“Let them judge you. Let them misunderstand you. Let them gossip about you. Their opinions aren’t your problem. You stay kind, committed to love & free in your authenticity. No matter what they do or say don’t you dare doubt your worth or the beauty of your truth.” ~ Scott Stabile
Winter skies offer subtle sunsets. They also tend to remind me of Doctor Zhivago. I don’t know why, but there you have it. Anyway, I remember the first time I heard thunder snow. I was six or there ’bouts. We were living at Malone, out in the country. A big snow had come through earlier in the day. At the gloaming, a deep, low rumble sounded up the valley toward Caney. It was both lonesome and ominous and it seemed to go on forever. I remember so clearly standing in the yard waiting for something to happen. I don’t know what I thought it would be, but I knew thunder in winter was unusual. It was weird enough to warrant something spectacular, surely. Nothing happened. I got cold and went inside. Now, I’ve got a hankerin’ to watch Doctor Zhivago, which has absolutely nothing to do with thunder snow. Just go with me, people. Some days are just this convoluted and funny.
“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
There’s this place on Limestone between two buildings where you can see both Christ Church Episcopal and First Presbyterian Churches. On Monday, as Stacy and I were walking from Lowell’s, I stopped to snap a pic. I’d seen this view before, and I think I even snapped a pic, but it didn’t do anything for me, so I didn’t share it. This composition still doesn’t do it for me, but I love the reflecting colors of the buildings. One of these days I’m going to have the right lens with me at the right time of day in the right season and the way I see this scene from the sidewalk will magically appear as an image. Until then, I’ll keep practicing.
“Sometimes the strength within you is not the fiery flame all can see, it is just a tiny spark that softly whispers, ‘You got this. Keep going.'” ~ Unknown
Wally’s eyeliner was on full display in today’s new snow. Just a few days ago I was complaining that we’d been denied a healthy snow after all the buildup produced hardly more than a dusting. Then, suddenly, overnight, we got a good snow when only a dusting was predicted. Ah, Kentucky, how I love your fickle weather ways. UK called off classes and work, so Wally and I enjoyed some (more) time together in the great outdoors. I shoveled snow. He watched. Any extra time with him is alright by me, even if I do all the work.
“Find hope where there is none because no one is going to give it to you.” ~ Tsem Rinpoche
It’s cold. It’s January. Last winter was mild, and we paid the price when bug hordes came out of hibernation. This winter’s multiple Arctic freezes will, hopefully, stifle that rampant population come spring. It’s not too late to wish for more snow, though. It’s beautiful and brings with it a stillness and peacefulness that no other time can offer. A heavy fog is the only occurrence I can think of that comes close. In any case, one of the things I love about this cold period during the year is all the cooking I do. I always learn a lot, holed up in the house binging on whatever is on TV at the time, and channeling the Grandmothers. Let’s eat!
“Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.” ~ Unknown
This is not today. This was early January, the 5th maybe, when we got the only appreciable snow we’ve had this winter. The neighbors with little kids still had their Christmas lights up. Dad had just been released from the hospital after his stroke, and they were staying with me. It was down in the 20’s. I looked outside after dinner and suddenly the flakes were huge. By the time I got outside with a tripod they’d tapered off. Still, snow is beautiful and we can always do with a little more beauty. So, here’s some for us to enjoy during this rainy, warm winter.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
These tire tracks are a lot like a person’s life. You cross paths with a variety of people over the years. Some leave faint impressions, others deep, some messy, some nearly disappear as if they were never there. All of us make these connections every day. Together, we create a beautiful cross stitch pattern that sustains us throughout our lives. It’s very rare that I make the acquaintance of someone with whom I’m sorry I did so. In fact, off hand, I can’t think of anyone. Mind you, I’ve met a few I didn’t like, but they had plenty to teach me just the same. Rarer still, crossing paths with someone that imprints your heart from the very moment you meet them. One of those people was my friend Opal. You met Opal in the outhouse the first year, and she popped up again last year just before she turned 107. She has lived an exquisite life, the stuff of dreams, really; traveled everywhere, done everything. She was a maverick; a shero to many a crossing tread. So, it is not with sadness, but incredible gratitude that I bid Opal so long for now. Yesterday, she went on to her next great adventure. Now, we both have birthdays on January 8. Yet another thing we have in common. Thank you, Opal, for teaching me how cool behaves. May I live to be half as awesome as you.
“If somebody is a problem for you, it’s not that they should change, it’s that you need to change. If they’re a problem for themselves that’s their karma, if they’re causing you trouble that’s your problem.”
~ Ram Dass
I turned 52 today. Every year past 50 feels like a milestone. Maybe because so many people I loved didn’t get this far. Or maybe because I have my health so, unless an accident takes me out, I’m still firing all cylinders for a while. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I like it. This was one of the best birthdays I’ve had because I had only one thing planned; breakfast with Stacy at Winchell’s. It was, of course, excellent, and the perfect way to start a day that was sunny, albeit cold as a well digger’s s$$. I’m told it was cold like this when I was born. I also learned recently that I was late by four days. That pretty much set the tone for my life, because if you know me at all, then you know I am always, always, always late. I digress. Then there’s Wally. My, sweet, compassionate, faithful, smart boy. Late this afternoon I went to the Lexington Zen Center for the first time with Marlon as my guide. The reading talked about how we are all connected; to each other, everything around us, in us, on this planet, you get the picture. To truly understand connection, to my way of thinking anyway, requires a high degree of compassion. For instance, Wally loved dad’s dog, Crackerjack. We didn’t know how he’d take up with mom’s dog, Scrappy. Scrappy is fed in the morning. Wally gets supper. One night I fed Wally but he wouldn’t eat until I also gave food to Scrappy. Once the visiting dog had food in his bowl, only then would Wally eat. It was remarkable to see actually. Scrappy likes to mark his territory, so when there are no humans in the house he has to go in the kennel. One day last week I tried to leave Wally out of the kennel because he doesn’t need to be crated, but he wouldn’t have it. Scrappy was in the kennel, so he, too, must be in the kennel. It’s not that the dogs are close like Wally and Crackerjack were, they’re not. It’s that Wally has a sense of justice, compassion, loyalty; all the things we humans aspire to have and yet so often fall short of. I look at that little dog and I see God, plain and simple. He is a great teacher. I am grateful to still be on this plane connected with every little atom that comes my way, and I’m forever grateful for this little Buddha Jesus dog who teaches me the meaning of compassion every day.
“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” ~ Doris Lessing
This crucifix hangs outside the Catholic Newman Center on campus. After Matt’s fall last night I went on to my car, but when I pulled out of the parking lot, this crucifix caught my eye. It was stunning in the spotlight set against lightly drifting snow. Plus, parishioners were inside, so the stained glass windows were aglow. Naturally, I pulled over. Heavier snow would have made a better picture, but all in all, it’s still interesting. Plus, I found it a comfort after Matt’s spill in the road.
“Your mission today, should you choose to accept it: Be nice to someone today for no other reason than to be kind. The world needs your contribution of kindness.” ~ Patsy Crawford Carruthers
Today, was the first snow of 2017. The temp dropped, making road treatments nearly useless. It was the kind of snow that compacts easily then doesn’t melt. I left work, taking my time to photograph my walk when Matt, whom you met yesterday, caught up with me. We were having a lovely talk until we crossed Rose Street. The poor guy was in the middle of saying, “It’s nice to get back to some sense of normalcy….” and then he was on the ground. He was flat on his back in the street. The very nice man in the SUV got out to help. Matt said he wasn’t seeing stars, but he cut his scalp. It’s just not what the poor man needed. You see, his mother died just before Christmas from injuries sustained in a fall. It was a shock, and this week was Matt’s first time back to work in a month. “Welcome back. Here’s a concussion,” the Universe said. He assured me he was ok to drive, and promised to clean his wound when he got home. Snow is beautiful, but it can hurt ya, so be careful. And this picture of Matt acting like a kid catching snowflakes on his tongue? That’s the Matt I know and love. I’m sure glad I caught it.
“You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple…
The choice does not belong to fate. It belongs to you.”
~ Josh Shipp
Wally was very excited to see snow. It was shallow enough to be fun without swallowing him whole. I must say it does my heart good to open the door and have someone greet me with such enthusiasm. Dog: they’re good for the soul.