Winter Wonderland

Winter 2019 WRitingeditedI know many people who live in “snowy” zones are often either fantasizing about a tropical vacation or waiting to retire and move to a warmer climate.

Not me, though.  Although I’m getting a teensy bit tired of the constant white and gray and brown landscape, mornings like this one, with a brilliant blue sky, make my heart sing.

I’m a winter baby, so maybe I’m just predisposed to enjoy this season. I enjoy the cold, snow, howling winds, crystal clear skies, frosted tree branches, and the fresh silence of the air after a snowfall.

This photo is of a street near my house this morning, as I drove off on the 40 minute journey to my teaching job. We had another six inches of fresh snow last night, and the plows are having a tougher time piling it up on the sides of the street. But isn’t it beautiful?  All fresh and cleanly white. 🙂

Sailors Take Warning….

imageIt’s been awhile since I blogged. Much is happening with some family members and other elements of life outside of teaching and writing that has been taking up more of my time that usual. Punctuating this is a fall I took on the ice that caused me to crack my head hard enough to require a trip to the ER. Ultimately, I’ll be fine, but I’m not as young as I used to be, and the goose egg on my head and lower spine, combined with lots of achy stiffness, is slowing me down.

But this is a pic I snapped this morning on my way out the back door to drive to my teaching job 30 minutes away. The “rising sun” sky here looks a lot more gold than it looked to the naked eye: it was much more crimson and ruby, and the old saying sprang into my head. “Pink at night, sailors delight. Pink in the morning, sailors take warning.”

Of course this means we’re supposed to watch out for bad weather. I don’t think there is any in the forecast until Saturday, but I guess I’d better go check.

What do you think of old sayings? Do you have any favorites or any that seem to be more “true” than others? Please share in the comments – and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Hot Tea and a Good Book

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Snow coming down outside my classroom window

It’s a snowy winter morning here, and I’m at work rather than home, but I have a lovely blending of the two worlds today in that my teaching job will also allow me to do some reading…because the students have one of their very important “Free Reading Fridays”.

Such activity is based in scientific and educational evidence…the practice of sustained silent reading, of material students choose, increases student skill and promotes the possibility not only of creating life-long readers, but also life-long learners. Here’s a .pdf document about the practice, if anyone is interested in learning more about the pedagogy behind it.

I’ve been teaching for 26 years. In that time, I’ve seen stress, anxiety, and demands for students go up (in part thanks to high stakes testing) and the ability to focus not only on content but also on the joys of learning (and reading!) go down. This is one way of providing students with a bit of time away from academic demands that carries with it some good educational benefits simultaneously. And part of the process is that they see their teacher reading along with them – so I benefit as well (and heaven knows I have precious little “free reading” time of my own in my life outside of school). 🙂 Many students have thanked me over the years for these opportunities, as they find books they never knew about (I maintain two large book shelves of free-reading novels, non-fiction, and poetry for multiple reading levels in my classroom), a love of reading they didn’t know they had, and/or a little break from the constant pressure to perform in the classroom eight periods a day.

So it’s the best of both worlds for a few class periods today.

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Advanced proof of A PLEDGE OF BETTER TIMES by Margaret Porter

My tea this morning is Twinning’s “Winter Spice”, and my book is an advanced reader copy of an historical novel by friend and fellow author Margaret Porter – her upcoming title A Pledge of Better Times (the link is to the Goodreads page for the author and book). It’s set at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries, and follows the political and emotional worlds of Lady Diana de Vere and Charles Beauclerk, Duke of St. Albans. It’s fascinating and enjoyable reading. The novel will be publishing in April, and I’m sure I’ll post another reminder then.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Cold But Beautiful

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Look at that gorgeous gentle pink and blue morning sky with the moon resting atop it!

The weather in Upstate New York has been pretty typical for January (though by the reactions of many people online and in person around here, one would think we’d never experienced a cold snap before, LOL).

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Lots of sand helps my studded snow tires to get me up this curvy, snowy road on my way into work

It’s below zero degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer and -25 or so with wind chills factored in. The snow groans and creaks when my tires roll over it on the road, and sucking in a breath upon stepping outside can make your lungs seize up.

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Sunrise over the snowy fields

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Another pretty shot of the morning moon in the frigid, pastel sky

But I love it – mostly since I don’t have to work outside in it, have a nice warm home and workplace to retreat to – and because it’s pretty. The pictures sprinkled throughout this post are from my ride to work yesterday morning. Just gorgeous, tender, lovely hues to everything.

I’m a winter baby. My husband is a hot-weather lover. He’s always looking to get away to somewhere warm, and I’m always reveling in my warm cups of tea, coffee or cocoa, listening to the wind howl, the cold snap, and watching the snow swirl around.  I guess opposites do attract! 🙂

Winter Morning Memories

shed in snowThis is a picture of a sight I saw most late winter mornings at the Homestead when I was growing up: the sun rising through the woods out back behind the red shed, casting a pink glow over everything.

We lived on what was called a “rural route” and so the school bus had to come and get us an hour before school actually started, in order to get all the kids necessary and get us all to school in time. So I was usually sitting at the kitchen table at around 6:30am, looking out the windows – which overlooked this back yard – and eating the breakfast Ma insisted I have to “get a good start on the day” before the bus came just before 7:00am.

My mother used to even sing the song of the old-time commercial posted below, to get us to eat our Cream of Wheat with a side of buttered toast and some milk or orange juice. It was from an old radio commercial she heard as a girl in the 1930’s, and it stuck with her; she could always make us smile and eat up when she danced around the kitchen singing it. When the mood strikes, she’ll still sing it for me now, with a twinkle in her eyes, and usually with both of us dissolving into giggles before she’s done. My kids think it’s hysterical. 🙂

It was a peaceful and happy time. I learned some of my love of colors, textures, and the gorgeous trappings of nature as well by watching the changes in the vista I saw each morning in the back yard. Everything was snug, safe, and warm inside the house, the beautiful world outside was just waking up, and it was time to start a new day.

I still enjoy sunrises, though the view around me is sadly far more suburban than country anymore. The sky looks the same, though, wherever I am. ❤

How about you – are you a sunrise kind of person?

A Peaceful Scene

1617677-bigthumbnailThis illustration makes me happy, so I thought I’d share it with you.

I think it’s beautiful on so many levels: the natural setting, the red barn, the deer, the stream, the tree with a few ruddy leaves clinging to its branches, and the cozy home with fireplace smoke spiraling up, and the windows lit so warmly from within.

But I think my favorite part of this is the way the light from the windows and the setting sun spills out onto the trail of footprints through the snow, gilding the whole area with a rosy glow.

It’s peaceful and lovely…and somewhere I wish I could be right about now! So I will visit there in my imagination. ❤

 

Winter Wonderland II

imageThis is the same tree I posted last night, in the early daylight this morning. It’s all sort of artistically monochrome outside at the moment.

It kept snowing and snowing last night (we finally got the 8 or so inches the weather people had claimed we’d be getting beginning on Tuesday, when all we had was rain and a little icing).

I love trees in general, and I love seeing them in all their phases, including dressed in lovely robes of snow. The dark branches and trunks make such a pretty contrast with the white of the snow, before the wind blows it all bare again.

Hope everyone has a great Thursday!