But then, two days ago, I went for a fairly short hike. Everything was frosted in snow. The crisp, second-day kind that sometimes if you're really careful, you can stand on top of without making a footprint. The kind that sort of coats the sides of trees and clings ever-so-gently to the brittle phragmites that have, much like myself, gone inactive for the frigid season. The kind of snow that you can hold in your hand very tightly and it will melt into a snowpebble that isn't good for anything, really, except to throw. And the world was so
Insulated almost, against the sounds of the cars a few miles away, against the movement of the leaves that aren't on the trees anymore. Insulated against the distractions of television, children, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, running water, furnace, home-sounds that we forget never stop. It was a silent kind of world where time just floats by and things change - but so very slowly, gracefully, that you have to be very still for an uncertain, unpromised amount of time to even notice. The gray/white palette is so hushed. Any green I managed to find felt extravagant. It's a similar feeling to finding the crocus in spring - a satisfied sort of welcoming to those changes that happen in their own time. I am just a curious observer. And-just as suddenly as a bud blooms - I am reminded of why I said 'winter.'
As 2012 came to a close, I could feel life slowing down. The winter light glaring in through our south-facing windows has been bold and glaring and warm, warm, warm. The deer are grouping together and, if you watch closely in the mornings and evenings, you can watch them slowly munch their way through all of the clearings surrounding the house before they settle in wherever they do that with full bellies in a warm, fuzzy clump. The twins that were born this past spring are boys, sprouting little antlers on top of their heads. They're confident and strong and they grew out of those spots so fast.
We've been doing all of the indoor activities that I avoided doing while the weather was nice. Yesterday I spent the day cleaning out all of the cabinets, drawers, nooks and crannies of the house. I steam-mopped the floors, vacuumed all of the rugs, washed the linens and most of the laundry. Tomorrow, I may clean the linen closet and get some groceries. The day after that, I go back to work and the boys still get 5 more days before returning to school and work. They so deserve it. My loves.
Today, we visited a local children's museum. Big brother was a little too big for it, but he made the best of it for little brother...
Who thought it was the best day ever. It was his first visit to a ball pit. He was so happy. Genuinely happy. He is a tiny explorer. He is so content and excited. It was a lovely place to visit. It's been somewhere we've wanted to go for a while, but we were waiting for the weather to change. It was a good first day of 2013.
I don't generally look back or reflect upon the year that is ending when a new one begins, but if I had to I would say that 2012 was a year of blessings and abundance. Personally, I found inspiration in so many different places - from music to a simple meal - but nothing inspired me as much as my day to day life here on Moraine. The boys - all three of them - find joy in the smallest things, and - as I see that happening, I am reminded of how meaningless so many of the things I used to care so much about are. The hollow, commercialized way happiness was always marketed to me doesn't work anymore.
Now that we live on Moraine, I know now where my happiness is fed and watered - and it's not at a cash register. Of course, raising two children, we have needs and wants - and I will try my hardest to make sure this precious family of mine has all they could want. However, for me and my own spiritual journey has transformed and I find so much joy in the experience - watching someone else open a gift, sending a handwritten thank-you note. The experience of watching our married cardinal couple eat dinner, of laughing at our boys until it hurts, of chatting with family about the way things were. The experience of sharing our dreams and hopes about the future with D. My happiness grows differently now.
Looking forward, I think 2013 will continue to be a transforming journey for our family. I have a lot of hopes for each of us, but as a whole, I hope we reach out more, give more of ourselves, and take care of each other. D and I are planning on taking better care of ourselves, and continually working to improve our finances. Every day, we're closer than we were the day before. We make a lot of sacrifices and we say 'no' to a lot of things that might make us momentarily happy or make our lives minutely easier, but we try hard to keep our long-term well being in mind and make financial decisions based on that. We're doing our best, and we'll continue to. Every day is easier than the one before.
Mostly, I want 2013 to be a year of positivity for our family. I don't want us to get bogged down with worry or hard times. There will always be hard times. I hope we stay optimistic and strong. I hope we remember how blessed we are, and let those warm feelings give us comfort if we find ourselves facing any kind of uncertainty. I hope that in 2013 we lean on each other and respond to situations that arise with love and dignity. I hope we grow and become better people, go on adventures, experience new explorations, listen to great music, eat fabulous food. I hope that in 2013 is just as inspirational as 2012.
-Music that made 2012 even better-