Napatree

In my mind I am often on Napatree. You're welcome to come along.

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January 31, 2014

“Ra” and “ole” are regular filler words in crossword puzzles. Short, and in the case of ole, containing two vowels. The crossword clue for ole usually has something to do with toreadors or Tijuana, for rah, the clue has to do with the support of fans.

Last night I attended a basketball game. Carleton against St. Catherine in the West Gym. Carleton won. The gym was almost empty except for a row of male students who were probably friends of the seven Carleton girls suited up to play, a handful of diehard basketball fans, a roommate or two, a couple of faculty members, maybe some relatives of the players. That, was about it. But the gym was a warm place on a cold night and the girls, on both teams, played because they wanted to win and because they loved playing. They also played with spirit and enthusiasm because, unlike their grandmothers and maybe their mothers, they could.

Rah, rah Carleton and St. Catherine basketball players!

6:27 am cst | link 

January 30, 2014

Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver, is this month’s selection for my book group. The story is about the appearance of monarch butterflies, thousands of them, to a woman in Appalachia. The story, brilliantly written, is really, however, about climate change and our relationship to the environment.

A few years ago I was on a team that banded butterflies on Cape May, New Jersey. That event was about my being involved in a science project and learning more about monarchs and their behaviors. But the real significance of that banding event, for me, was noticing the incredible gentleness of human hands as they affixed tiny stickers, containing a code, to the wings of the fragile monarchs. It was about noticing that others, like me, held their breaths when dealing with the delicate and gorgeous creatures, exhaling only when we released them to fly up, and out of our hands.

8:16 am cst | link 

January 29, 2014

Moments ago I finished listening to a musical tribute on MPR, "The Current," honoring Pete Seeger. Pete Seeger had always felt like a friend to me. He almost was. Once, in Connecticut, I had supper with him and his grandson in a Middleton, Connecticut, church basement. The respect and love the two, grandfather and grandson, had for one another was obvious. The supper was memorable; they were a pleasure to be around.

Musicologist, singer, songwriter, protester, banjo player and activist for peace and human and environmental rights, Pete Seeger spent his life entertaining us, and getting us to sing with him the words that raised awareness of injustice. The weapons he used for battle were his banjo and his singing voice. And our singing voices. He once said this, “There is no such thing as a wrong note as long as you’re singing it."

Labor rights, the war in Viet Nam, civil rights, peace, the cleaning up of a river. He sang his way through history and his songs inspired, and probably will continue to inspire, those who recognize injustice and wish to confront it. His words will continue to inspire me. Thank you, Pete Seeger.

6:50 am cst | link 

January 28, 2014

Lately, I’ve been thinking about hats. Warm hats. And the fact that everyone, because of the here and now, is wearing one. Ski hats, fur-lined aviator or helmet hats, knit hats, cloche hats, berets and tams, of late pulled down over the ears, or Russian fur hats which I think are called ushankas. Yesterday in the supermarket I saw a couple wearing hats with an added extension of fabric sewn on the back. The fabric hung down and covered their necks making the hats look like a winter version of hats worn in the desert to protect the wearer’s neck from the sun.

I once read a book by Allison Lurie called the Language of Clothes. Clothes, she wrote, tell a great deal about us. Her research included hats. Last night Lord Crawley wore a top hat to the funeral of one of his tenant farmers. Friends of the deceased, other tenant farmers attending the service, wore flat hats. Even in the churchyard class distinction was evident.

Hats can be beautiful, flattering, and tell a story about us. I also love hat words: fez, fedora, beanie, pill box, cowboy, turban, Stetson, pork pie, straw, derby, sombrero, Windsor, beaver, skimmer, bowler, stocking…but at some time you have to take those hats, with the beautiful names, off. Then what?

6:32 am cst | link 

January 27, 2914

How did Caroline Ingalls do it? How did she survive those winters cooped up in the house, days at a stretch, with Laura, Mary, Carrie and new baby Grace while worrying about Pa Ingalls tethered to a rope when he trekked to the barn with hay for the animals? How did she manage to come up with meal after meal using potatoes as the entrée?  How did that woman hang on?

I know I shouldn’t complain. I have no animals waiting hungry in the barn, no babies underfoot.  And the larder is full. But it is still below zero, the driving and walking miserable. More snow is predicted and it is rumored that school will again be closing because of the cold.

My writer friend, Betsy, once gave me a notebook with these words on the cover, “Keep Hope Alive.” On the inside cover are these even more important words, “If you lose hope you can always find it again." A friend just emailed she’s heard a hopeful rumor making the rounds:  “April might be warmer.”

9:07 am cst | link 

January 26, 2014

Mrs. Fleming gave me the blue and white tea pot that this minute sits, keeping hot under a tea cozy given me by a friend, on my kitchen counter. I just poured myself another cup of tea. I am a tea drinker. I love tea. In this era of designer coffees and chai teas, of Arnie Palmers, and bubble teas, I am slightly out of step. I enjoy most a well-brewed garden variety hot tea. Mrs. Fleming taught me how to prepare tea the Nova Scotia way. She taught me how to do it right.

“You must always, always, pour boiling water into the tea pot first to prepare it,” she explained. “You rinse the pot with a bit of boiling water then pour it out.. The tea, preferably loose and captured into a tea ball, should be of good quality. And you must allow it to steep for several minutes.

"I use tea bags to make tea. The tea ball, also given to me by Mrs. Fleming, forever roams around in the catch-all drawer. Mrs. Fleming came into my life with her tea instructions after my mother died. I desperately needed those instructions. Almost as much as I needed her.

7:21 am cst | link 

January 25, 2014

In yesterday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune there was a piece on the Opinion Page about paintings which hang in the Governor’s public reception room. The article, written by Jim Bear Jacobs, Tom Duke and Bob Klanderud, applauds Governor Dayton’s questioning of how, exactly, Minnesota history should be portrayed.

In the paintings mentioned there are depictions of what appear to be fair and formal agreements between Native people and white leaders. History tells us these depictions are often far from the truth. In one of the paintings Father Hennepin is shown ‘discovering’ the Falls of St. Anthony. He is shown with Native Americans at his side. Governor Dayton has raised a question about truth telling. He is asking if these paintings, which supposedly illustrate historic events, accurately portray the values that we hold today. Because of my heritage, I am pleased the governor has entertained this question. I am thankful for his thoughtful eye.

Recently I saw the movie, "The Butler," and some time ago the movie, "The Help." I have yet to see "12 Years a Slave." Our Minnesota history, and that of the United States, is not always glorious and commendable. We must keep working at setting it straight.

9:27 am cst | link 

January 24, 2014

The Daube de Boef a la Provencale? Delicious. I’m sure it was the mirepoix. It turned out so well I’m contemplating moving on to page 246 and La Mouclade.

It is not a Napatree day. The temperature on my dash this morning read minus 16. For a little while, anyway, I’ve decided to abandon this ever-present cold. I’m going to take a summer walk on Napatree.

I’m going to park my car in the small area between the yacht club and the tiny shops selling jewelry, pretty clothes and candy. For a while, I will walk along the causeway. When I get to the top of the hill, carrying my shoes now because barefoot is the best way to walk in deep sand, I will veer to my left and to the ocean. On seeing it I will stop for a moment, as I always do, to acknowledge its power and mystery. I will stop to be overcome.

Today I will see gulls strutting on the beach, sandpipers flitting at the edge of the water. I will look up to see an osprey sitting in its aerie. I will happen on sea shells, jelly fish and an occasional crab. I will love being here. And I will be warm.

5:50 am cst | link 

January 23, 2014

Today I made a casserole of beef, Daube de Boeuf a la Provencale, which called for mirepoix. I had heard of a mirepoix, chopped onions, carrots and celery, but I didn’t know how to make it. My knowledge of mirepoix came from watching, on occasion, a TV cooking show.

Today I learned this. Mirepoix, a French term, is 50% chopped onions, 25% chopped carrots and 25 % chopped celery. After a fine chop the three vegetables are browned in butter until they are soft. After they have browned and cooked, tomato paste is often added. This, I learned, is the definition of a French mirepoix. An Italian mirepoix would use olive oil instead of butter. Other cultural cuisines might substitute one or more of the ingredients; an Indian version of a mirepoix might include curry.

I do not call myself a cook. And truthfully, I don’t always enjoy cooking. You could ask why, then, my wandering today through a French cook book. I would answer you this. The cook book was a Christmas gift from friends who lived, for a couple of years, in Paris. We are also expecting a visit from a French guest. I am feeling pressure to attempt some Julia Child cooking.

7:41 am cst | link 

January 22, 2014

This is how it is. I’ve achieved the rank of "Personal Shopper” in the QuizUp category, Clothes, and the rank of “Antonym Addict” in the QuizUp category, Thesaurus. In the categories of General Knowledge, Painting and Fashion, where I don’t often play, I am still a beginner. Am I particularly proud of these feats? No. Though maybe Miss McGown, my eighth grade English teacher, might be pleased with my word prowess.

I don’t quite understand how I can, almost instantly, face off with Den Ji in Thailand or Miss Mitzi in Texas on my smart phone. And at any hour. I am waiting in the dentist’s office, and there they are ready to compete. It is a puzzle. As for assessing the prowess of my opponent by their name or location, what could Bubba Boy in Alabama possibly know about word definitions or Kitty Kat in Congo possibly know about earth shoes? The answer is a lot. I am always surprised.

Puzzles and games have always held my interest. That little phone goes with me everywhere and tucks so easily into my purse. Besides, playing is fun. I’m not quite ready, yet, to entertain the word 'addiction.'

6:58 am cst | link 

January 21, 2014

More snow today, just a dusting, but the temperature is falling fast. My face stung when I walked the dog. But an email from my artist friend in Arizona raised my spirits. She sent a link to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix where the work of glass artist Dale Chichuly is currently on exhibit.

I have never been to Phoenix though I’m familiar with other areas of the southwest. And I am familiar with the glass art of Dale Chicuhly. Via the computer I was able to visit the garden of desert flora and see the glass pieces installed among the plants. Many of the installations themselves are botanical in character; I particularly enjoyed a glass Globe Thistle and an orange red piece, nestled in a scrubby tree, which looked like it had washed on to the landscape from a distant sea. The red yellow plant, commonly referred to as Red Hot Poker, was stunning as were the eerie white pieces that reminded me of deep-in-the-wood vegetation called Indian Pipes. 

I also enjoyed seeing the living yucca and cacti and succulent plants whose names I don’t know. Today I needed a moment in a warm and beautiful place. Usually we can find a way to get where we need to go.

8:45 pm cst | link 

January 20, 2014

It must have been today’s snowy landscape, pale horizon clouds meeting and merging with the everywhere white flatness, making the buildings I saw on my drive stand out. The here and there homes, farm buildings and storage lockers. Today, more than any other, I noticed numbers of storage lockers on my trip into St. Paul. I am clueless about storage lockers.

My friend has a storage locker: she refers to it as her 'residence south.' I think she adds things to it on occasion, I don’t know how much she takes out. I don’t remember as many storage lockers where I came from, maybe people had less stuff or bigger garages. I am unsure about this.

Once, when I was flipping through the channels, I found a TV show where people purchased abandoned storage lockers sight unseen. That TV show, and storage lockers in general, could be all about hope. Hope that the stuff being stored will grow more valuable, that someday you will have a bigger home to put it all in, that your grown children will really want old bikes and an outdated baby carriage. Or, storage lockers could be about greed. I'm going to stick with hope.

2:49 pm cst | link 

January 19, 2014

Not long ago there was a newspaper article about a local woman who was keeping a list of every book she reads. I don’t remember when, exactly, she began recording the book titles but I know it was decades ago. She is a reader. Her book list is in the thousands.

Currently there is an exhibit at the Weitz Center for Creativity called “Lifeloggers-Chronicling the Everyday.” Twelve artists in the show record ordinary life events and turn their records into art. For example, the show includes illustrations of clothes taken on a trip and a sculptural piece showing where, on the body, a physical sensation was felt. I enjoyed this work and am guilty of keeping artistic records myself. One September I made a daily sketch of my garden. I included a garden temperature reading in my phenology. I have also looked out the same window ten days in a row and wrote down what I observed. As for journals, I have made several illustrated journals. But I have never recorded book titles. I regularly pick up books that look interesting. As I get into the story I often realize that the book also looked interesting to me at an earlier time. I should think about making a list.

 

9:53 am cst | link 

January 18, 2014

My friend is taking a class on happiness given by the Rice County Mental Health Collaboration. So far she is finding the class enjoyable. Because I expressed interest in how one can work towards being happier, today she dropped off a test, used in the class, so I can evaluate my happiness level. She also promised to fill me in on what she learns as the class progresses.

The things that make me happy are those, I think, that make most people happy: pleasure in one’s work, feeling physically good, success and well-being in the lives of those you love. And making another person happy. And chocolate. And laughing with a friend. And music. Someone, maybe my mother, said happiness is fleeting. This class, according to my friend, is directed towards making happiness less fleeting and more a permanent part of every day. That the class is well subscribed seems no surprise; its title is…Happy Hour.

1:53 pm cst | link 

January 17, 2014

It’s only mid-January but the snow and cold have a forever feel. The winter seems long. Talk swirls around us about global warming as various parts of the country experience weather that is dramatic and less usual. Here, in Minnesota, one can ask, as temperatures dip, “this cold is global warming?” Scientists tell us, and I believe them, that it is. Erratic weather patterns, along with warmer air and water, define climate change.

Sometimes I feel we are making progress, at least showing more concern, towards forestalling climate change. Sometimes not. My 'sometimes not' coming from the fact that rarely do I see kids playing outside in our abundance of whiteness: building snow forts, sledding on neighborhood hills, skiing or snowshoeing or just making snow angels in a back yard. Without contact with the natural environment, it becomes difficult for us, children and adults, to love it and exhibit concern for it.

There is always hope. On Prairie Street there exists evidence of kids having been playing in the snow. In the front yard of one home there are six, bigger-than-life snowmen. These figures stand in a row and look to be a family of snow parents and four, varying sized snow kids. They have a bold look, a united look. When I drive past them they make me smile. I wish that you could see them, too.

9:02 pm cst | link 

January 16, 2014

Wearing jewelry begins early and continues all of our lives. Most cultures, and individuals, give significance to, value, desire and admire jewelry. Those words describe me, too.

Yesterday I a saw a necklace, worn by a friend, I coveted. This piece went beyond jewelry to classify as art. It was stunning. The necklace was thick and had good length, not to the waist but close, and was made entirely of what looked to be opaque beads only a little larger than seed beads. The beads, many strings of them, were of darkish colors: reds, tans, dark blues and greens, maybe black. They were strung so that where I sat looking at them from across the table they formed interesting-to-me patterns. What gave this necklace its distinctive beauty, though, was the universal length of the strings and its single twist. Because of its thickness, and the twist, this necklace is a wearable sculpture,

My friend purchased her necklace at an estate sale. It is a one-of-a-kind piece made by an artist. I know this. But on my way home today I’m just going to step into the bead store. It wouldn’t hurt.

6:39 pm cst | link 

January 15, 2014

Last evening the middle school jazz band and two, more accomplished, high school jazz bands performed in concert. Teenagers in black t-shirts were directed by a man who snapped his fingers to keep the tempo and moved microphones around so an individual sax or trumpet player could have a moment in the sun. The kids seemed gifted with an inner beat. I enjoyed their performance.

A couple of years ago I attended another memorable concert. It was a holiday concert given by an elementary school fifth grade orchestra. Varying sized students walked into the performing area followed by their teacher and conductor, a young woman wearing a seriously sequined top and long black skirt. The orchestra consisted of four violins, one viola, eleven cellos, and seven bases.

After a couple of classical selections, the pretty teacher faced the audience and announced the next piece would be “Ring of Fire.” "Ring of Fire?” Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire?” Yes, that "Ring of Fire.” Slowly the eleven cellos began the melody, equally slowly the others joined in. I buried my face in my coat collar to stifle my mirth. Tears of laughter streaming down my face, I slipped out of the gym. I was able to return for the closing number. I enjoyed that concert, too.

10:43 am cst | link 

January 14, 2014

Recently I bought a new iron. A purchase I enjoyed making because I like to iron. I iron fabrics I am working on for a particular project, smoothing away folds, pressing out a pucker, adhering, with a very hot iron, the stiffening material called interfacing that will enable me to use it in an art piece. But I’m up for ironing other stuff, too.

It doesn’t matter to me that a blouse, shirt, pants pulled immediately from the dryer will require no ironing. I still like to give things a press. Maybe the act of ironing makes me feel I am removing the wrinkles from my life, maybe a completed stack of ironing brings a feeling of accomplishment. I am unsure about this.

The woman who ironed for my grandmother was named Mrs. Zimmerman. The woman who ironed for my mom, who worked outside the home, was our neighbor, Pat Lynnes. I liked both of these woman and that liking might attribute to my penchant for time at the board. But ironing pride does not carry over to other domestic tasks. Last week someone wrote ‘dust me’ on a table. Those words are still calling out.

 

8:57 pm cst | link 

January 13, 2014

Yarn wise, I knew just what I wanted. The skein I reached for was perfect. Light weight, more fabric than yarn, incorporating silver threads and miniature rectangles of colors in the red family, I knew it would work beautifully for my piece. But at home when I opened it, I changed my mind. On the inside of the wide band of paper wrapped around the yarn, I spotted printed directions, in English and French, for an even more intriguing-to-me, project. I scraped my earlier plans.

Directions. I encourage kids to follow them. Math will become doable when you go step by step. The directions for making the sax piece sound good are written on the score. The cookies will taste delicious if you carefully follow the receipt. Oh kids, forgive me. I don’t always practice what I preach. I am too often guilty of altering directions to my liking.

Open three 7 mm jump rings with a vice. Cut eight 30 inch lengths of yarn. Twist, then knot, sixteen silk threads about four inches from the ends. Okay? So far, so good.

 

7:46 pm cst | link 

January 12, 2014

Last night when I was at the Weitz Center to see a movie, this John Steinbeck quote flashed on the stairwell wall.

“Your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person – a real person you know, or an imagined person – and write to that one."

Today feels heavy with moisture. The sky waits with snow. Looking out on the garden from my desk near the window, not a squirrel or winter bird is visible. But a woman wearing a red scarf is pushing, with difficulty on the icy sidewalk, a stroller containing a toddler in a pink snowsuit. Two teenagers on their way to the arboretum walk with skis resting against their shoulders. Their smiles and movements indicate they are laughing. The tea cup in my hand belongs to the morning. I am writing this for you.

3:53 pm cst | link 

January 11, 2014

Well, my fellow readers of Theory of Remainders were pleased, as I had been, with their visits to the small village in France. Pleased to think that Philip had found the answers he was searching for, answers and insights which would help him heal and find his way. To a person they had enjoyed, as I had, my neighbor’s book.

In yesterday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune there was a brief interview with award winning writer Ruth Ozek. I am unfamiliar with this writer but I enjoyed reading her answers to the interviewer’s questions. She mentioned in the piece that wrist cuffs are critical to her writing and that her writing room is more interior than exterior. A photograph included in the article showed her wearing the mentioned wrist cuffs.

My new writing cuffs have a tweedy look. I took black worsted and paired it with a rough, thread-weight tan. I like how they turned out. As I write I look up to the tall open shelves in front of me where I store my yarn. That metallic blue yarn looks like it might be perfect. I also love that winey shade of red.

 

6:42 pm cst | link 

January 10,2014

Later today my book group meets. There are, if everyone is in attendance which rarely happens with work and travel schedules, fourteen of us. This month’s book, suggested by a member, is Scott Carpenter’s book, Theory of Remainders. I enjoyed reading it.

The story is a good one, a tale that held my attention from the first page. And though I am far from a critic or, at times even a careful reader, I loved the thoughtful details in the story and the research behind them. I liked the writer’s eye.

And I liked the idea of this. The author is my neighbor. Not quite my neighbor, three houses down to the east then about five or six houses to the south, but in the neighborhood. A neighbor I have never met. I like thinking that just a stone’s throw away someone, a stranger, sits at a word processor, someone with imagination and a superb knowledge of French, who can transport me, with words, to a tiny town in France.

It was my pleasure to be in the French countryside listening and searching for answers. This afternoon I will find out if the others were pleased to be there too.

7:20 pm cst | link 

January 9, 2014

In the mail today was a thank you note for a Christmas gift I’d given to a friend. The note is written on a large card, the front showing a green glass chandelier photographed against a black matte background. The chandelier is a distinctive piece and I recognized it immediately as the work of artist Dale Chihuly. Like glass sculptures usually do, it exhaled light.

A few years ago I visited Seattle. I loved the city, I suppose in part because it was warm and sunny the entire time I was there, but I liked it for other reasons, too. I loved the ocean, different, I felt, than the Atlantic ocean, the vibrancy I observed when walking the streets, the cafes and the good food. I particularly loved an art gallery where I saw glass work on display from the famous Pilchuck studio. I was blown away by the art glass and coveted a piece blown in the shape of a hat. A hat so intriguing, and beautiful, I could hardly pull myself away from it. Hanging in the entry of a Seattle hotel was where I saw my first Chihuly piece, enabling me to identify his work on the thank you card.

The Pilchuck Glass Studio, pilchuck is an Indian word meaning red river, is located in Stanwood, Washington, and is internationally known. As is the work of artist Dale Chihully. The card in today’s mail brought back memories of a good time but now I must make a confession. The gift I gave my friend, well, it wasn’t that big a deal. The thank you card was better.

 

5:22 pm cst | link 

January 8, 2014

It is 6:57 a.m. and I am sitting in the foyer of an orthodontist’s office because the waiting room is full. I am thinking about light.

Behind the plate glass window in front of me darkness is punctuated by the head and tail lights of cars traveling on Jefferson Avenue. On a lavish, decorator Christmas tree behind my left shoulder, bluish LED lights freckle the artificial branches. Directly in front of me, in a fireplace that bisects the window, the constant orange light of a gas fire burns with boring constancy. Overhead, recessed ceiling lights illuminate the room. In my hands the panel of my phone shimmers with battery driven light.

We are a clever people with our ability to dream up lights: neon, fluorescent, laser, halogen, holographic and on and on. Fabulous lights, utterly amazing lights.

To my right, through another plate glass window, I can see the eastern, January sky. It is dark but shows the promise of light. Methodically the cloudless sky turns colors I can find no names to describe. Light has brought the day and the day has brought us light. Nature has her hand on the perfect rheostat.

 

 

11:22 am cst | link 

January 7, 2014

Alright, this is it. Another frigid day, another day with schools closed. The kids have been absent from their classrooms for nineteen, mostly inside, days. Protracted time inside can get me thinking about food which then becomes the day’s highlight. Food highlights can turn my thoughts to pizza.


When we migrated west I was certain I would be forgoing good pizza. I was leaving behind New England dotted with Italian communities like those in Providence and Boston and our own smaller ones in Connecticut. Communities where Italian farmers grow fabulous vegetables and fruits, especially peaches. Our South Glastonbury peaches, I lay claim to them here because I ate so many of them, were said to be shipped to the Emperor of Japan. Now how true this story is I can’t say but it might be. Anyway, enclaves of good Italian food also included the grandma-type ladies who wore long black dresses, black shoes and stockings and maybe a babushka, Italian women who were regularly seen after mass on the steps of St. Pious Church or Our Lady of Peace Cathedral. They were fixtures in an Italian community.

So once on the prairie I began looking for good pizza. And I found it. One of the reasons I knew it was the right pizza even before I tasted it, pizza like Sal and Nino made, had to do with the woman serving it. She was a grandma type-woman with an accent, a Greek accent, and she wore a long black dress, black shoes and stockings and a smile that made me feel like I was home. 
6:47 pm cst | link 

January 6, 2014

Last night I flew, like so many others, to England. Every seat on the plane was taken. We all assembled, millions of us, on the grounds of Downton Abby shifting our weight and murmuring among ourselves as we waited for Carson or Mr. Bates or nasty Tom Barrow to swing open those heavy doors. We were eager to get inside. We knew, because of Matthew’s death, that when we glimpsed Lady Mary, she’d be wearing black.

What I didn’t know was the origin of the words widow’s weeds which was a phrase my grandmother used to describe mourning clothes. Black was the color of mourning during Downton days and maybe it still is. It is a serious color. And the word weeds, as it was once used to describe the clothes of a grieving woman, is really an old English word of Germanic origin which became, over the years, twisted into a different shape. I know this little factoid because I looked it up.

Those of us who visit the Abby, or any other escapist television show, go to be entertained or amused or thrilled or whatever. Such forays are healthy we are told; I also travel east to England and back in time to see the clothes. Did you notice Lady’s Edith’s green dress, the almost strapless one with the layers of ruching? And that satiny red fabric draped over the white top? Gorgeous! I’ll probably think about those clothes all day.       

8:58 pm cst | link 

January 5, 2014

It is cold. Bright, painful cold. Frigid weather has been around for days, temperatures that have loitered slightly below and above zero, but today is different. The cold is everywhere. It feels flat and a part of everything - tree, bush, stone - in it. Walking Scarlet, our rescued-from-the-pound dog, is delight for neither of us. School will be closed tomorrow, the governor’s decision, for the safety of children. The temperature in the state predicted to reach, wind chill factored in, 30 to 40 below zero. Who would not envy friends in Florida, California, Hawaii?

Ah, but I have always lived in cold winters. They, I guess, belong to me and I have to claim them. To live in, maybe survive, such cold it must, I think, be lived into. So I sit, when I can, in rectangles of light the sun makes on the carpet. I knit a warm life which means, for me, frequenting the yarn store and knitting scarves on number seven needles for the men in my life. Scarves that cascaded, like wooly rivers, through the Christmas holidays. And I own the small pleasure of knowing I am able to track my ancestors’ footprints before me, through the cold and snow. 

2:48 pm cst | link 


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