The March Melt has officially begun here in northern Michigan. I’m not naive enough to believe that this is The End of Winter. I know this back-and-forth dance well. We will probably get another storm (or two), but will it last? Hmm. I’m not betting on it. There are more trails to ski and rinks to skate, but fun winter might be mostly behind us now, no?
I’m itching to get some dirt under my nails. You?
We had a special afternoon last week when my Kindergarten teacher paid us a visit. We’ve been friends for 30 years now and sharing our girls and our home with her was one of the highlights of Christmas vacation.
Not only was she my first school teacher, but I knew her through our childhood church and the summer camp I went to since I was a wee one. She played the role of Mother Nature at camp and took us on nature tours of the lake via canoe and encouraged us to taste Indian Cucumber, aka tender cattail hearts. She showed us the beauty of the constellations on the dock under starry summer skies, she took us on night hikes to listen for owls and sniff around for the fragrant sassafras with its beautiful, unique leaves. The other campers and I would huddle together through the darkened woods while munching on the spicy stem. I have such vivid memories of those nights and can still clearly see the spot we hiked up to deep in the woods in order to sit still and call for owls and listen to the creatures of the night begin to stir around us.
When I graduated from high school she gave me my first books of Michigan birds and wildflowers. I thumbed through the birds book when looking for names for my children, hence the names we settled on: Wren and Phoebe.
She’s also an incredible storyteller and strong believer in the spirit world. She told some very spooky ghost stories at camp and now she is often invited to people’s homes or buildings to witness the spirits and take photographs of orbs. She is currently working on a book about ghosts in the town of Romeo where I grew up.
I’m so grateful for her presence in my life over the past 30 years and owe her so much for sharing with me such a deep and curious appreciation for nature. It was so special to spend the afternoon with her and have her read meaningful, timeless books and play thoughtfully with the girls, talk about our gardens, hear about her recent travels and spirit encounters in the areas where the Japanese Internment camps were held and see some of the orbs she’s captured with her camera. Her enthusiasm for so many different aspects of life, innate sense of adventure, and desire to share the joy and wonder of children is contagious.
Feeling so grateful and inspired and wishing I could always have my Kindergarten teacher around. So much to glean from so many years of devoted experience with wee ones! It really does take a village, no?
Real winter is finally here and not just according to the calendar. It’s alive and well in northern Michigan as our nest is tightly tucked underneath a fresh blanket of white. Finally! Let’s just hope it lasts beyond just a white Christmas. I’ve got skiing and sledding and snowman-making on my mind. You?
We started the shortest, darkest day of the year with a candlelit breakfast. Everything tastes better by candlelight, no? Although crepes always taste good to me, who am I kidding?
To take advantage of the few hours of sunlight we have today, we promptly headed outside to our winter wonderland. Snow days are so fun!
We came in to get warmed up and dried off.
And to make some more cookies this afternoon because Christmas Is Coming! Thank you, solstice. Thank you, snow day. Thank you, family. Thank you, advent. Thank you, readers!
One of my favorite parts of this weekend? The clouds. I only got a couple shots, but what is it about this cooler, windier, on-the-cusp-of-Autumn weather that creates such cool clouds? As Wren would say, “I dunno.” Enjoy!
We’re in the midst of the National Cherry Festival here in Traverse City and while I love my annual corn dog (check!) and ferris wheel ride (and elephant ear, ahem) just like the next fair-goer, the traffic and craze and dust and heat and cheese factor of it all gets to me after a few days. The girls and I were in need of a quick escape from it and I remembered there were some hosta gardens about twenty minutes away I’d heard about. People have been telling me about them for several years now, but I hadn’t made it a priority to go see them. And although it wasn’t on my summer list, it’s one of the best times I’ve had this summer.
Cedar Hedge Gardens (no hosta in the name at all!) is really a private home with four acres of Japanese-style gardens for wandering, chimes for listening, gongs for banging and ponds for gazing. It was just what we needed: calm, serene, beautiful. I wanted to take a really long, cool nap under the big trees with the elephantine hosta leaves to shade me. Aaaah.