Friday, December 17, 2010

I Love Winter Because . . .

  • The possibility of a SNOW DAY hangs in the air. Yes, of course we know you have to make it up at the end of the school year, but it's worth it! Up early with a long full day ahead and no school! The kids are out to the local sledding hill at first light and back within an hour with red cheeks, hands, and snow crusted feet which shed all over the entry hall. And for Grandma, no obligation to go anywhere, everything is canceled because it's TOO DANGEROUS to drive. Crank up the gas fireplace, gather up the warm throws, stack the books on the end table, and settle in, no obligation to go out, so I have a hot toddy with the evening news. We haven't had a snow day yet this year, but the season is young.
  • The bare trees reveal secrets they've shrouded all summer. The true shapes of the trees are revealed making it much easier to distinguish hickory from sycamore, ash from oak. Empty birds' nests safely hidden while holding eggs and cradling chicks, are now in plain sight. I wonder how some very large nests high in the slender branches that must belong to either raptors or small mammals survive the 50 - 60 mile per hour gusts we often experience. The bald eagles return for their winter visit and can be seen high in trees near the water, scouting for their next meal.

  • ICE! The very word strikes fear. One slip and you could end up in the hospital! Cars spin out all over the place, into ditches and into each other. But it fascinates me. Ice storms bring down trees, power and telephone lines, but they also gild every surface with silvery beauty that glistens in the bright sun that follows a storm and turns the whole world into a magically beautiful place. I love watching to see if the river has frozen and to watch the confused ducks walk on the surface they expected to swim and fish in. At the beginning of the season, I set a pan of water on the deck at night to see how thick the ice forms. I keep a steady eye on the thermometer, watching for lowest readings of the season.

  • Warm weather food. Cozy smells, cinnamon and crock pots full of all the veggies left in the refrigerator. (Favorite recipe: half pound of small-cubed chicken or pork, half pound of sliced any kind of sausage, a box of chicken broth, a big can of diced tomatoes, a can of cannellini beans, leafy veggies [bok choy, spinach, tat soi, chard] and root veggies [turnips, carrots, potatoes, beets] and maybe some acorn or butternut squash. I just clean out the refrigerator until the crock pot is full.) The kids used to grumble a bit, but if I serve some fresh hot biscuits, rolls, or garlic bread, they love it! And I can't believe they eat turnips without a murmur. I have learned to tolerate them and even like the milder Japanese variety. Molasses/ginger snaps, snickerdoodles, apple pie, home made apple sauce fill the air with cinnamon goodness.

  • Christmas. All of it. The excess, the gifts (giving and receiving) the home decorations, the food, the music, the company, the parties, the traditions -- both religious and secular. Advent calendars (couldn't find any this year!) Next year I will make quilted "permanent" ones with pockets to be filled with goodies for each December day. Advent candles -- this Sunday will be the last candle -- symbol of Joy. The Christmas programs at school. Ben's madrigal last night was magnificent. Could only have been better if I had been able to see him well enough to get a decent picture. But with a couple hundred kids on the stage, it's hard to pick out one special boy who looked great and sung his heart out. I'm always struck by the thought that singing is so good for one. I'm convinced it promotes good health and clear thinking. And brings Joy to the World!


  1. Add to your list...The Nutcracker!!! I just got home from seeing Sacramento's Nutcracker. I am in awe of how amazingly good the production was--EVERYTHING, the sets, the music, the choreography, the dancing, the costumes, the colors, the children... WAS PERFECT. Now I HAVE to see San Francisco's production next year because I really can't believe it gets any better than this! I am still in rapture.

  2. Yes, of course, the Nutcracker is buried up there in the music and traditions -- wouldn't be the same without it. Even Springfield does a production of it, although I haven't seen it -- maybe next year! I remember taking Robin to see it in San Francisco when she was about four years old. Magic! Of course I think the SF Opera House is magic no matter what the production! So glad you got to enjoy it this year.