threads of sky, loose
sleet bounces across the tin roof-
tears of ice
on my face.
the sleet colored sky
falls to earth-
gray on gray on gray.
I am thankful for:
my God , who presents us with life and truth and Love,
who chooses to be
and totally God.
For grace and resiliency,
for fortitude and strength.
For my community, with its heroes and clowns, its dramas and comedies.
For my family, who are, after all, the ones that love me in spite of myself.
I am thankful for my spouse, the example of love and all its many aspects,
and for all the beloved children in our lives,
for the friends who are near and far whom we love and love us in return.
I am thankful for maple trees and oaks,
sassafras and pine,
for the birds who take shelter in these trees
and find sustenance at my feeders.
For all the creatures that roam through my life
and the one that takes up residency in our house.
I am thankful for my home, a place of serenity and peace.
I am thankful for peace
and the streets of my country
when there is peace in these places.
I am grateful for freedom
I am thankful for politeness
and kind words.
I am thankful for babies
and old people.
I am thankful that we have been
and will be again.
I am thankful we have been
and will be again.
I am thankful for what has been
what we are in the midst of
and what will be.
I am thankful.
The north wind shushes the sleet,
the lazy fall of fine snow
just dusting the cedar boughs.
And not so much
to weigh the afternoon down
or discouraging sounds
of the opinionated crows,
but just the right amount
to suggest the coming winter
and all its heavy lifting.
But not today-
today is the first glaze of ice
on the path
with just enough substance
to lay paw prints
of fox and hare
across the dimly lit day
as it drifts
with the cold north wind.
These astonishing whorls of ice are formed as the sap in the grasses and weeds freezes and bursts from the plant membranes to be squeezed into the frigid temperatures.
Due to our warm autumn, the plants had not gone completely dormant, so they were still filled with moisture. A perfect situation for the drop in temperature to cause these beautiful frost flowers to form.
Each is delicate and fragile. A mere touch can cause them to shatter. And a few moments of sun can cause them to just evaporate into the cold air.
ephemeral, delicate beauty
swirled from winters touch
to blossom in the cold morning air
lines of geography sewn
into flesh and muscle,
needled from silken to coarseness,
fragile to enduring.
Fabrics woven into years
of patchworked life,
tattered and torn ,
to be mended
Weary threads continue to unravel
to be caught up again
by sharp silver needles,
darning the gaps
strengthening the ties,
binding the thoughtless wounds,
the intimate grief.
Steady hands fold the hems,
straight and narrow,
to be cut through
and reworked into patterns
of spring to summer
Each moment embroidered
to its best possible telling
as the pattern emerges
from faded cloth.
Seeing the mythologies explained
in pieced remnant and scrap,
we fold its story around us,
holding tight against the cold.
I can’t believe its been a year since I wrote a shack story! But its this time of year that makes me especially nostalgic for that wonderful old house.
By the autumn, at least a couple of cords of firewood would already sit stacked out beside the shed along the top of the drive. If I had been really organized, the wood would have been there all summer, getting good and dry and seasoned, so that it would burn perfectly.
But most years, the woodman was called at the end of August and we stacked it just in time for the first cool night. It was not unusual for us to have a fire in the evening by the middle of September. The weather might be beautifully warm during the day, but as the sunlight began to dwindle into autumn, the nights would get clear and frosty by dawn.
Those first fires were sometimes a little smoky, causing us to open every window in the house and turn on all the ceiling fans to rid the house of that first fire smell. The nice thing about our wonderful woodstove ( that I loved so well after having a wall eyed fit about its placement – see earlier posts about the chimney saga), was that once there was a good fire, the bed of coals could last all day. So the stove stayed a little warm and was usually no problem getting the nightly fire to blaze.
Once we had cold weather move in for good, the stove had its own routine. Each morning, Bob would fill it up with wood, working with the night’s coals and maybe with a little extra kindling, building a steady flame, making the house warm and toasty. He would soon be out the door to work. So as I left, I would add more wood, dampen down the vent and making sure the stove door was closed, good and tight. I, too, would be out the door and off to my job.
Each afternoon, as I drove down our tree covered lane, rounding the last curve, there, perched on the side of the ridge, the shack would come into view. And each afternoon, I would think –‘Well, it didn’t burn down today!”
One thing I loved about heating with wood was the quiet. No furnace fan or blower, just the occasional shifting of logs or the popping of embers. A gentle, living warmth radiating from the corner of the living room, into each room and up the stairs. It was perfect.
Perfect, except for the constant attention it needed, the removal of ash, which caused a trail of fine particles to dust the entire living room. And the occasional popping ember out of the stove onto the carpet and the days when the wind was just right, the smoke refused to go up the chimney and would just much rather stay inside the house. Oh and those bitter, snowy nights when it need to be fed from the stack way on the other side of the shed.
Yes, my glasses aren’t so rosy that I have forgotten all the trouble it took. And now, when the furnace kicks on, loud fan and all, I can remember the wonderful old woodstove in the warm comfort of our lake house.
Until next time – and I won’t go another year – smiles…
*** And I promise to go thru all the photos and start sharing more pictures from the shack years.
morning has broken
early dawns light
fills the morning cove
calling the mists from the water
to rise with the sun
like the first morning
cover the morning meadow
fragments of the full frost moon
born of the one light
to the brightening sky
the cove stirs with
wild geese rising
Eden saw play
sound of baby’s laughter
fills the early morning air
joy rises with the sun
Morning Has Broken
Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the world
Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day
Words by Eleanor Farjeon
Music traditional Scottish Gaelic tune