Mid-January Snow, Beautiful and Seasonally Appropriate

Our first big snow of the new year arrived like a polite and thoughtful visitor:  with plenty of advance notice and on a weekend, allowing time to prepare.  We even managed, for the first time ever, to put two cars in the garage.  Here in Northern Virginia, it was a modest, unobtrusive snowfall; the flakes were often so fine as to be barely visible.  But it was persistent, steadfast.  By Sunday morning, about seven inches had accumulated.  That afternoon, there was a brief lull, prompting my husband to break out the snow blower too soon.  Well into the evening, the flakes floated down, tiny and delicate.  Our final total was ten inches.  A perfect amount, it turns out, for Kiko to romp through with ease and zest.

After our cool, wet spring, the drenching, unrelenting rains of a warm fall, followed by an arctic blast and snow in early November, it was refreshingly odd to experience a taste of weather that actually suited the current season.  A deep but manageable snow in mid-January!  How quaint!  How so last century!  And how very pleasant!

It was the perfect snow.  The only thing less than ideal was that our daughter, who appreciates frozen precipitation in every form, couldn’t be here to enjoy it with us.  She was home for nearly a month, but the winter break had drawn to a close, too quickly.  On Saturday morning, well before the first snowflake appeared, she was on her way back to Charlottesville to begin the second semester of her second year.

I’m thankful that my furry child completed his formal education years ago (a few weeks of puppy training, which had a negligible effect on his behavior) and remains home to keep me company.

Merry Christmas 2018

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King;

let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing,

and heaven and nature sing,

and heaven, and heaven, and nature sing!

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May the light of God’s love dwell in you now and always.

May you share that sacred light with those around you in the darkness of our troubled world.

And may the joy of Christmas fill your heart all year long!

Holiday Advice from Kiko: Just Chill

During the height of pre-Christmas hubbub, as the humans in our household fret the fine points of preparing for the season, Kiko maintains his air of customary quiet serenity.

He is the tranquil eye of our holiday storm.

He gifts us with his presence as we wrap gifts.

Kiko keeps calm as we carry on.

This December I’m taking Kiko’s comforting presence to heart.  I’ll step back from the edge when I feel myself about to plunge into holiday overdrive.  My gifting will focus less on those who have everything and more on those who have little.  I will say no to some proposed, supposedly festive activities.  Our Christmas cards will become New Year’s cards, sent out in early January.  Maybe mid-January.

I’d like to hold my little dog up as some kind of spiritual mentor.  I could pretend that he’s a holy fellow, engaged in prayerful contemplation, actively resisting the rampant secularization of Christmas.  Clearly, Kiko abides “in that place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God,” as in the words of a favorite hymn.

But I know he simply enjoys a good snooze.  Apparently, as a senior dog, he needs to sleep more now than during his teen years.  And should he wish to help with gift-wrapping or cookie-making, he lacks the hands to do so.

But my handsome dog, lying in sweet repose, reminds me that I can allow myself a time-out.  Every once in a while, I join him on the sofa for a nap.

Typically, Kiko endures my company for only a short while.  Then he gets up, stretches, shakes vigorously and resettles on the floor.  Please, he says, don’t mistake his desire to snooze for a need to cuddle.  Unless there’s a chance of thunder, of course.

For a post on Kiko’s only fear, see Evading the Terrible Thunder Monster, April 18, 2013. 

From the Archives: Favorite Christmas Posts

Back in the days when Wild Trumpet Vine was young, I managed to compose many Christmas-themed posts.  How did I find the time?  I have no idea, except that I was younger then, too.  And evidently I had more to say.  December has only just begun, but if the past few years have taught me anything, it is this:  the month will dash by as though in a sudden sprint.  December moves at warp speed.  Much like last year and the one before, there will be little time in these short, dark days for writing.  So, from the Archives, posts for the season, which I conveniently grouped together this time last year.  Some deal with surface treatments, the baubles and the glitz, and others dive deeper.

 Favorite Christmas Posts, December 1, 2017 

And Now, Winter in November

Winter, it seems, has lost patience with Fall’s indecisive performance.  Citing erratic attendance, lack of enthusiasm,  failure to fulfill responsibilities, and a prevailing aura of general ineptitude, Winter has pressed for, and now accepted, her predecessor’s letter of resignation. Fall admits that her heart just wasn’t in it this year.  

And so on this November 15, the Northern Virginia area is experiencing our first “Winter Weather Event.”  A mixture of frozen precipitation has been falling since the pre-dawn hours.  Schools were first delayed, then soon cancelled, as the snow-like substance continued to fall, and to accumulate.   

In this season of confusion, unexpected sights:  snow on roses and red maple leaves, and autumn leaves on snow. 

Several hours ago, the snow turned to rain.  The neighborhood streets are rivers of slush.  My boots, it turns out, are no longer waterproof.   

From an undisclosed, pleasant-all-year location, Fall looks up from her Guava Colada, lays aside her Kindle and remarks with a wide smile, My, my, could Winter be having second thoughts about starting work five weeks early?  Now who lacks enthusiasm?       

Fall, Offered Sparingly

The look and feel of fall has been slow to arrive in Northern Virginia this year.  The brilliant hues of autumn, in skies and foliage, have been largely absent.  Thanks to persistent and soaking rains, the landscape is washed in the dullest of grays and browns, like those of an old trench coat.  Like the one that hangs in my closet, ugly but utilitarian.  And during these frequent fall downpours, too often worn.  It’s only within the last week or so, now that many trees have lost their leaves, that others are finally beginning to show some color. 

When the sun does emerge from the clouds and lend its brightness for a while, we’re not accustomed.  Above, Kiko appears bewildered by the glowing golden vision ahead.  Below, a few images of fall’s all too rare and fleeting glory.

Yesterday Kiko enjoyed the unusual luxury of morning sunshine on my mother’s deck.  Today the rain is back, and a winter-worthy chill is headed our way for the weekend.  Gather ye sunbeams while ye may.  And hold on to that old coat, or pass along to someone who needs it more than you.   

Vote 2018

For the first time, my mother and I went to the polls together.  She’s a new Virginia voter.  We spent three hours at the DMV in early October to trade her Georgia driver’s license for an official Virginia ID card, so a little rain on election day couldn’t stop us. 

Let your voice be heard.  Go vote! 

Halloween Update

Things have a way of working out swimmingly for our skeleton friend Slim, especially on Halloween.  Merrily and swiftly, he piloted his pack to Charlottesville without incident, arriving at UVA with plenty of time for trick-or-treating on the Lawn.  In a costume-wearing crowd, the unadorned authenticity of the group stood out.  Slim was greeted as a celebrity (as he typically is, wherever he goes).  Our daughter, who was there with friends, soon spotted her old buddy, the center of attention in a multitude of admirers. 

D was dressed as Barf the Dog from the movie Spaceballs.  She wore my 1980s Banana Republic khaki jumpsuit, furry ears and the appropriate make-up.  Slim approved, as he’s an avid Mel Brooks fan, and the pack welcomed her as one of their own.  

  

Kiko rapidly got his fill of the festivities and the press of the throng.  He retreated to the shelter of a stately column and resumed his nap.   And as for costumes, he says no.  Since submitting reluctantly to an ill-fitting red fleece vest (made by my mother without access to any actual measurements) for his first Christmas card photo, he wears only his own fur.  Should he encounter a costume-wearing canine, more than a trace of condescension is evident as he sniffs a greeting. 

Slim, ever the people person, could have mixed and mingled until the wee hours, but he honors his commitments.  Just as his faithful lead dog, Fluffy, was about to point out the time, Slim began to say his goodbyes.  The Crew was needed back in Northern Virginia.  They would not disappoint.  I’ve learned not to doubt my friend’s word.  His integrity is beyond reproach.  Plus, he seems to be able to bend time according to his whim.  Just as I was putting the tea lights in our jack-o-lantern votives, the car zipped up the driveway. 

The gang hopped out and assumed their places.  They’re good at freezing in position, so as not to frighten the unsuspecting.  Kiko looked out the storm door to assess the situation, sighed and retired to the sofa.  The night was only just beginning for Slim and the Crew.  But Kiko can only take so much Halloween. 

Until next year, folks!  Goodnight! 

A blog about motherhood, marriage and life: the joys and frustrations, beauty and absurdity, blessings and pain. It's about looking back, looking ahead, and walking the dog.