A Rare Talent

Deir Deirdre,

I just noticed that I misspelled your name on the recent posts and then found that I've actually been misspelling your name for TEN YEARS now on shotsnaps*.  I just corrected them all.  You didn't let on once!  What a good sport!

Here's your public apology.




*In my defense, I had spelled it correctly on half the posts featuring your name.  Inconsistency is also one of my great skills.



Advent begins tomorrow, and even though the new year is yet to come, Advent, as the start of the liturgical new year, always feels like a truer fresh start. (But I don't make resolutions, if I make them at all, until after Epiphany!)  With the cycle of seasons outside my window, this seems a good place to begin.

Summer is over.  Fall has nearly ended, and the pile of tasks that piggyback on changing seasons are complete.  The gardens sit sad and empty, razed of all that fed us this summer, with only kale and brussels sprouts left to face the wind.  After many weeks of fitful fall shifting to summer every week or so, the sharpness in the air is here to stay.  The wind has a wildness that only belongs to winter, and it rushes around eaves and corners with a locomotive roar.  On windless nights, I wake in the dark to nurse the baby and listen to the howling keen of coyote-song, an unearthly bit of discordant beauty that seeps through the cracks of this old house.

Advent is a road from darkness to Light, and I love that the world outside so perfectly reflects that. Near to our celebration of the coming of Christ, who shook the world and lit it large with His simple birth, the light of our dark northeastern days begins to increase.  Along with the emptied gardens, along with the animals settling into quieter winter rhythms,  in the stillness and encroaching darkness, we wait. I type this waiting for December 25th, for great Hope heaped on hope. 

Reality? Check.

Before we tromp any further into Blogland, here's another reminder that blogs are groomed beasts and that even people trying to present an honest slice of life (without being TOO honest, if you catch my drift) often fail miserably.  Whenever things on here look too pretty, remember that most of the time, things look like this, instead-- double chin, laundry, sleepy bathrobe mama, and lots more besides.

We All Pitch In

Luci flips these pancakes (kind of...because I make them different every time) while Aidan and Cadence handle clean-up duty.

Peace and Quiet

Ever since the girls and I cleaned out the gutters a couple of weeks ago, they've been asking permission to relax on the roof.  The little ones have only gone up a couple of times, but these girls are making a habit of it, even h'learning (however ineffectively) up there, and shouting messages down the chimney to me.  Yesterday, they wore capes all day, and when night fell they climbed up again to starwatch, their dim shadows looking like nothing else but prodigious bats crouched upon the gable.


 If you type "pirate" into this blog's searchbar, Annika's face will pop up more than her fair share.  Remember this girl? (Be still, my sentimental heart; be still.)  At long last, she's got those longed-for brother-pirates, and thank goodness she's not too old and stuffy to enjoy them properly!

That's not to say pirates don't enjoy holding a little girl-baby every now and again,

especially when the baby is this cute.

Stone's Throw

Skylark Elizabeth took her first Way-Too-Cold-and-Windy-and-We-Were-All-Severely-Underdressed Walk the other day.  Truth be told, she told me she'd rather not do any walking, so I carried her, instead.

Our destination was the tiny cemetery a hill away, for the chief purpose of climbing a few gloriously thick-limbed trees. The bigger girls have been riding their bikes there during Run Around Outside time, but I told Annika she couldn't climb the trees unless I was present, not because I'm a mean mother, but because anyone who happened to drive past at 12:30 and see three school-age girls climbing trees in a cemetery might call the truant officer. 

This cemetery is populated mostly by people who died before the Civil War began, and it was overgrown and neglected until the man who lives across the road began faithfully tending it (I've only seen it tended because he's been doing this for as long as I can remember).

This headstone had already been buried in the roots of the tree that grew up beside it.

 Birdie reading headstones.

We'll have to make rubbings of many of the stones in order to read the text, but this stone was etched deeply and clearly enough for Lucinda to notice a similar name.

It's a sobering headstone and epithet at the bottom, but Luci was tremendously cheerful about it.

Guess who carried the camera home for me, taking a few (dozen) pictures along the way.  Yup.  This lovely girl.