Last night I went out to do some intermediate shoveling just after sundown and, instead of getting a workout, I got a gorgeous experience! The snow was falling quietly. The ever-present, low-level drone from the local arterial road just up the street was absent. The only sound was the faint, distant scraping of a plow removing snow from the nearby streets. Noticing this stillness, I just stood for a moment and listened…to nothing.
My mother actually encouraged my sister and me to do this. One winter, on a cold evening in late January, she convinced my dad to drive us into the countryside outside of our small Minnesota town, park the car, and roll down the windows so we could “listen to winter.” I remember thinking she was a little weird; but I also remember watching the loose snow skim across the moonlit cornfields, driven by that lovely Upper Midwest wind that seems to blow constantly in midwinter. Even today, thinking about that event, I can almost smell the cold, dry freshness of the air. Connecticut doesn’t smell like that. It smells wetter and saltier.
This morning I need to shovel again. Unfortunately, the atmosphere won’t compare. More snowplows are out, the local traffic is picking up, and the din of life has returned. But I now have two winter moments to savor while I work. Life is good.
Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.