The clarity of low visibility

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Low visibility looking down the big hill

The very wintry weather lately has made it difficult to walk Jazzmin but with all the roads plowed today, I decided it was time to set boots and booties to snowy road and take a walk. Once my girls had been picked up, I changed into my walking clothes, got Jazz sweatered, backpacked and bootied up and headed out.

It was lightly snowing as we walked carefully down the driveway to avoid slipping on the ice below the most recent dusting of snow. Once safely on the salted and slightly snowy road, we easily found our pace and the fresh, chilly winter air felt wonderful to breathe in. By the time we reached the end of my road, the light snow had turned into big, heavy flakes and shortly after turning left onto the next road, the snow changed again to a mix of fluffy flakes and tiny snowballs.

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Light snow shortly after we turned onto the second road

I wasn’t sure how long of a walk we were going to take, but I enjoyed the tranquility of the snow and crispness of the air so much, we kept going right up the big hill. The snow got progressively heavier as we walked and the visibility became quite low, but as I was walking, I didn’t mind at all. It would’ve been a different story if I was driving, but when I’m walking I can see exactly where I’m going and don’t have to worry about my car tires slipping or sliding. My boots and Jazz’s booties had no problem keeping traction as the road and our bodies became coated with snow.

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A very snowy Jazzmin

When there weren’t any cars driving by, it was very calming listening to the falling snow. The air was still and the limited visibility from the heavy snowfall helped bring clarity to my mind, heart and spirit. Walking always helps recharge me and quiet my hectic mind as the fresh air fills my lungs and the exercise works my muscles. By the time we reached the top of the big hill my thighs were mostly frozen, my hair was coated with snow, my glasses were wet and foggy and Jazz wasn’t exactly thrilled to be covered in snow, but I was still smiling and she was still trotting along.

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Jazz trotting along

I’ve said this before but it still holds true, taking a walk when you’re down, confused, anxious or worried can do amazing things! It does amazing things when you’re feeling up too, but when your mood really needs a boost, get off your butt and walk! I know I’m glad I did and it helped remind me how resilient, strong, determined and amazing I am. With my pup beside me and a path before me, there’s nothing I can’t handle!

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Foggy flurries and furry fluffballs

My snowy house this morning.

My snowy house this morning.

Today marked the first substantial snow for the season here. The calendar may still say it’s fall, but Upstate NY has never been a place that abides by such silly notions. I don’t mind snow when it first begins and my girls both seem to love it. I remember loving it when I was a child, but once I became an adult who had to drive in it, snow lost a lot of its magic. The “magical first snow” today started overnight and hasn’t let up since. It’s not accumulating fast but it’s heavy, wet, and perfect for making snowballs.

And make snowballs I did! When I took Jazzmin out this morning, I made a couple snowballs and tossed them at her. She happily caught them in her mouth before spitting them out when she realized they were strange, cold tennis balls. I then took a snowball in to show the kittens and they were fascinated by the cold, white, balls of water. They love water and I’m always plucking them out of the sink, bathtub, and dog’s water bowl. I eventually plopped the snowball in their water bowl and Daisy watched it intently until it melted.

Once the girls were off at school, I did a bit of freelance work and then settled on the couch beneath a blanket to begin some new beading projects. I’d reviewed a new set of instructions for making earrings this morning and I was eager to try them. What I created came out better than I expected, but I discovered I need to start using a thimble to avoid poking my pointer fingers constantly. Thank goodness fingers heal quickly! It’s worth it though because I’m so pleased with last week’s creations that I need more hours in the day to create all the jewelry designs that have popped into my mind.

Modeling last week's beaded earring and pendant creations.

Modeling last week’s beaded earring and pendant creations.

The snow never let up so there was no point in waiting for it to stop before taking Jazz for a walk. I bundled her up in her booties (which she hates) and warm, blue sweater and I bundled myself up similarly in my winter jacket, boots, and earmuffs. It wasn’t exactly frigid today but there was a breeze and I wanted to keep my ears warm. Our walk wasn’t very long but Jazz was happy to be out and we both became thoroughly coated with snow. As we were heading back home, fog began to roll in from the top of the hill which detracted from the beauty of the first snowfall.

Jazz in her sweater and booties.

Jazz in her sweater and booties.

The snowy trees.

The snowy trees.

Jazz smells something...

Jazz smells something…

Yuppers, it's snowing!

Yuppers, it’s snowing!

The fog rolling in down the road.

The fog rolling in down the road.

Jazzmin and I were both happy to get home and thaw out. The kittens were fascinated watching the falling snow and took turns looking out the window or hogging my desk chair because it’s so cozy.

Daisy looking out the window.

Daisy looking out the window.

Angel hogging my desk chair.

Angel hogging my desk chair.

I had to get my snow shovel out of the shed to clean off my deck steps and create a path to the door and it’s now resting beside the door, ready to be used again. Winter has definitely begun but with the combination of foggy flurries and furry fluffballs, I know it will be anything but dull!

 

Plum wine and winter painting

A girl and her paint.

A girl and her paints.

I’ve been wanting to do some new paintings for months now but I’ve been too busy or it’s been too cold for me to crawl out from under blankets on the couch to stand at my easel. I could ignore my muse no longer though and had to get creative to shake off the winter chill.

That creativity involved drinking a glass of plum wine to warm me up and loosen my rusty painting skills. Skills might be a stretch but I do enjoy painting and what flows from my brush is usually appealing in some way.

Once the wine had started to make me all tingly, I got out my brushes and paints and set about adding some life to the blank sheets of watercolor paper I’d taped to canvas boards earlier. I had Pandora blasting from my computer speakers and I danced as I painted. It felt really good to express this aspect of my creativity!

Blank watercolor paper in need of life!

Blank watercolor paper in need of life!

Jazz would occasionally bring her lobster for me to throw so I’d pause in my work and play with her. I even picked up her front paws and danced with her a bit. While her tail was wagging, I don’t think she really enjoyed what her crazy mama was subjecting her to.

By the time I’d finished my three snow-inspired paintings, I’d had two glasses of wine and if my body was cold, I couldn’t feel it anymore. My paintings aren’t masterpieces worth millions of dollars but they’re pieces of me and as such, are unique, colorful and beautifully flawed.

My completed paintings.

My completed paintings.

The Beauty of Snow

Owl looking out my living room picture window

Owl looking out my living room picture window

While I was writing about tropical breezes, bright white beaches and warm ocean waters of the sunny south today, it was snowing outside my window. Despite my various less than fun adventures driving in the snowy conditions lately, I still admire and appreciate the beauty of snow. The knowledge that every snowflake is unique and that such uniqueness only last long enough for it to travel from the clouds to the ground is a divine and amazing occurrence. Mother Nature creates such bewildering pieces of artistry every day and even those that barely last a breath, are miracles.

The snow falling in the field behind my house

The snow falling in the field behind my house

The snow continued to fall throughout the day. They were big, fluffy flakes comprised of several single snowflakes clinging together as they descended through the sky. They all piles up creating a fresh layer of snow on top of the foot that already covers my property. I wasn’t entirely thrilled when the snow first started falling but I’m used to it now and I’m not pleased by a forecast that calls for milder temperatures and rain. Warmth and rain will melt the snow, dirty the snow and take away the fresh beauty blanketing the landscape. Not to mention that my girls will be extremely unhappy if it’s a slushy Christmas instead of a white Christmas.

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For now I’ll enjoy the snow as it continues to fall outside my windows. I know that the snow will continue for months to come but I most love snow before and around the holiday season. It’s always something amazing to behold, even when being out in it is stressful and the beauty of snow will never be lost on me.

The Clarity of Cold

The view from my deck this morning.

The view from my deck this morning.

Winter isn’t my favorite season. If it only lasted from December 1st to say, January 15th I’d probably love it but alas it seems to last 6 months in Upstate NY. I don’t ski, snowboard or snowshoe. I don’t think anyone would ever describe me as a snow bunny. I’ll go out and play in the snow with my girls and I enjoy that. The first snowfall of December and the promise of a white Christmas is lovely too. Otherwise I feel like snow’s main goal is to keep me huddled inside under a blanket, covered with animals.

The first real snowfall of the season started falling here last night. By morning there was a thin blanket of white across the landscape. Jazzmin was ecstatic to frolic in it and sniff snort through it trying to find familiar scents in the grass beneath. Jordan thought it was pretty but too cold. Jaycie was very excited to see the snow and wanted to play in it but with wind chills in the teens this morning, she changed her mind. I was happy I’d already dug out my winter boots and coat so I wouldn’t slip down my deck steps on the way out to the bus stop.

Today was one of those confused winter days where it was sunny one moment then snowing and blowing the next. Mama Nature was having fun shaking her snow globe today! None of the new snow accumulated though and the skies cleared enough to reveal a rather pretty sky after the sun set. Even so, I admit that the sudden presence of snow made me a bit grumpy.

When I took Jazz out for the last time tonight, I stepped onto my deck steps, looked up and was greeted by the sight of the half-moon. A smile immediately lit my face and in the clarity of cold and moonlight, my mood instantly lifted. It was as if the moon was telling me that everything will be okay, that even in the darkness and cold, light is always shining. Sometimes even I forget that but thankfully the powers that be are kind enough to remind me.

winter moon