Posted tagged ‘icicles’

“About the woodlands I will go / To see the cherry hung with snow.”

January 5, 2014

I have rejoined the world. My car is on the street should I choose to travel anywhere. The steps are shoveled as is the walkway. A path leads to the bird feeders so I can keep them filled with seed. Gracie hadn’t ventured further than the bottom of the steps where I had my little adventure the other day, but today she is roaming under the deck for a bit more privacy. Gracie is the mistress of all she surveys as she sits on the deck to keep an eye on the neighborhood. She has been outside most of the morning.

It is warmer than it has been. Icicles are hanging from my roof and getting longer from the drips. One is nearly to the ground. I put paw friendly de-icer on the front steps as they were slippery when I went to get the papers. With my history, a fall would have been inevitable, but I have saved myself from injury and indignity.

Fold laundry and vacuum pine needles are the only jobs on my to-do list. The day is a gray one and not at all inviting. Because I have no need to be out, I’ll shower and put on cozy clothes again.

If I were a kid again, I’d be out sledding. Around here the golf course is the big sledding spot, but where I grew up had plenty of choices. I did go to the Winchester Golf Club once when I was in high school. I was with my friends Bobby and Jimmy. We had a toboggan with wings. On the way down, we flew off the hills a couple of times and landed hard but never fell off. Jimmy, sitting on the end, almost did but I, in the middle, grabbed him. It was a spectacular run and we lugged the toboggan up the hill to take more flights. We were the only ones who dared to ride that hill.

We had wooden sleds with metal runners. A rope was tied to the steering bar in the front so we could pull the sled up the hill. I remember that rope froze after only a couple of runs. We always rode down the hill on our stomachs. We’d hold the sled, run as fast as we could then jump on once we were at the start of the hill. We’d put our feet in the air so they wouldn’t stop us until we needed them as brakes. The steering was always iffy at best. It was a quick ride then a longer walk back up the hill. We’d sled all afternoon until we couldn’t feel our feet or hands. When it was time to go in, I’d jam my sled in the snow in the backyard, walk down the stairs to the cellar and take off all the wet clothes. Every so often my mother would make us cocoa, “…to warm the innards,” as she sometimes said, but more often I’d get into bed to read and get warm under the covers.

Getting a new sled for Christmas was always one of the great gifts.

“Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence.”

December 8, 2013

The sun is among the missing again. It is a bit colder than it has been, down to 34˚. I guess the big chill is headed this way so we need to brace ourselves. I can already feel the breeze from the dog door so the back door will have to stay shut. Gracie won’t mind as she doesn’t like being out in the cold too long. She hasn’t a lot of fur. She prefers lying on the couch on her afghan while the heat blasts keeping all of us warm. Nothing dumb about dogs!

I am slow to start this year. Usually my house is already beginning to look a lot like Christmas. My sisters have their trees up and one sister is just about done decorating while the other is well along. I’ll start this week and do a bit each day. My back better hold up for the duration. I love when the house is filled with Christmas.

When I was a kid, our decorations were a bit worse for wear. Many of them were cardboard Santas and snowmen we always put on the windows near the stenciled white snowflakes. Many ornaments were plastic though the best of them was glass. I have several of the small glass ornaments as my mother gave each of us a bag of them for our trees. They take the longest to hang as I hold each one for a while and let the memories of those long ago Christmas seasons wash over me.

Our trees were never showcases. There were bare spots where there should have been more branches. We used to put Christmas cards inside near the trunk in the spaces. I also remember a Coca-Cola Santa who had a prime spot in the middle. The tinsel was silver and my mother always put it on the tree. She was into draping it from branch to branch. The icicles were the old lead ones which hung so well from their own weight. They never stuck to our clothes the way the new ones do. My mother was right. The icicles always looked better hung individually than flung on in piles, our method for putting them on the tree.

I think we always had the prettiest, most colorful trees. Bare spots went unnoticed. We just saw the lights, the ornaments and the icicles hanging off branches and shimmering with reflective colors. My mother would put a few wrapped presents under the tree. We aways knew they were the pajamas.

We could hardly wait until it got dark. We’d run and turn the bulbs on in the orange window candle lights, and one of us would turn on the outside lights then we’d plug in the tree. Every night we were in awe when the lights came on because the tree was magnificent.

“Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence.”

December 1, 2012

Rainy and chilly this morning, but that will be changing in the next couple of days to warm and sunny. I almost can’t wait. The sun has been missing for so many days the world almost seems post-apocalyptic. Exaggeration you’re thinking? Not so says I who has seen so many science fiction movies. I know post-apocalyptic!!

Two spawns of Satan were at the feeders this morning as were two birds I haven’t seen dining on the deck before. I looked them up, and they were white-throated sparrows. Nuthatches and woodpeckers have been by every day, but I haven’t seen my chickadees, the usual stalwarts. The new suet feeder has been seeing quite a bit of action as has the older one I rehung. The birds seem to like where it is now.

The errand on tap today is fun. I need wreaths as the outside lights go up tomorrow. I’ll be happy, even in the rain, to wander through the garden center filled with the scent of Christmas.

When I was young, I don’t ever remember caring what the tree looked like before it was decorated. It was always a wonder. My father would bring it in and set it up in the corner where the TV console usually sat. He’d get on his stomach and slide under the lowest branches to tighten the screws on the tree stand into the trunk. My mother usually held the tree as straight as she could while my father tightened. I remember the fully decorated tree falling down a few times. Once my brother and I were home alone when it fell. I held it up while he tried to fix it firmly into the stand. My father took to using wire or string attached to the tree trunk then to the wooden part of the windows so the tree would have extra support.

It was always agony waiting for a couple of days for the tree branches to fall in a good way, to spread out after being enclosed for travel. Once they did, we could decorate. We all had traditional jobs. My father was in charge of the lights, the old kind of lights where one bulb knocked out the whole set. He has his system for testing to find the culprit. Once the lights were on, my mother strung the tinsel in loops around the tree. She has a vision as to how it should look. Then it was our turn. We got to put the ornaments on, except for the really big beautiful ones my mother always hung on the top branches away from us. My sisters were young and shorter so they did the lower branches. We always oohed and ahhed over the ornaments as if we’d never seen them before. Last were the icicles (though for some they’re called tinsel). We’d hang them one at a time off branches then we’d throw them in piles on the tree out of boredom.  My mother usually finished the tree. She’d remove those gobs of icicles we’d thrown and individually hang each one. She took her time, and the tree was always beautiful.

“It looks like something out of Whittier’s “Snowbound,”‘ Julia said. Julia could always think of things like that to say.”

January 22, 2012

About 8 or 9 inches of snow fell yesterday. The stuff is pretty, no question about it, but pretty never lasts long enough. I got plowed out last night by my factotum but a bit more fell, mostly from the ocean effect, but because it was warmer earlier this morning, the new snow melted off the walkway, the car windshield and the roof. Icicles now hang off the roof edge. They look like teeth needing orthodontia. It’s cold, only 31°, and the sky is gray cloudy.

I’ll watch the Pats play the Ravens this afternoon. If I had tickets to the game, I’d probably give them away. I can’t imagine sitting in the stands and freezing. A warm living room, good food and a close bathroom are far more important to me. I doubt there would be enough layers to keep me warm.

Gracie’s friend Cody dropped by to visit late yesterday. Both dogs had so much pent-up energy they ran and ran chasing each other. Gracie also did her laps around the perimeter three times in a row. When she came inside, her tongue was hanging to her knees, at least to what I think are her knees.

The cape is pretty flat, but the golf course has one perfect hill for sledding. I’m betting there’s a crowd of kids there now despite the cold. Opportunities to speed down a hill are too rare to pass up. Our old wooden sleds are from a bygone era. Kids now spin their way to the bottom on flying saucers or snow tubes. My old wooden sled is standing outside my front door with skates hanging from the steering. It is one of my winter decorations. I love the way it looks and the memories it brings to mind.

I have to the dump today. On days like today the dump is freezing. The wind rushes furiously across the treeless plain. I always imagine that’s what a gulag must be like.