Sunday, December 19, 2010

Get Thee To the Woods, Vol. 22: Cold and Snow and Fresh Air and St. Francis

This is the time of year when we're so busy we often overlook the beauty around us. We're buying gifts and sending Christmas cards and baking cookies and cleaning the house. (Okay, forget that last one.) We spend more time indoors. We only go outside when we have to, like walking from the house to the car, from our parking space to our workplace, and we hurry to get where we're going so we can unwrap ourselves and grab some hot coffee.

On Monday we awoke to a light dusting of snow. It was gone by noon.

By Wednesday morning, our little lake had a thin layer of ice on top.

Curly tossed a few rocks out on the ice and listened to the sound they made as they bounced across it.

Right after I took this photo he decided to test how thick it was by stepping on it. He had to go to school with one wet sneaker.

On Thursday morning school was cancelled, and by eight-thirty it had begun to snow.

As soon as the snow began to cover the driveway, Moe got out Joe's old Flexible Flyer sled.

He made a snow angel too, but it was quickly covered up.

After a while Curly joined him.

I think Moe was outside all day long, only coming in briefly for lunch. When he finally came inside because it was starting to get dark, he peeled off his wet snow pants and exclaimed, "Omigosh, I forgot to change out of my pajamas!"

I think I can take this off of my front porch now.

On Friday Moe and I went out for a little Christmas shopping, and on our way home I saw something strange out of the corner of my eye. When I slowed the car to get a better look, I realized it was a wild turkey running down the street. I quickly pulled over and grabbed my phone to snap a few photos.

The next day our local paper ran an article about an elusive wild turkey that had been spotted by several people, wandering through town. This, by the way, would be the second time Moe and I have encountered a bird behaving strangely, and read about it in the newspaper the next day.

The ducks and geese have stayed mostly out of sight, but they're showing signs of their presence all the same.

I was going to pull my dead plants out of their pots and put the pots away, but they're frozen solid. I know Joe is eager for a warm spell so he won't have to look at them anymore. Meanwhile they've found a hiding spot behind the shed.

Winter can be drab and gray and miserable sometimes, but it's not hard to find beauty if you look.

Let's remember those who have no warm bed to sleep in this winter. Let's take the time to reach out to the cold and homeless and hungry.

By the way (speaking of getting to the woods and reaching out to those less fortunate)--have you ever heard of the Fresh Air Fund? I only just recently learned about them. They're dedicated to helping low-income children in New York City spend time during the summer away from the city where they can enjoy the beauty and freedom of the outdoors. Kids have the opportunity to attend summer camps, and visit with families living in rural areas and small towns. They're not affiliated with any religious group--they're just all about getting inner-city kids
to the country--and to the woods! What a simple way to help disadvantaged children--and not only will they enjoy fresh air and sunshine and exercise, they'll make friends, too! Having been a camp counselor in college, and seeing how being outdoors together helps kids appreciate nature and bond with one another, I get excited when I hear about endeavors like this. (Click here if you want to learn more about the Fresh Air Fund, or make a donation if you wish.)

I'm taking a blogging break until after Christmas. No, really, I am. I know, I've been saying that for the last two weeks but I keep showing up here anyway. This is really and truly my last post until...the 26th? 27th? 28th? I'm not sure; I'm sure I'll have some thoughts and memories and photos to share by then. (I'm sure I'll be reading some of your blogs between now and then, though.)

Have a blessed Christmas, and meanwhile I'd love to hear how YOU've enjoyed nature's beauty amidst all the hustle and bustle and cold weather.

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