –
the cold nips, snaps, bites
invades my fingertips
benumbed, dipping them in warm water
color and feeling return
with excruciating pain
not one good photo to show for it
It’s bitterly cold here today after yesterday’s snowstorm. I went out at sunrise hoping to catch some of the pink and purple sunlight that ushered in the dawn. The cold went right to my fingers. It wasn’t long before my cold-numbed fingers were stumbling around on the camera buttons, a sure sign it’s time to give up and go inside. My fingers are fine, but the warm-up was painful.
perched on a stool in the kitchen
bare feet gripping the rungs
hands embracing the warmth of a cuppa
I watch the snowflakes bob and boogie
to the music on the radio
Sparkles of red, blue, and gold twinkle on the pond. The birds are sunning themselves in the bare trees, trying to catch a little warmth on this frigid morning. Bright, beautiful sunshine and blue skies have replaced the clouds. Feet of ice dip their toes into a stream of blue water. Not everything is frozen.