First Thing Ski

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Waking to 4″ of fresh, fluffy powder on the snowmobile trails that cross our yard calls for one thing, first thing.  A quick cross country ski, before the snowmobiles are out, while we have the trails to ourselves and get to make the first tracks.  Our skis catch the new snow just enough to climb the hills and then is slick and quick on our downhill runs.

David and I do double hills.  There are two good slopes on our regular route and as we climb each one we turn around then shoot back down. Climb again and continue our ski, then get to do the downhill again on our way home.

This morning we were out early enough that the sun was just starting to light the trees, a peach sky above the beech leaves that are still hanging on, hung with snow.

I have a lot going on right now (when don’t I?) with commitments and lists and tasks I have to get done on deadline.  But there needs to be room in my day for a ski, first thing.

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Wind and Snow

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Clouds of loose snow blow across the fields and past the house.  As long as there’s any dry snow in the world to the west of me, it makes its way past my windows.  Every path I shovel gets packed with hard, dry drifts that lift like bricks as I shovel again. 

We came home late at night two weeks ago after a windy storm and a snake of drifted snow curled out of the walkway to where we parked the car.  I stepped over the first, knee-high drift on my way to the porch to get a shovel  The next ridge was waist high and I plunged up to my thighs.   It was impossible to tell from our yard how much snow had fallen in the storm.  It was all drifts and mounds and long lips along ridges of white.

Our ski tracks across the field filled in this morning in the hour we were out.  It wasn’t snowing, just blowing.  We’d skied though woods to the edge of another field where the wind had sculpted pockets around the trees where we stopped.

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Now gusts grab chunks of packed snow from the roof and fling it down into the stream whipping through the yard.  The whistle and whisk of the wind turns into a long murmur and then a slap, slap, slap and bang as the shovels on the porch slip around.

The maple in the yard loses another dead branch.  The hills in the distance are foggy with their own wind storms and above it all the sun has come out, last night’s storm has swirled itself out to sea and here on the edge of the great circle the wind keeps turning the corner and scrubbing my world.

Another Story

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A flock of robins has been flapping around my yard this week, lifting off from the maple outside my study window to fly to the garden and pick at shriveled globs that used to be apples, still hanging from bare branches.  They’re also eating the berries on the barberry bushes, leaving bright red splotches of bird droppings in the snow under the maple tree. Puffed up against the frigid temperatures and wild wind, as if making their feathers into bulky coats, their orange breasts are a welcome touch of color in the monochrome landscape of bare trees, white pines harboring darkness under their boughs and snow.

Anyone who lives in the southeastern part of New Hampshire knows that snow and snow and then more snow has been our story for the last couple of weeks.  I went to a Martin Luther King Day Commerative at the University of New Hampshire last week, to hear Natasha Trethewey deliver the Commerative Presentation, which turned out to be her talking about how she came to write her poems, a selection of which she then read. Stunning.  And encouraging to realize a woman of color could be so highly celebrated, even appointed U.S. Poet Laureate, for writing direct and accessible poems about our country’s history of racism and power imbalances.

So what does that have to do with robins and snow?  One of the speakers before Trethewey said that courage has been called the willingness to tell your story wholeheartedly.  That got me thinking about stories, in particular my story, or stories, as I think about the next steps in my writing projects — getting back to my novel to get it in shape for readers, and then reengaging with my memoir.  I was at a meeting a couple of weeks ago and we were discussing someone who had mentioned she was writing a memoir.

“She’s writing a memoir?” a woman at the meeting said.  “As if her life is that interesting.”

“I’m writing a memor,” I said and the woman replied with something about my life being interesting enough to write about.  She was covering herself, because she hardly knows me and has no idea what my story is, or what part of my story I’m putting in the memoir.

And it also made me think about this blog and the blogs I follow.  They tell stories, some large, some tiny, the most successful translating some part of a life into a narrative interesting enough that others want to read it.

So what is today’s story, or the story of the last couple of weeks when I haven’t managed to post anything on my blog?  I’ve been busy being Mimi to another new baby.

 

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I’ve been working on both volunteer and consulting projects that always seem to chew up more time than they should.  I’ve not been writing much (as evidenced by the lack of blog posts) but I did go to a party with bigger-than-life-size super hero balloons and spent time batting Spider Man up in to the air to float above me.  That was a first.

 

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I’ve been skiing every day I can and shoveling snow every day I have to, which has been most days.

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I’ve been watching the robins try to make it through this very wintry weather and anthropromorphisizing their regret at not having migrated this year.  Does this make a story?  It’s made for a very full couple of weeks anyway.