Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snowday Ramblings: a photo-filled post.

Happy Snowday!

It seems that this winter just keeps getting crazy and crazy. Between arctic freezes and polar vortexes, huge ice storms, mass snow storms stretching across half the country. Some days I wonder if I'm living Day After Tomorrow. I really thought we were away from the bulk of the snow and cold after a week of relatively mild winter weather. Mother nature had us all fooled! It looks like we'll be getting around 14 inches of snow today and perhaps even more this weekend as another storm rolls in. I hope you are all staying warm where ever you are! If you're also in this snow storm, I hope you're snuggled safety inside doing something you love. If you're in a state that's warm and managing to avoid this - revel a little in that for us all, okay? (Or, you know, invent a way to ship some warm sunny weather, that works, too!)

Really, though, I'm not complaining. I'm enjoying this snowstorm. Finding out that for the third time this week I was saved from the misery that is waking up at 5:30am for an early morning class, I was ecstatic. I have a pile of homework beside me to get done, a notebook for my writing, and hours of possibilities on my hands. In between a morning meditation and watching Super Soul Sunday on the DVR with my parents, I ran outside to photograph the snowfall we're having. Not even the temptation of breakfast could keep me inside!

Though I did snag a tasty spiced tuna melt afterward. It's
a new addiction. Totally healthy, right?
Pushing aside my detest of cold, exchanging it for a love of photography, I snagged my winter coat - and nothing else other than my cameras - and spent the next few hours outside. I trudged through the snow banks, got soaked by the thick, fluffy flakes that were still falling from the sky. The snowflakes were so numerous, big, and fluffy. Sometimes they were falling so densely that I couldn't see our neighbors house or the majority of the woods behind our house.

Too often during the winter I spend most of my time shut up inside. Cold has never been my favorite temperature. In the winter, if I don't have to go outside, I don't. Simple as that. (Oh, 101 reason I want to move to a warmer climate!) But on rare occasions I indulge myself in winter splendor. I enjoy ice skating - though I haven't done it since I was very young. Making Mr. Snowman and his best friend, Snow Angel, brings out my inner child. Sledding? Heck yes! Snow ball fight? Bring it on. Winter photography also holds a special place in my heart - it has to, for me to drag myself out of my warm sheets in the early morning  and brave the frigid air. (Only for a wee little while anyway.)

Can you blame me? Awaking to a scene like this in my backyard, I cannot help but
fall in love, despite the cold.
Winter scenes always make me want to do a few specific things once I come in from a bit overdue outside fun. Cold, snowy days signal pajama days spent snuggling in a comfy chair with a warm blanket wrapped around me, with a warm mug of tea or "snowcoa" in my hand. (You know you're a little over excited about snow when you start calling the hot cocoa you drink on snowy days "snowcoa.")

I totally am devouring a tasty cup of Snowcoa this
morning made from a Trader Joe's packet and piled high
with whipped cream. Ahh, the way winter life should be!

When I'm not busy on a snowy day, I also love to read lots of books or watch movies; however this week has included little recreational reading and a ton of scholastic reading, set to the backdrop of movies. (Hey, I have to make it fun somehow! How to Train Your Dragon, The Back-Up Plan, Mystery Woman movies on Hallmark channel? They're all amazing. Probably not helpful to productivity, but they make reading textbooks a bit more worthwhile.) Today alone, thanks to Netflix, I've already popped in The Host - which I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it - and I currently have Frozen's soundtrack playing on loop. It is really making a wonderful background to reading. Today's endeavor includes some fun required reading, now that I've gotten this week's textbook reading out of the way. In my hand I currently have Ethics for the New Millennium by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to my side, once I finish that, I have Living Downstream by Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D. I am so excited to read  both books and look forward to sharing more about my adventures with them in the future!

A few of my favorite snow reads include "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost and "Snow Image" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Each have a special space in my heart. Frost's poem is in a paperback book of the same title, a book I have had since I was very small. It was always a favorite of mine to read. Only a few words are on every page and the illustration captures the kind of snowy, country winters that remind me of home.

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, filled with amazing illustrations.
His writing has always made my literary-loving heart soar. The images only
add to it.
One of my favorite illustrations.

And another. :)

Hawthorne's short story has been with me for a significantly less amount of time. I found his work hidden in a row of books while wandering my local libraries stacks. "Snow Image" is part of a collection of works in a book by the same title. The book itself is very old and full of character. It's binding is falling apart, so I have to handle it with great care. But it spoke to me that day. Something about it captured me. I opened pulled it from the row and sat cross-legged in the far corner of the library, surrounding by the tall stacks, encompassed by silence, captured by words, as a warm summer breeze trickled in through the windows. The first and only short story I read that day was "Snow Image." When I brought forward it's deteriorating condition to my friend, Leila, who runs the library, it was apparent that the poor thing would just have to go. But because she's amazing, she let me snag it off the libraries hands for a small cash exchange.

A summer photograph of the newest family addition:  a very old, lovingly worn copy of
Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

My other favorite winter adventures include paintings and drawing, knitting, writing and, of course, photography. Quiet activities that let me be with myself for awhile and enjoy the slower pace. That is one thing I do love about winter and snow: it gives an excuse to slow down and take time for myself. In the summer I feel guilty taking a day to just play and do nothing, particularly indoor activities, where the sun is so bright and everyone else so active! Being shut-in because of a storm is the perfect excuse to just be. 

Happy Wednesday, everyone. I hope that you get to enjoy some time outside. What winter activities do you love most? What do you love to do on a snowy winter day?

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