Sunday, February 05, 2017


There was a time when I used to fuss for Snowdrop when she stayed overnight and ate breakfasts at the farmhouse. These days, she eats more or less what I eat. I'm sure she'd prefer pancakes, but Ed is on a "small breakfast" kick lately and so she's stuck with gaga's oatmeal. To her, fruit trump everything and so in fact she is a happy camper.

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After, she so wants to cajole us into play, but I linger over my coffee. Oh, how I love to linger over that last mouthful in the morning!

Still, Snowdrop is ever hopeful...

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The three of us do play for a while. When I say it's time to go out, she's not at all opposed to that idea. She just uses it as an invitation to play hide and seek while I take out all the necessary jackets boots and mitts...

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(When do you tell your little one that the left and the right boot are not the same?)

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(Surely not if you only have a short walk before you...)

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Ed and I both drop her off. We have a list of aspirational stuff to do afterwards. First -- a few minutes on the ice just by Snowdrop's school. It's not exactly a smooth surface, but it's good to get some practice glides. (Ed takes the photo.)

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Next we go to the garden expo at the big convention center down the street. If you're a Madisonian and a gardening enthusiast, you'll probably ask -- what garden expo?

Well you might wonder. I keep track of months. I keep track of days of the week. And I certainly keep track of weather patterns. But the date itself? I don't pay attention to it.

The garden expo is next week! This weekend - it's all about RVs!

We don't bother buying tickets for that. But there are a few exceptionally large "portable homes" that are standing outside and these you can explore for free. We do that.

Inevitably you start to wonder -- could you do a caravaning (to borrow the British term) trip across the country? We have friends who travel south this way each winter. And they love it! The freedom! The adventure! Trading information on where best to park for the night (Walmart). Finally landing by some beachy place and enjoying glorious sunshine while we up north complain incessantly about the weather.

I couldn't do it. Indeed, I announce boldly -- I wouldn't do this if you paid me!
The long stretches of highway. The overnights in parking lots or at best -- RV campgrounds. The tiny space inside (though the homes we entered weren't so tiny).
Ed glances at me -- you would too do it if someone paid you.

He knows me too well. I've cooked, baked, driven groups around France, and sold cosmetics -- all to earn extra money (and that's just in the last fifteen years). I surely would take that RV trip. Reluctantly.

In the late afternoon the sun is out again.

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I have on my list a winter gardening chore and we tackle it today: the sawing off of limbs on trees that abut some of the flower beds. These trees have gotten to be monstrously big and they provide too much shade. I could never get Ed to do a thorough pruning job, but when there are egregious situations, he'll cooperate.

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This then is the first taste of yard work for 2017. Isn't it grand to know that the very next season is spring?

Evening. Snowdrop and her mom are over for dinner.

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You think to yourself -- this is what peace looks like, right? Generations of people sharing a meal. It's what we want for ourselves, for our kids and grandkids, right?

Odd how a handful of people can interfere with this tableau for you. For her.

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So forgive me when I get a bit wistful for the days when I didn't have to end a day with a sigh. Those wonderful wonderful days when we could go to sleep, like she does, with the belief that those who could affect our future would have the wisdom to avoid at all costs the escalation of conflict.

Outside, the moon shines brightly, the stars dazzle, the air is still. Peace, that cherished peace. Oh, how lucky we are, those who live in peace! Don't take it for granted. It's too easy to have it slip away from us and from the little ones in our midst.