Saturday, February 28, 2009


Every year we try to go to Rangeela if we possibly can. "Rangeela" means "colorful" in Hindi. In Our Town, Rangeela is a celebration of diversity among people, places, and cultures, performed by international students at a college near us. Each year when we go, we get a little taste of the music and dance, the culture, tradition, and history of many different people. Rangeela is colorful, entertaining, and it broadens our understanding of the people who share this world. We always have a fantastic time when we go. Here are some pictures of last night's performance.


The Hula - dance of hands that tell a story...

or or that use a gourd as a drum...


The fan dance, a celebration of the Lunar New Year...


from the Oaxaca Region...


making music with everyday objects - in this case, trash cans...

These guys were amazing!


Gum Boot Dancing!


A Love Story - beautiful Moon Goddess falls in love with...

Palace Guard! And after enduring grief on earth, they eventually...

Live happily ever after in Heaven.


The dances from India are full of grace and beauty...


Dances in celebration of summer... first in light kimonos...

Then in full kimono... Isn't it beautiful?

Rangeela is always a great experience. There were so many different cultures represented - more than I can even show you. Some of my pictures didn't turn out very well, but you can get a sense of the beauty and energy of the show.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Getting Antsy

It is getting hard to be patient with winter. I have been trying very hard to keep a positive outlook, but the reality is we don't feel good and we need spring.

My friend Rae expressed my own feelings better than I could. "Don't get me wrong", she says, "winter is beautiful in its own way, but my heart longs for spring." Oh, mine, too, Rae, mine too! "New beginnings, new adventures. Sunshine. Going on walks. Bike-rides. Flowers. Being outside. Spring uncovers beautiful things that have been forgotten in dreary weather and buried underneath snow. It's time for new life. Resurrected life."

Rae knows.

So, since it is hard to feel glad right now, since depression lurks around the corner on every cloudy day, and since friends and family have been fighting illnesses for months (we can't seem to go a week and a half all being healthy at the same time) and we have had enough, thank you very much... since it is easy to feel discouraged... then it is time to forcefully give thanks!

Stopping to remember the gifts we've been given, no matter how much work it takes, sure helps my perspective. So, here we go, adding to my list of joys and thank yous, the list of gifts that God has given me for no good reason other than that He can, and He loves me, and He wants to (I sure don't deserve this kind of love) ...

62. The sound of raindrops dancing gently on the roof outside my window as I fall asleep

63. The way hail bounces when it hits the ground

64. The sound of a baby's laugh - gurgling, cooing, baby-belly-laughs that make you join in and laugh yourself.

65. The sound of water rushing around the rocks in a little brook

66. Concerts where I can enjoy music and dance from many cultures

67. Errand running day

68. Going out to lunch by myself

69. Trying out a new restaurant

70. The sure promise of spring, no matter how long and cold winter has been, oh, yes!

Oh, yeah, it'll come. And like Rae, I just ask it to please... "come soon, okay?"

Spring, are you listening?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Valentine's Day

It's been a week and a half since Valentine's day, and I know it's kind of late, but I wanted to show you how some of my house celebrated that day:

Yes, indeed, they got out the lace and colored paper, the ribbons and glue and things that sparkle, and they made old-fashioned homemade Valentines to send to friends. Fun!

I had thought I would make some heart shaped biscuits, or some gingerbread heart cookies or something to celebrate the many loves in our lives. But when the Day got here, I did not have the energy. Winter is like that. It is usual for me to drag through February, and Valentine's Day comes at a time when I don't feel like doing anything. So the girls' own celebrating was a gift to me, even if they didn't know it. Watching my girls create red heartsy things made the holiday!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The sap is running!

Hello, winter-weary ones! I have news! Remember when I told you the sap would be running before the month was out? Well... check out Dean Ohlman's blog! The sap's running! I have not seen it in person because, like I told you, I'm not likely to make syrup this year and I don't want to go snapping branches off just to see. But this naturalist did, and he writes about it far better than I could. The sap is running. Pretty cool, huh?That means the trees are waking up, and we have begun the long ascent to springtime.

And it is a long ascent. I don't want to hear, "spring is just around the corner", because I heard that all the time when I was a child and wondered just how long a corner had to be, anyway. It takes time. Spring comes in tiny increments. But we are moving in the right direction, and we will get there. Yes, we are getting there, and every little sign of spring is a wonder to celebrate.

I am thankful for:

62. The awareness of sweet sap beginning to course through deep veins of bare trees, bringing them new life, even before spring actually shows herself - an assurance that she IS on the way.

Tiny shoots- daffodil, I think - making their way through the cold - but no longer frozen - soil outside my back door, February 11, 2009

Midwinter thaw, February 11th. Raindrops hang from rose bush branch. Each sparkling drop holds the whole landscape in it, upside down! Minuscule inverted trees, only for the enjoyment of those who take time to see.

63. Raindrops with whole worlds reflected inside.
64. Tiny green shoots fighting up through the soil, demonstrating that nature is strong enough to move great obstacles in its exuberant pursuit of life.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Full Moon

The moon rose shining huge and golden in front of me as I was on my way home tonight. She was rising from - but still resting on - a soft bed of low clouds along the horizon. I was awestruck. The moon has so many moods, but is always elegant. Tonight her beauty was rich and full.

Dancing With the Moon

The moon and I danced together tonight
In honor of the One who created us both.
She danced up high in a silver-blue sky
While I danced here below.
The grass was soft beneath my feet
And cool, and wet with dew,
While she smiled down with her face full bright
From her dance hall draped in blue.
We danced together, the moon and I
And our hearts overspilled with delight -
As she smiled down, and I smiled up at her
On this wonderful, worshipful night.

(c) ~klm~ 7/20/2005

I am thrilled by:
60. The beauty of the full moon as it rises clear and bright
61. The way all nature shows the sweetness of God

(pic: The moon as taken from our back yard tonight by my daughter who is more clever with my camera than I am)

At the beach

There is a unique beauty in the winter beach, as in the winter woods. I love the woods in winter. The deep woods in January is silent and still. It's peaceful and walking there clears the mind. I very much wanted to go see the woods this January, but we were all feeling dragged down and didn't make it.

The beach is another story. The last time we went to the big lake in winter, we were impressed with the thickness of the ice, which reached several feet out into the water. The waves splashed impatiently against it, and I warned the children against walking onto the ice too far, so they wouldn't break through and get soaked. Last Saturday we went to the beach again. The sand was getting squishy as the sun came out and the temperature began to warm up a little bit.

This winter has been unusually cold for an unusually long string of days, and the lake showed it! I have never seen so much ice! Instead of a thick ledge three feet or so into the water, this year's ice reached as far as I could see, all the way out to the horizon! Daughter said she saw a thin blue line at the edge of the sky, but all I saw was ice. We couldn't tell for sure where the water's edge should be, so we walked out till the ice became flat and I told them that was far enough.

The winter woods may be silent and peaceful, but the winter beach is strong and rugged looking. I'm so glad we went.

That is a lot of ice.

The children found a crack in the ice that reminded us of a crevice in a glacier. Only small. You can see a reflection, where water shows, up there on the left... but then there is more ice past that! It's practically endless!

Here is the crevice up close.

This tall chunk of ice was melting in the sun, and little trickles of water were dripping off the side. It reminded me of the mountainside where Frodo and Sam finally found water to drink during their arduous journey. These are not Frodo and Sam though, these are two of my daughters.

This is the daughter who is not Frodo. She rescued my winter beach plans by driving us to the beach after I realized I didn't have a license. ( I dropped it somewhere and have to get a new one.)

The daughter who is not Sam has been waiting since Christmas to fly her new kite and hadn't found a wind strong enough until this day at the beach. She was delighted! After a few minutes, her older brother helped her rewind the string when they had to bring it back in. He's a good brother. We all had a great time.

The beach in winter is a must-see.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Birds are returning!!

It's just February 3. Yesterday was only the midpoint of winter. And yet I am very happy to announce that I already see birds beginning to return!! It's true! Amazing, isn't it?

Yesterday I heard the sound of cawing in the back yard. Crows are noisy, annoying critters, but they are the very first birds to return from their winter vacations, and therefore I sort of celebrate when I first see them. When that harsh, familiar voice caught my attention, I looked out the window - and sure enough, there was that raucous black bird sitting up in a tree. Wow! I was pretty excited! Birds were returning! I announced this great news to everyone in the house, but they didn't get as excited as I did. Huh. Go figure.

Today was even better... Bluebirds!! Eastern bluebirds are so pretty, with their bright blue backs that shine when the sun hits them just right, and their bright red bellies. Cute little birds. They come back early, too, and bring a certain joy with them. And there they were, playing together in my yard, practically wallowing in happiness, right outside the dining room slider! I wanted to get a picture, but they were gone by the time I got my camera. Still, it is pretty great that the bluebirds are back!

I'm kind of stoked! The birds are starting to come back! Pretty great, don't you think? I just had to tell you.

Today I am appreciating:

52. The first birds to return from their winter travels, whoever they are, harbingers of warmer things to come

53. Bluebirds, little bearers of happiness, bright and cheery, bright blue on top, bright red on the bottom

54. chocolate cookies, crunchy on the edges, chewy in the middle, with seeds mixed all through

55. Drumming with friends

56. Laughing with friends!

57. Winters with plenty of snow to cover the brownness underneath

58. the fact that February has only 28 days

59. Groundhog's day... who ever thought of a holiday for this underground-dwelling mammal?! That's funny!

Monday, February 2, 2009

midwinter randomicity: holidays, postpartum care...

Happy Groundhog's day, everyone! Or Happy Candlemas Day, whichever you like. Either way, this day marks the midpoint of winter, exactly halfway between winter solstice and the spring equinox. Have you noticed the light lasting longer into the evening? I have! It's amazing! It is without question still the dead of winter, and yet there are signs already that the seasons are turning. By the end of this month, the sap may already be running in the maples, as they prepare for spring. The end of February is when we used to tap the maple trees around here. Yes, we used to make maple syrup here at our house. It was fun and educational, and quite satisfying to make our own real maple syrup. It was delicious! We sort of lost interest in that project, though, when a poor little tree squirrel fell into our sap bucket and drowned! NO, I am not kidding! Yes, it was sad, and yet hilarious, in a warped sort of way. OK, not hilarious. I would never laugh at another's misfortune. But still...

It could have been funny.

But anyway...

Everyone knows about Groundhog's day, right? When the furry creature comes out of his hole and predicts whether spring is coming early? As if he would know? Right, ok. So Candlemas day, which is less familiar, is the day when women used to count their candles to make sure they had enough to last the rest of the winter. Or so I read last year. I do not know what they did if they were short. Did they make candles in the middle of winter, or was that strictly a fall activity? I don't know. But the middle of the winter does seem like a good time to check on things like that.

Candlemas day also commemorates the day when baby Jesus was taken to the temple, exactly 40 days after Christmas. It's when Mary finished her 40 days of postpartum seclusion. Does anyone wish we got 40 days of postpartum time off in our culture? It is interesting to look at the different ways birth and postpartum are done in various cultures. In some cultures today, the postpartum time is a time when the new mom is treated with special care. She is fed special foods to strengthen her and increase her milk supply. Her activities are limited, and women come in to bring gifts and to take over the chores for a specified number of days. Sometimes I think these practices sound overbearing, sometimes very nurturing. Depends, no doubt, not only on the culture, but very much on the individual women ministering to the mama. Women who have just given birth need to be cared for and listened to. They need their load lightened so they can focus on the new baby. But they don't need to be limited and bossed too much! I love to sit with a new mom and hear he tell her birth story. Those first few days after birth a mom is in a sort of time warp "bubble" and right then is when she needs to tell her story, over and over sometimes, and I love hearing it. I love the details, every last one, of how she worked so hard, how she was victorious, and how her power came into view as she gave birth to her baby. I love the glow, the warmth, that unique time in a woman's life. It is very special. Birth is a holy act. The afterglow is strong and lasts for days. I love being in that place with a woman.

Well, huh! How did I get from Groundhog's Day, to tree sap, to postpartum practices??? I do not know. I am just that random. Well actually, I know a woman who is back in the hospital right now with a serious infection after she gave birth in a hospital 2 months ago. I am concerned for her. I do not know her very closely, but still I am concerned for her. So postpartum care is on my mind.

I recently read online an article about this very thing: postpartum infections in the hospital. Now I can't find that article. Do any of you remember seeing something like this? I would very much like to reread it now, as you can probably imagine. If you find an article on this topic, please let me know. Please.