Saturday, December 30, 2006

Picture Imperfect...

I have been in the woods during the past two days, enjoying the white powder snow and the crisp, cold air. It's the first snow of the winter, following a warmer than usual season, and that probably enabled the spider and the snowflake to cross paths - something rare and unusual.

The photograph is of single snowflake, caught and suspended by a spider's web at the edge of one of the woods roads, glistening in the afternoon sunshine. Swinging in a light breeze, it made focusing the camera a nearly impossible job, and so the picture is less than perfect, hence the title: Picture Imperfect... But so incredible!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Diary of Sigmund Gnome 12/25/06...

Dear Diary,

It was a gray Christmas morning, one that followed a gray month of December, and the first time they had ever been alone together on that holiday. I watched them from a distance, not wanting to intrude the business of gnomes into their peaceful domesticity. After all, thirty-four is a lot of get-up-early-to-celebrate-that-Santa-came mornings.

She made her coffee, he made his Postum, and they had their usual repartee around the relative merits of the two drinks, laughingly agreeing that chocolate hazelnut biscotti taste good no matter what they’re dunked in. I was still sitting on a stump and sipping my mead when they emerged from the house.

“Good morning, Sigmund!” she called out. “We’re going for a walk in the woods before I have to start cooking for tonight,” and with that, they waved and headed up the path into the forest.

He often takes an axe for clearing downed trees from the woods roads, but today he just took her – and of course, she took her camera.

It was my day off, so I decided to go into the woods too, but I took a different path, and reaching Flower’s house, I found him still up and about after his night of foraging for food. When he heard she was coming with her camera he groaned a “not again” and decided – as usual – that he would not be a model on Christmas day. The Jay family heard him grumbling and flew off to alert the other animals, so that by the time the Wizened Wizard was deep in the forest, the only creatures to be seen were a pair of ruffed grouse who flew away with wings beating loudly (and were gone before she could even point her lens). Flower, being good at heart, left her a note on his message board.

After seeing this message and not seeing Flower, the Wiz'd Wizard apparently decided to see if Bucky and Simone d'Beavoir might be interested in a family portrait, but finding the shades drawn and the door closed at their house, she finally turned for home. I ran into Bambi and we chatted briefly, then I followed.

Of course, you just never know what that wizard will point her camera at, and so it wasn't too surprising to find her gleefully circling a puddle at the edge of the woods, angling and clicking. How anyone - much less a wizard - can get excited over some cold water and ice is hard to fathom, but I guess that's what makes her wizened. Later, at home, she would excitedly consider, crop, then drag all who would look to see the latest photographic wonder.

And you know, it's amazing how nice a cold puddle can look when she captures it! I like that picture, but my favorite is the picture she took of me a few minutes later.

It was just another day in the life of a gnome.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

'Tis the Day Before Christmas...

It's the day before Christmas. The clock radio jolts me from sounder-than-usual sleep just in time to make the trip to pick up my 4-year-old grandchild for the day. His mom is a nurse, and for the first time in memory, she will work today but not tomorrow. I quickly check my computer and find a sweet holiday wish left on the blog by Shaumi, then it's out into the sleety snow for the thirteen-mile drive to town.

The sleet has turned to rain and is diminishing by the time we return to the glories of play with Grandpa, and I build a fire in the fireplace. (Grandchild notes that it is nice to have two fires - one in the woodstove and one he can see). As train tracks are being connected and block towers built, I seat myself beside the now blazing fire to enjoy a cup of coffee and some homemade biscotti. As I sit, feeling the warmth of fire and cup, I think of Shaumi's posting of the list of things she is grateful for and I am overcome by my own feelings of gratitude:

  • For home, much of it built by my own hands
  • For the creature comforts of good food I have baked and warmth from wood cut and gathered by my husband and myself
  • For friends near and far, real and virtual
  • For family

Later we bundle up for a walk in the woods, taking a bag to gather "stuff" for making woodsy collages. Now it's become sunny and mild, and I think that if we can't have a white Christmas, then this is not such a bad substitute. Our little companion gleefully stomps through puddles, points out moss and peels some bark from a dying birch. Although many people would fail to see the beauty in these gray winter woods, our love affair continues and now appears to be passing on to this grandchild.

We have dinner in town (at the Great Wall Chinese Buffet there is a Christmas tree, but the food and service is no different than on any of the other 364 days of the year), then, knowing we're a little earlier than planned, we drive around the village marveling at the holiday light displays on lawns and homes. Grandson comments, "A nice final touching!" He is also sure he sees Santa up in the sky near the crescent moon.

My life is truly blessed.