Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter Contentment

So far, it's been an epic winter. 

Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but once again, strictly in the Pollyanna mode...I love it!  I'm going to get the little sled out of the garage, today--the one we used when we lived in the Iditarod district in Alaska to haul our groceries from the Native Store to our log cabin--and go sledding with the dogs!  We have a great hill, and even by myself, it's so much fun!  MM isn't that keen a sledder, preferring dry pants and warm fingers to speeding downhill exhileration.

And yes, it's a little tougher to keep the animals watered and fed with 12 inches of snow on the ground and temperatures in the single digits, but what little price is paid in extra effort is far and away made up for in bartered beauty.

This morning, long before sunrise, I unlatched the door and tiptoed outside to witness the moon in all its full glory, casting spidery shadows of leafless limbs across the unmarred white.  In the distance, I could see two deer silently rummaging through the deep snow in search of a tender nibble.  Not a sound came from anywhere.  It was simply magic.

Later, as dawn emerged, a pink sunrise embraced the diamond-studded landscape.  Cotton, rose-colored clouds billowed up in the west, and the morning came alive as birds began to flit industriously from seed head to seed head in search of breakfast.

Thomas, you remind me:  I've been niggardly.  I haven't grown feed nor have I fed the birds for years, for all intents and purposes creating my own austerity program for them!  After a winter like this, I resolve to plant sunflowers galore this coming garden year--maybe even some millet and buckwheat especially for them (and make sure they don't eat their winter rations in August when everything ripens!)--and to share more than the occasional crumbs of dogfood they've been able to snitch this bleak season.

Being outside this morning and feeding the animals was like being in a Currier and Ives lithograph.  Remember Currier and Ives?  For me, their names evoke a type of idealism, a celebration of rural living, but their subjects went way beyond rural living.  According to Wikipedia, they dubbed themselves "Publishers of Cheap and Popular Prints."  Hugely acclaimed, they produced over 7,500 lithographic prints over a period of 72 years.  Artists whom Currier and Ives engaged, created two to three new images every week for 64 years producing more than a million prints by hand-colored lithography.

I love living in a Currier and Ives moment!

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