October Snow

Today marks the first snow of the season.

Snow has now coated the roads, the grass and the trees with their unfallen leaves still in the process of changing.

Some people don’t like the snow. All it reminds them of is the slippery roads, the cold, the fact that they’ll have to clean their cars off and the idea that snow is basically a nuisance.

Others, like me, love the snow. The first snow means the beginning of winter. It brings memories of warm sweaters, cozy blankets, soft hats and scarfs, hot chocolate or a warm cup of tea, snowball fights, building snowmen, taking a winter walk and admiring its beauty as each flake glides to the ground.

I always think there’s something special about that first snow. It’s like a first kiss – winter’s first kiss.

And it’s beautiful and breathtaking as it happens.

Advertisements

First Snow

The first snow was beautiful and fierce at the same time. It started late at night, when the world is quiet and still, yet, bursting with life. Tiny white flakes fluttered to the ground, covering the earth in a blanket of white.

When morning came, it was ice that fell from the sky. No longer were there soft flakes, but ice slicing through the dull overcast and pelting the ground. In time the temperatures rose and it all turned to rain.

There was still something beautiful about all the ice on top of the snow. It sparkled like stars under the street lamps. Icicles hung from the hoods of cars, and roofs of houses. Tree branches and plants were encased in an icy shell. And it was lovely.

The once lush, green grass is still covered in snow. I believe it is here to stay. At least for a few more months.

And despite the cold, I love this weather – the winter wonderland.

This Time of Year

There might not be any snow.

It might feel like spring.

But this is still one of the most wonderful times of the year. Of course, I wish all the rain we’ve been getting was snow (for many reasons), but there’s still a magic in the air. I think it’s called the holiday season – the food and giving of gifts and joy and laughter and a million other tiny things that comes with it.

I’ve always loved this time of year, the whole month of December. Maybe as a writer I should be able to describe it more, but it’s a feeling I get this time of year and it’s almost as if there are no words that will do it justice.

I want to wish each and every one of you a very safe and Merry Christmas. I hope you enjoy every moment with your family, friends, and loved ones.

Forget Fear

Yesterday I was invited to go ice skating. I jumped at the chance; the chance to spend time with my friend, to get out of the house, to meet new people and to do something new.

It dawned on me later that day that this was definitely going to be something new. The last time I was on ice skates, I was 5 years old. It didn’t turn out well. I was on my butt more then my feet, even though I had one of those bars you could hold onto and push across the ice. My parents had signed me up for ice skating lessons and all the kids had these bars. I can’t speak for the others, but I remember hanging on for dear life while the instructors tempted us to move forward with cookies. That was their teaching method; cookies. While I am quite the cookie monster, it might have been helpful if they showed us how to move our feet and stop, among other things. No, instead they stuck us out on the middle of the ice with a bar for balance (a lot of good that did) and expected us to be able to skate toward the cookie. Sorry, but learning something new isn’t magic. It takes hard work and practice. I don’t remember the day perfectly, but I do remember leaving the ice crying and never putting on a pair of skates again…until last night.

I’m sitting on a bench outside the rink, putting on my rented skates, when I realized I don’t know how to lace skates. I refused to ask how to lace a pair of ice skates and decide I could figure it out, which I did (that was the easy part). My friend stood up and asked if I was ready to go.

“You know I’m going to fall down as soon as I stand up?” I said.

He kind of laughed. (If I didn’t know this guy since high school, I may have thought he was laughing at me instead of at what I said.).

I stood up and gained my balance before walking to the rink with no problems. It felt a little strange, walking on nothing but a single blade, but I think this, like lacing them, was also the easy part.

When I stepped onto the ice, I was holding onto the side. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to move because I was afraid of falling. And yes, I know the possible irony of the situation. I agreed to go ice skating when I was afraid of falling, when I hadn’t been on a pair of skates since I was a kid. I told my friend this and he asked why I wanted to come. Why did I want to come? Well, for all the reasons I already listed. Plus, if you don’t try new things you just end up sitting around doing nothing. What kind of life is that? Not a life I want.

So that’s how I ended up standing on the ice with zero skating ability and an unwillingness to let go of the side.

As for falling, it wasn’t so much that I was afraid of falling in itself, but falling on my face. I’ve had too many close calls with my face. In the past, my falls have had me leading with my face, which is something you never want to do, if you can help it.

I didn’t want to hang onto the side forever, so I forgot about falling (possibly on my face) and let go. My friend was nice enough to offer me his hand (which I held onto almost all night) and helped me around the ice. He even started teaching me how to skate (no balance bar or cookies included…although I could have went for the cookies). He’s a good teacher too, but it only took two minutes for me to end up on my butt. I was sprawled out on the ice laughing. When I stood back up it only took another two seconds before, somehow, I was losing control, spinning in the opposite direction and careening into my friend.

Laughing. Lots of laughing.

If you can’t laugh at yourself, well, you have to be able to laugh at yourself.

I certainly was laughing at myself last night.

Once I was pointed in the right direction, and holding onto my friend, we were off. Rather, he was off. I looked like Bambi learning how to walk.

Slowly, I learned, although, the second time I fell I was standing still. It was as if someone came and knocked my feet out from under me. I’m not really sure what happened, but I laughed about it. I mean, have you ever tried standing up on ice when you’re already off balance? It’s not easy. And laughing makes it a lot harder.

My final fall was pretty graceful. I’m not sure what happened there either. I just know one minute I was on my feet and the next I was on my butt, the cold ice seeping through my jeans.

Laughing. Always laughing.

My friend even left me for awhile to do some laps on his own, which was fine because I didn’t want to hold him back. He looked like a pro the way he was zipping around the ice, at least compared to me. Apparently he wanted to give me time to “take the training wheels off” and “spread my wings.”

That’s just it though, isn’t it? Eventually we have to spread our wings and see how far we can go on our own. Sure we might fall flat on our butt or back or hip or some other part of our body, but it’s all part of the learning process. When you fall, you have to get up again. You can’t be afraid to do or try things because then you just end up sitting around. What kind of life is that? No life I want.

Everything that’s new is scary at first, but if it’s something you want to do, then, you should try it.

Half the things that I’ve done in my life would never have happened if I stayed afraid of doing them. When I worked for newspapers, every day was an adventure. I rarely knew what I was doing or where I would be going on any given day. I never expected to climb into the cockpit of a WWII plane or hop on the back of a motorcycle with a complete stranger as part of the Honor Flight escort. Outside of work, I never expected to walk down the back ally behind the venue at 16 to meet my favorite band, to run my college newspaper, to ask some of the questions I’ve asked to get to where I want to be (the worse thing a person can say is “no”), to enter my stories in contests and send them to literary magazines (my rejection pile is growing, but one day my acceptance pile will begin to grow too), to do all the things that I’ve done.

I never expected to be the writer or photographer I am today.

I never expected to be the person I am today.

Experiences shape us.

Experiences are called living.

It’s alright to be afraid, but we shouldn’t let fear rule over us. These become obstacles and the things we must over come.

I believe there are no boundaries in life, only the ones we make for ourselves.

So, yes, I went ice skating. I had no clue what I was doing. I may have held onto my friend the for the majority of the time and possibly crushed a few bones in his fingers, but I learned to skate (sort of). And yes, I did fall (and yes I ended up with a bruise the size and color of a plum), but at least I can say I tried something new. At least I can say I lived. And most importantly I can say I had fun and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Christmas Comes Once A Year

This is meant to be the season of joy, of peace on earth and good will to men, but with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it sometimes speeds by without us enjoying a single moment.

As of today there is only six days until Christmas. So take the time between work and shopping and everything else life throws at you and enjoy those special things this time of year has to offer. After all, Christmas come once a year.

Below is a list of twenty-five of my favorite Christmas things (in no particular order). I could have made a longer list (since I love this time of year), but decided a list of twenty-five was long enough.

1.) spending time with family/friends
2.) snow
3.) decorating the tree
4.) Christmas music
5.) hot chocolate
6.) baking cookies
7.) watching Christmas movies
8.) building snowmen
9.) sledding
10.) warm, fuzzy scarves
11.) gingerbread
12.) snowball fights
13.) candy canes
14.) sending/receiving Christmas cards
15.) singing Christmas songs
16.) shopping for presents to give to family/friends
17.) the joy of Christmas morning
18.) the peacefulness of Christmas Eve night
19.) pretty lights
20.) fuzzy socks
21.) cute hats
22.) Christmas dinner with family
23.) catching up with friends
24.) peppermint tea
25.) sharing the joy of the season with others

What are some of your favorite things about this time of year?

Something Magical

Something special happens this time of year when a chill enters the air and the first white flakes fall from the sky. They drift slowly at first, gliding down to earth, and land light as a feather on the ground. As the snow piles up, blanketing the ground, the world around begins to turn into a winter wonderland.

I love this time of year. Yes, it’s cold. Yes, my hands are often freezing. Yes, it snows a lot where I live and yes, sometimes, I complain about all of it, but as I sit at the window watching the snow fall, none of it matters.

Every year I patiently wait for the first snow. The signs slowly reveal themselves; the dull, gray sky, the cold bite in the air. It’s all signs of snow and once that first flake falls I know it has just begun.

How many times as a child did you anticipate the first snow? How many times did you wish for enough so you would have a snow day? How many times did you stand outside, bundled up, looking to the sky as you tried to catch a snowflake on your tongue? How many snowmen did you build or hills did you sled down? How many cups of cocoa did you drink with mini marshmallow to warm yourself?

Unfortunately, once you’re in the working world there’s no such thing as a snow day. You go to work whether it’s snowing or not, but everything else is the same, at least for me.

Maybe it’s a bit of nostalgia for my childhood. Maybe I’ll just always be a kid at heart, but either way I still build snowmen and catch snowflakes and go sledding. I still drink cocoa with mini marshmallows.

I love this time of year.

About a week ago we had a two-day snowstorm. I sat at the bay window in my house, watching the snow fall. Of course it was mixed with rain and sleet, but when it was snow, it looked lovely. It came down in giant clumps, a ton of little snow crystals hugging each other as they drifted from the clouds to the ground. After the storm the world appeared transformed. Snow covered the ground and roads. It laid on power lines, trees and bushes. It was beautiful and peaceful. I decided to go on a winter walk and there was something magical about it.

As a writer I feel as if I should be able to put it all into words, but it’s something that I can’t describe. Any description I could come up with wouldn’t do the beauty of this picturesque scene justice. Maybe that’s the true beauty of it, the real magic. Maybe it’s all in the way I feel about it, the joy I receive from snow, from the little things I use to do as a child and still do today.

Some of my favorite memories have come with snow.

Yes, it’s cold and sometimes the cold and snow almost last a little too long, but it’s beauty outweighs the cold.

There’s something special about this time of year. The snow turns the world into an icy kingdom as flakes flutter to the ground. It’s a winter wonderland and it’s magical.

 

What are some of your favorite winter memories? Feel free to comment below.