Tuesday, January 29, 2013

two sides of the same mountain

You are deep into winter. 

Over the last few weeks there have been enough warm days that you've found yourself trying to catch the scent of thawed earth, you flip dreamily through seed catalogs, and the back of your neck still remembers the feel of sunshine.

It is the last Tuesday in January and what you see are icicles, clouds, mountains of jacketsmittenshatsboots in the mudroom.  You take a deep breath.  You decide to own these last few weeks months of winter.  You put on this song because it makes you laugh and dance even while scrubbing crayon off the floor or giving the dog a bath after she rolled in something disgusting*.   You are going to squeeze every last bit of wintery goodness out before spring.  Hell yeah.

Your winter happyplace is the Grasshopper Valley.
Your mom is visiting from the islands and the two of you + kids head for the ski hill, the hot springs, the bluegold of winter sunshine.

Suddenly, the end of January is looking fantastic.
 photo 009-15_zpsd76d4cf9.jpg  photo 023-19_zpsd59a24ff.jpg  photo 016-18_zpsbfd6d5fd.jpg  photo 005-14_zpsef26393f.jpg  photo GetAttachment_zps0cf58656.jpg
You come back home with snowwearied bodies,
tangled hair and soggy mittens. 
Your mom hugs you and heads south.
Until June.

By Sunday afternoon,
you are back in the mountains,
on the east side this time.
Faces tip toward the swirl
of blue sky, sharp wind,
and cloud.  It is just you
and mountains as far
as you can see.
 photo 019-12_zps7a59da7f.jpg  photo 026-11_zps25069af6.jpg  photo 038-13_zps738919b4.jpg
 photo 063-12_zps80bb9c07.jpg  photo 043-9_zpsc7f3620b.jpg *Serious business, this.  photo 084-9_zpscaf66729.jpg
-Mike sledding down the road on our way home.  Where did I find this crazy man?-

*Thank you, Alli, for the song.
**Thank you, Mom, for helping me wash the disgusting dog.

Monday, January 21, 2013

weekend; drip thaw melt freeze

Mike and I got all
dressed up this weekend.
A friend's party,
faux diamond earings,
high heels (just me).

So rare for us
to look so glamorous.
So much fun.  photo 036-7_zps13a89c42.jpg The girls are so impressed
and pleasantly surprised
to learn their mama is in possession
of real princess shoes.
 photo 027-6_zps69399fe2.jpg
The rest of the weekend
was a bit less glamorous,
but no less dazzling.  photo 056-7_zps81214a46.jpg Our great snowfall is shrinking,
bowing down
to these bluebird days,
initiating the inevitable dance
of winter in Montana;
 photo 064-3_zps547c1858.jpg
Drip, thaw, melt, freeze
repeat until April.

Oh, but the sun
feels so good.
 photo 089-3_zpsdb956f42.jpg

 photo 083-2_zpsb30421f0.jpg  photo 068-7_zps3ee48b27.jpg Which of these geese is not like the others?

 photo 086-2_zps1badc762.jpg This little chicken was the first one to the top.

I cleaned the coop
and carried water
to the horse
in just a sweatshirt
today.  I have to stop myself
from counting, or thinking
that the first day of spring
is exactly two months away

because they're calling
for new snow
and single digits later
this week, and we know

it's true what the farmers say
to make hay while the sun shines.

Soak it up, my friends.
And stop looking
at the calendar.
 photo 046-6_zpsd00563f7.jpg

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

on luck, words, and dirt

Something small and amazing
happened in the last
twenty-four hours. 

I heard from a ranch,who last year
bought a weekly produce share
from me.

I had told them I would be charging more
this year for a produce share.
Quite a bit

And then I hadn't heard
for awhile.

But yesterday
they said yes,
yes please,
sign them up.
Because they value

what I do in the dirt
in the early cold mornings,
the late warm evenings,
with my kids, with my man;
the watering, thinning,
weeding, tending.
They said yes
to supporting my farm
for another year.
my farm, last summer

Does this mean
I'm a real farmer

Then today
I heard from Mamalode
about my article.
They will be
paying me
for my writing.
397 people read
my words,
and the editor said
keep writing,
keep submitting.

Does this mean
I'm a real writer

Were there ever two vocations
I wanted more?  Both depend so

much on determination,
confidence, and
blind faith. 

But there is something
in either form of creation
that still feels unspeakable,
something like

If growing seedlings
and growing words is what I get
to do with this life
than I will remain amazed

and in awe
of my good luck.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

three skirts, a song, and the sun

Then the storm ended.
The wind died
and the sun came out.
Photobucket After only a few days
of  cloudywhite skies
I was trying to keep
myself from counting
until spring.

I even went so far
as to prepare
for spring
in the form of three new skirts.
I like to reuse/repurpose
when I make things, so
my skirt is the bottom of an old knit shirt
with a simple casing & elastic,
Amelia's is new fabric on the outside
but lined with a piece from a soft vintage bedsheet,
Aven's is new fabric, but hemmed
with second-hand vintage bias tape.

Something old
something new.
They'll be warm enough
worn with leggings
for the next few weeks months.

*  *  *
I've been
listening over and over
to this song

Good dreamy winter music,
I think.
i threw stones at the stars
but the whole sky fell...

It's not the coolest video,
so just start it, then go
do something else

like sew a skirt
in the dead
of winter
while you listen.
gorgeous frost flowers blooming on the sides of my hoop house

*  *  *
This morning when I opened the door
to let Ruby (our dog)
outside, I couldn't believe
how suddenly warm
the air felt.

It was 7 degrees.

But after waking to -15
the last few mornings,
it felt downright balmy.
No wonder I'm thinking
about baring my legs.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

big cold

by midday i can see the sun-
a small rim of hollow light
in the enormous
white sky.
* * * * * Photobucket my car only makes it
halfway up the driveway
before it is pushing
snow with the hood.
i drive in reverse
all the way
to the highway
and walk
home through
the wind.
Photobucket in places the ground
is scoured bare,
while the next step
is a thighdeep
at home i stoke the fires
then head back out to feed.

the heifers huff warm steam
into my palm, bat
their huge frozen eyelashes.
i spread last years grass
in piles on the snow;
bright green and gold hay
looks so foreign
this deep in winter.
i carry a five gallon bucket
filled with water
out to the horse.
yesterday's water
is a block of ice
and he slurps happily
when i set the fresh
water down.  his lips
brush over my empty hands
in thanks.
Photobucket later i wait
at the bus stop
with the sled,
and pull amelia home
in the track left
by the truck.
Photobucket the world is so quiet-
it disappears into
white as far as i
can see. Photobucket

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

january stories

I am amazed by the way my memories are tied to the seasons.  Wading into the middle of January brings up so many things I hadn’t thought of for a long time. The view out my window is of bare branches and light sky, just like every January I can remember.  It feels the same, and different...every year.
The other day I heard a Pearl Jam song, and thought about the boy I knew who died fourteen years ago this January.  I had met him that night.  We talked and laughed with Eddie Vedder's voice in the background:  I wish I was the full moon shining off a Camero's hood...We’d been partners playing the board game, ‘Risk’ at a friend’s house; all of us back in Bozeman for our first long holiday as college students.  I shared a beer with him, both of us sipping from the same bottle.  A friend stood up and told a story of chance; how he'd made a deal with a professor, bet his final grade on the flip of a coin.  We cheered when he told us it landed on heads, an 'A'.  We cheered because we had always been young and lucky.  My new friend left before I did, driving out onto the icy highway, the heavy snow.  I passed the accident on my way home but didn’t realize.  Not until the next morning when the phone rang.

Or I think of the January I was twenty-three, fresh out of graduate school and preparing to abandon my life for a few months to live in a VW van, touring the Southwest.  I think of how simple it was to just set my life down for a season, then pick it up again, as I coasted back into Missoula that spring.
Drying Aven off after a bath the other night, I thought about my life two years ago, when I made the decision to stop nursing her, to finally separate our bodies.   For good.  And I wrote about this part of parenting, the deliberate letting-go that we do.  And that piece of writing sat buried in my computer for two years, until today.  Today, that piece was published by Mamalode.

You can read what I wrote
two years ago here.

Monday, January 7, 2013

on getting out

When the temperature crept into the twenties, then the thirties this weekend, I was ready to take advantage.   I needed to run.  My magical number is fifteen.  If it's at least fifteen degrees out, then I can be pretty confident that I will make it back from my run without any frozen body parts.  This rule has kept me from running (at all) the last few weeks.

But yesterday afternoon the thermometer miraculously rose to 35, and the planets aligned while my children went down for naps simultaneously, and the sun came out for the first time all day.  So I grabbed my ipod and my dog and took off.  I ran through the scrubby, rock-and-sagebrush-strewn hills north of my house- actaully feeling the sun warm my shoulders through my fleece vest.  It was so so needed, and so very good.

In the lull after the holidays, I find myself feeling a bit manic.  I feel utterly determined to wring every bit of winter goodness out of the next few months. 
018-12_zps7988b9fe The longer we live in southwest Montana, the more blown away I am by this place. Gorgeous wildness can be found in every direction.  The last few weeks we've spent a lot of time up in the Grasshopper, and I actually feel a bit overwhelmed by the place.  I catch myself humming Winter Wonderland, and grinning ridiculously as the bright winter sun floods my brain.  Blue skies, white mountains, hot springs, potty-trained kids...oh, life is good.002-13_zps4ef333ec
Amelia has mastered the rope-tow and the bunny hill ALL BY HERSELF!
Serene natural hot springs all to ourselves...but of course!


Days end with sleeping, long-underwear-clad children in the backseat, an me happily switching the car's cd player from Bill Harley (the girls' favorite) to something that mirrors the way I feel after a day of plunging through sugar-like snow and warm water; mellow and dreamy. 

I drive home slowly on the mostly-empty highway, watching color drain from the hills as the sun creeps down.  Smoke rises from the chimneys of the few houses I pass.  My car's heater hums.  In the fields closer to Dillon, antelope stand in groups, heads low, casting long leggy shadows.  In these minutes of my day, there is no other word than contentment.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

new year

As the year rolled over from 2012 to 2013, I was peeling a winter coat from Amelia's jammied body and slipping her between blankets in her bed.  Or I was hauling a laundry basket packed with snowpants, hats, camera, hot chocolate thermos, baby dolls, etc. through the thin-single-digit air from the trunk of my subaru into our woodstove-warmed kitchen.  Or I was letting the dog out then in, feeding the cat, turning on lights, soaking dishes in the sink, and picking up piles of original artwork and crayons from the floor.  To be honest, I'm not completely sure what I was doing when the clock struck midnight this year.
069-7_zpsbf5f9d0d my last photo of 2012

As I stopped moving and surveyed our slightly less messy kitchen, and Mike stood up from feeding a log to the woodstove, we looked at each other, looked at the clock, looked back at each other.  It was 12:07am.  We laughed.  And crawled into bed.

Our little family has had a very full fall.  Between Amelia starting kindergarten, Aven spending mornings in preschool, and me taking on a full load of education classes (p.s. straight-A's, my friends!) our days have been pretty tightly scheduled.  And what I really needed to recover from that, was exactly what the last few weeks delivered.  Slow mornings with coffee and books.  Ice skating on the frozen river at Bannack Ghost Town, skiing at our little local hill, and soaking in (both!) the natural hotsprings within an hour's drive of our front door. Days like these feed my soul in a way I can't even describe.
036-7_zps67342ff8059-7_zpsb667b282 Taking a deep satisfied breath as the year ends, and looking ahead, ready to rock the pants off 2013, is a good feeling. It's kind of like eating a s'more next to a crackling fire after sledding and ice skating all afternoon, surrounded by friends and family as the sun goes down.

It's kinda like that.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...