I finally couldn’t stand it any longer. With temperatures above 50℉ the past two days, it was time to get into the garden. I needed some of the wire cages to protect the tulips poking up through mud, before the does destroyed them. The cages were stored in the back shed, so I had to brave a snow field to get to them.
The first few steps were easy: snow crusty enough to hold my weight. Then I punched through. Little Wren danced around on top of the crust the whole time. So did Topaz. It was a long way to the shed and it was rough on my knees and my back. I found a shorter way out, after dropping the cages over the back fence where I could get to them easily from outside. Then I crawled over the crust for twenty feet til I got up next to the raised beds, where reflected heat had melted a narrow path. It was fun, crawling over the snow, and doubled as icing on my knees.
I’m grateful for where I live, and for neighbors who share certain values that reflect an understanding of our interdependence. We don’t agree on everything, and some of us barely agree on anything, but we do share a love of the land on which we live, and a willingness to help each other out when what we can offer is needed. Big thanks to neighbor Joe for all the plowing he’s done this winter, and for pulling my car out of the snowbank with his tractor this afternoon.
It’s possible that there is someone in the neighborhood who didn’t look outside this evening and marvel at the truly astonishing colors that permeated everything from sky to snow to winter junipers. But it’s not likely. One of the values we share is a reverence for the beauty of the place we live.
I’m grateful today for sunshine! The past two days have been gloriously springlike. Now that I’ve stopped the ice melting into the mudroom, it was time for me to get stuck in the driveway. We didn’t even have much snow, just ferocious wind for a whole day, and forty acres of snow blew over the banks and across my driveway.
I should have backed up the second I saw drifts, but it didn’t look too bad so I tried to punch through. A short way up I realized I’d never make it to the top, so I backed carefully down. But not carefully enough. Once the drifts gave out I was moving too fast and slid into a plowed bank. I left it and walked home for lunch. I’m grateful that it only took a text to a neighbor to get the drifts plowed–I figured once the drive was passable I could dig myself out and forge ahead.
He wasn’t able to plow til evening, and I was happy to wait til this morning to dig out. I was grateful to have the right tools for the job again. But sometimes even the right tools aren’t enough. An hour’s work with shovels, cardboard, and kitty litter, and I was a few inches deeper into the snowbank. I’m grateful for neighbors with tractors, trucks, and chains, and know someone will pull the car out eventually. Maybe tomorrow! I’m grateful for patience and good cheer.
I’m grateful for YouTube where I found a great hack for scanning old slides, which I took some time to do today. I simply held each slide up to the bright white screen of my laptop and took a picture with my phone. Not perfect, but not bad, considering they’re sixty years old or so. I’m grateful for the memories conjured by these old slides, and feelings of tenderness for my family.
Above, the little children are in Italy, I’m pretty sure, and below I think we’re in Holland, because that was my mother’s note on the envelope: slides – Holland, etc.
Full circle back to snow, here I am with mommy and likely my first snow. Who’d ever have imagined this little tyke would grow up to rely on snow so directly, deal with it so intimately, and be so sanguine about leaving her car stuck in it for days. I’m grateful for the practice that allows me to hold with equanimity and love all the feelings I’m having today.
I’m also having some feelings about Covid, which are clarified by this excerpt from Eric Topol’s newsletter today:
“First, we sit at a very high baseline of daily Covid hospitalizations and deaths in the United States, over 25,000 and about 400, respectively. This is far beyond (double) where we were in June 2021, pre-Delta, when we got down to close to 10,000 hospitalizations and ~200 deaths per day. There’s still circulating virus (currently XBB.1.5) getting people infected and some of the folks of advanced age and immunocompromised are the ones chiefly winding up with severe Covid. The virus is finding the vulnerable people more easily since their guard is let down, abandoning high-quality masks and other mitigations, and the low rate of keeping up with boosters in the last 6 months (the age 65+ rate is 40%). There are about 15% of Americans (more than what many people think or have been led to believe), based on all the serologic data available, who never had Covid and are relying on their vaccines/boosters to avoid their first infection. Reinfections among the 85% with prior Covid are not uncommon and not necessarily benign. No less, the pervasive attitude is the pandemic is over, life goes on. That’s helping the virus find new or repeat hosts.”
Two more views of the virgin snow the other day, followed by the plowed driveway today. So grateful for friendly bartering for services and goods in the neighborhood.
Grateful for warmth, color, and comfort inside, as I’m grateful for winter water outside. Grateful as always for a roof over our heads. And grateful for a sweet summery puzzle to do on these dark days, a rainbow of color and texture. Grateful to be alive, and have meaningful work teaching, and have a quiet weekend.
I’ll be teaching the Introduction to Mindfulness course live on zoom starting March 2, from 2-3 pm Mountain Time, only $50 per person for the four-week class. Get it while this price lasts, as I realize I can’t sustain it and will have to raise it some. Check it out and register here.
It’s been a crazy couple of days of winter here, as it has in much of the country. I’m grateful when I wake on a morning like yesterday or today just to have a roof over my head, and a woodstove I can load with fuel to warm the house. And grateful for the luxuries of coffee, cinnamon rolls, and indoor plants. Snow blew so hard yesterday it stuck to windows it still hasn’t melted from.
The driveway drifted in dramatic waves so deep that I couldn’t make it past the trees in my boots, as it was still blowing and I hadn’t worn a scarf, and Wren was too short to get through the drifts once we passed the first few. I’m grateful as always for kind neighbors, and the feeling of connection that comes from knowing they’re just beyond the sea of snow if I need them.
It was too hard to not add another image in the missing mountains series. We got another eight inches of snow overnight and it kept falling off and on all day. This was the view this morning. All day long there were big and little puffs of scattering crystals as loaded tree boughs dropped their snow. There was a hint of sunshine just as it set but I never did see the far side of the canyon today. I’m grateful for community: knowing there are friends across the field, up the driveway, through the woods, and down the road, being able to text or talk with them, offer comfort or conversation, receive assistance. Even in this silent isolation we are all connected. Let us pray, though, for sunshine tomorrow!
I’m grateful tonight for a brief burst of sunshine this morning, and for some more much needed precipitation this evening, but mostly for a glimpse of a sunny blue sky this morning, it did wonders for the spirits in this house. I’m grateful for breakfast with Topaz, who’s become more interactive in recent weeks, even jumping up on the recliner for awhile this evening. She’s really enjoying her new comb, and I’m enjoying less hair around the house. I’m grateful for coffee in the sunroom with her, Wren in my lap, Dickens on the Kindle, art on the walls, bonsais on the table, and sun outside. I’m grateful for heat in the woodstove, wood in the shed, friends in the neighborhood, friends across the country, friends in other countries, internet in the ethers, power from the solar panels, water in the pipes… I’m grateful for more than enough.
I’m grateful for warmth and safety as the atmospheric river makes its way over western Colorado. Grateful for the moisture that fell as rain since yesterday evening, for the fog that nourished all the growing things, and for the snow that finally started falling this evening. We’ve gotten around four inches so far and it’s pouring down, a gentler storm here so far than the terrible blizzard that’s been wreaking such havoc and tragedy in the east. I’m grateful to have sufficient food supplies for me and the pets to ride out a long spell, and plenty of wood stacked close to the house, and the mental and emotional wherewithal to not only survive but to thrive in a solo retreat over the new year’s weekend.
I’m grateful for this box of beautiful citrus that arrived today from a dear friend in Florida. Four grapefruits, three satsumas, and two Meyers lemons. And I’m grateful for the other box too, with even more. A few of those satsumas were smashed and leaking, but they had a long cold trip.
I’m grateful for these generous gifts and the causes and conditions that got them here. As I think about all the steps involved in their journey from seed to tree to fruit, from High Springs to here, how they made it through or before the ‘once-in-a-generation’ winter storm, I’m considering that roughly 60% of the US population is experiencing extreme cold tonight, including blizzards, and lethal windchill temperatures. I’m grateful I’m safe and warm. I’m sadly aware of those many humans and other people who are not. Wild animals of all kinds, those in captivity, neglected pets, stray dogs, feral cats, and many more are also at risk from this massive storm. It’s tough to think about. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg of suffering across this fragile planet. I’m grateful for people of all species everywhere who make time to be kind, to support and care for each other.