Spring 2010

It was a long winter. Outside, heavy snows blanketed trees and bushes as blizzard followed blizzard. Schools and highways closed with only emergency vehicles allowed.

Inside, on the worst of the days, our family huddled together. While the winds whipped the willows, within our kitchen’s warmth we sipped hot tea and savored bowls of chili.  Grateful to be safe from the treacherous roads we chatted, cherishing our time together.

Snow days can make for good memories. For those who can stay inside, they are a true gift.

I didn’t accomplish much this winter. I haven’t for a long while. It’s been months since I’ve blogged. Months since I have read.  Or written.  Months since I’ve done much of anything except life’s bare essentials – my job, laundry, minimal housework (not that housework has ever been a priority 😉 ). For a long time, I’ve felt tired. Fatigued. Nothing concrete enough to push me to seek medical help, just tired.

I’ve only had one major illness in my life. I’m not prone to seek medical advice for myself. But late this winter a lingering infection sent me to the doctor. I’m glad I went. After a series of blood tests, they found the underlying cause of my fatigue.

I believe that a diagnosis, whatever it might be, changes a person. One starts down a different path.

For me…my values have re-awakened.  Nutrition habits have changed. I’m on meds.  Temporarily at least, the doctor’s office is now on my speed dial. I will become healthy again.

I am a winter child. My whole life I have been happiest in winter.  This year, as the snow melted and lilac leaf buds burst forth from seemingly dead twigs, I’ve come to see the relationship between winter and spring in a new light.   A new road opens ahead.

It has been a long winter for us all, but spring has come. 

Acorns in the Rain

Acorns hang heavy on the branches of our red oak. A drenching summer rain washes over them and the surrounding leaves.  AcornsDroplets gather and fall.  The acorns are plentiful this year, more than any other since we first planted the tree some 16 years ago.   I don’t know if it’s because of the oak’s age, because it’s been a favorable summer, or if the acorn abundance is simply a harbinger of a tough winter ahead.

Rainy days bring out the muse in me, especially when I can stay inside and listen to the downpour.  But this morning the deluge draws me outside under the oak’s umbrella, camera in hand.   Trees are important in my new book.  I need to stand beneath our rain-drenched oak, to run my fingers over its bark and smell the fresh scent of its leaves.  The acorns are an amazing bonus.

The squirrels haven’t harvested many yet.  Why?  We certainly have our share of the bushy tailed rodents in our yard.  When I return indoors, a quick internet search tells me that squirrels tend to eat a white oak’s acorns first.  Acorns from the red oak are more likely to be buried, hoarded away.  It all has to do with the tannins and chemical make-up.  As I understand it, white oak acorns taste best fresh off the tree.  Red oak acorns need aging.  I promise those tidbits will never find their way into my romance, but they are interesting, don’t you think?

In the distance I hear a roll of thunder, calling me back to work.  On this day of deluge, I’m glad for the rain, glad for the lush green it brings to our yard.  Glad especially for the acorns.  Through it all, I immerse my mind into the forest primeval.