Posted tagged ‘star’

“Memory is the space in which a thing happens for a second time.”

February 9, 2018

The sky is cloudy but bright. It is only 31˚, but the next three days will be warm. The prediction is for 48˚ each day. That’s almost tanning weather, no sunscreen necessary. Maybe a road trip is in order to take advantage of the warmth. I’ll open my car window and take in the sweet smell of the clean air.

Since the winter solstice, we have gained an hour of sunlight. It makes me hopeful that winter’s end is not so far away. February, though, is sometimes the snowiest month. I’ll just keep my knit hat and mittens handy.

In summer, the trees surrounding my deck are lit with candles hanging off the branches. In the backyard, solar lights shaped like flowers glow and a few strands of white lights are twisted around tree trunks. I always think my yard a fairyland, especially in July when the fireflies return and twinkle among the trees. Now, in the bleak winter, the one strand of lights around the deck fence has stopped shining. I need to replace it. I always love looking out the back window and seeing those lights.

I always think it is the darkness of winter which palls the spirit so I do my best to compensate. I keep white candles lit in the front windows, and their light shines across the dark lawn. This year I left my Christmas lights lit in the front. One is a giant star with a trail of lights. The others are multicolored. My neighbor across the street has called to thank me for leaving the lights shining. She said she loves looking out the window at my house.

Winter is my time of memories, of introspection. I don’t add much to my story, but I recall to mind the best parts. I smile a lot at the images in my mind’s eye. My journeys, my explorations, are the brightest memories.

During my travels, I learned a few things. I hate washing clothes by hand. I decided that for any trip of great length I’d pack ragtag underwear which I can just throw away. It isn’t a big deal for me to find any. I can just check my bureau drawer. The rest of my clothes can get so grungy they can walk away by themselves. I won’t care. I’m not washing them. I learned never to ask what I’m eating.  Many of the traditional foods are pets here, like the guinea pig in Ecuador. I think I can eat just about anything as long as I don’t know what it is and it isn’t slimy. Bras are a great place for hiding money. I had my pocket picked when I was at a train station in Ghana. I’d like that thief to try it now. Toilet paper, always carry toilet paper. Sometimes you get stuck and have to rush, and those hole in the ground toilets don’t have toilet paper. Just imagine. The middle of the bus and a seat near the window are usually the best. The aisle fills with standing people who hold on for dear life as the bus goes around corners but sometimes they fall, into the aisle seats. The front and the back of the bus are where people sit with their chickens or goats. Eat where there is a line, especially street food. Don’t shy away. It’s sometimes the best and is usually the cheapest. If everything pales compared to home, just stay home.

“You can’t get too much winter in the winter.”

February 11, 2017

The tree is gone, reduced to its smaller pieces and stacked on the side of my yard. The lawn is covered in snow, sawdust, small sticks and pine needles. The only victim of that tree is one section of my front fence. It is standing only because it is propped by a pine branch. Come spring, it will be replaced.

Last night it snowed another inch or so. This morning, the car was covered as was the path from the house, around the tree to the car. The walkway got shoveled after the tree was gone so I can now use it to get to the car. As I have to go out today, that’s a good thing.

The day is in the high 30’s so some melting is happening. The roof line of my house has icicles hanging from it. They look pretty, almost like a postcard: Welcome to Winter in New England. Speaking of ice, I’ll have to remember to spread the meltaway on the front steps. It will get below freezing tonight.

The sky is gray and looks to be threatening rain. The snow always gets ugly when it rains. It becomes pock-marked then disappears from all but the huge piles left by the plows. The best day is the day after the snowstorm when the snow is still beautiful and clean and sparkles in the sun. That was yesterday.

My Christmas lights still come on every night. The centerpiece is the star with trails of lights. It shines from the top of my driveway fence. Last night my neighbor called to thank me for leaving the lights. She was surprised to see they had made it through the storm, but, if she had looked, she’d have seen them covered with snow but still shining through on the night of the storm. I love the lights. I just can’t take them down. They are my defense. They keep the darkness of the winter’s nights at bay.

“The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature.”

December 8, 2016

I think the sun went on vacation. Yesterday it rained in the morning and stayed cloudy the whole day though it was warmer than I expected. Today is also drab and gray. I am so glad that I was out for quite a while on Tuesday, the first sunny day in a while. I took the highway down cape but came back Route 28. It was a beautiful ride. I passed the ocean a few times. It was low tide and the water was still. It had a grayish tone. I saw a wild turkey fly. I hadn’t ever seen one fly before. It took a lumbering leap into the air and over a fence. I wasn’t sure the turkey had the height but it did. When I was passing the cove, the only boats moored, other than a single sailboat, were fishing boats. Most needed paint and had nets and lobster traps on deck. They all looked weathered and old. In Chatham, the store where I wanted to shop was gone. It didn’t matter. I really enjoyed the ride.

Last night my house was aglow. The front fence has strands of colored lights. The gate has a huge white star on top with trails of white lights coming from it. The top of the fence to and from the star is also white. Beside the driveway, bare branches on a bush are covered in huge Christmas ornaments. A floodlight shines on them. My deck rail has strands of colored lights atop it. I added bows to the three wreaths, put balls of colored ornaments in the basket on the steps and put my old sled with my ice skates beside the step. When it got dark last night, I went outside and stood on the street to check out my house. It is beautiful.

I did what I thought was quite a bit of wrapping yesterday. Come to find out I have so much more. All of the gifts are now downstairs filling the den and the hall. Maddie, though, is complicating the process by lying on the paper. She looks so comfy I don’t want to disturb her. I’ll probably just use different paper.

Tomorrow I’ll get the tree, the highlight of my Christmas. I love to sit in the living room just to look at it. Its aroma fills the house. I have a couple of new ornaments from Ghana. They aren’t really ornaments, but they’re big, round and colorful. They’ll do just fine.

“Christmas cookies without sprinkles are like raisins without wrinkles, and like sleigh bells without tinkles are Christmas cookies without sprinkles”

December 17, 2012

A rainy dark day again today, but it is a warm day which makes the rain more tolerable. I need to go out to do a few errands a bit later, but I have a short list. Yesterday I had no intention of doing much, but I did. It all started with a potholder. I pulled one out of the drawer and found it had been gnawed. I was grossed out by the idea of a rodent in my kitchen drawer so I pulled out everything, threw away the gnawed and washed the washable. I scrubbed the drawer. In it I found a cache of rice from a bag of rice I had foolishly left in a cabinet. That beastie had to have carried each kernel through two cabinets and up to that second drawer. A feat of sorts I suppose. The rice came from a long time back so I doubt the beastie is still around. My cat has not cabinet watched for a long while. Now I can boast the neatest of kitchen drawers.

It was always an event when my mother made her Christmas sugar cookies. She had silver cookie cutters made from heavy aluminum. I remember a Christmas tree, a bell, a reindeer, Santa carrying his sack and a star. My mother did all the making, all the rolling and all the baking. We got the best job, the decorating. When the cookies were ready for our artistic touches, my mother would put on the table bowls of different colored frosting and sprinkles. My mother let us decorate any way we wanted. The trees, of course, were always green, but we decorated them with sprinkles and colored jimmies (the kind you put on ice cream which I know some of you call sprinkles. Around here they were and are jimmies). The sprinkles looked like sugar and were green or red. I’d concentrate so hard trying to sprinkle the red to look like loops of tinsel on my tree then use the colored jimmies for lights. Santa, of course, had a red suit, a white beard and a white pom-pom on the end of his hat. My sisters’ cookies were always thick with frosting. They were the heaviest to lift. The finished cookies were put on racks until the frosting was dry, but we each got to pick one to eat. Every time, we picked one of our own.

I have the same cookies cutters. One was my mother’s and the rest I collected along the way as did my sister Moe. I put the cutters out in a basket every Christmas. They remind me of that messy kitchen table, the bowls of icing and how proud we all were of our beautifully decorated cookies.