Late winter is by nature a time of ruts.
There are ruts in my driveway, ruts in my schedule and ruts in my menu planning.
So when Jan suggesting a quick trip to civilization for supplies this week – I jumped on it!
Then – to spice things up even more – he took a new road.
What a simple concept with profound results.
Instead of driving the well known and frequently traveled highways – we turned off. Suddenly everything was different.
We meandered over country roads never really sure what was around the next curve. We crossed over sketchy bridges and looked deep into unknown ravines.
We drove through tiny little towns and wondered about those who lived there.
And slowly our perspectives changed.
The late winter constraints that bound us relaxed their grip.
We dreamed new dreams.
And yes, we eventually made it to civilization. We bought the needed groceries, the mineral for the cows and the tractor parts; but this trip wasn’t about the destination.
It was all about the journey and seeing things in a new way.
It was about jumping out of the ruts and banishing the doldrums.
All that because we took a new road.
Every afternoon when Jan comes home from work, he grabs a snack while I grab a coat and we head out for a walk.
The official term for this jaunt in the winter afternoon is “walking the fence line” or “checking the cows”.
He can call it whatever he wants – but I call it the best part of my day!
It’s a perfect excuse to hold my honey’s hand and hike across the frozen pastures, catching up on the days activities.
And – since it’s also the one time during the year that I can walk freely anywhere on the property with no fear of poison ivy – I’ve been in and out of ravines and to every remote corner.
These walks, however, are not without their hazards. There are always thorn trees, the evil multiflora rose bushes and the dreaded blackberry vines to scratch you and impede your progress.
Not to mention the the occasional slip on steep banks or frozen cow pies to trip you up.
And I guess one of these days we’ll actually find the cows.
And they won’t be where they are supposed to be.
And the fence will be down.
And our peaceful walk hand in hand through the pasture will turn into a cow chase and a trudge back to the barn for fence supplies.
But that’s a risk I’m willing to take.
‘Cause there’s something pretty wonderful about soaking up the late afternoon sunshine while walking hand in hand with my husband.
Frozen cow pies and all.
Maybe we don’t want to get too serious about the January lists – not yet anyway.
Maybe we can squeeze in a little more vacation time.
Maybe we should throw the list away one afternoon and make a memory.
Seize the moment when the temperature is right, the ice is thick, and the kids are willing.
Dig the skates out, find the thick socks and enjoy the fresh winter air.
Nothing fancy. Just chore coats and warm hats and second hand skates on a farm pond.
No triple axles or anything quad.
Well…okay. Maybe there were a few quads. But they were unintentional ones with painful consequences.
Then we’ll top the afternoon off with hot chocolate while warming our toes in a grandma quilt.
Lists will wait, but kids grow up.
I survived December.
Now it’s January.
Amazing how that happens every year.
Once again I’m having a hard time getting motivated to do anything.
Last night while Jan and I sat eating our typical Sunday night supper of popcorn and sandwiches, he innocently asked what we needed to get done this week.
I looked at him blankly.
Wait – you mean there’s life after Christmas?
So I shook the cobwebs from my mind and wrote a list.
Can I just say that a January list can not compete with the fun lists of December.
Lists that used to say make Christmas goodies, wrap presents, and pack for for New Year’s Eve at Aunt Sandy’s house now say clean the fridge, call the dentist, and work out.
Nope. No comparison.
Yet – somehow it feels good after the busyness and excitement of the holidays to have such simple, normal tasks to complete.
It feels good to find that routine again, like we’ve settled into the New Year.
So I added a few snowflakes and smiley faces to the list and found some lively music to brighten our attitudes as we tackle January.
My first task is to discover what green and growing things are lurking in my fridge.
There’s nothing like a hazmet suit to greet the New Year!
I’ve been looking longingly at my cute shoes for several days.
It seems like it’s been months that I’ve been wearing my warm shoes to church. You know the kind – the black ones that allow warm socks.
To be honest – these shoes did look cute in November. They were actually appreciated in December and January.
But it’s the end of February now.
And I’m over them. And winter. And snow. And wind chill factors.
Since we had a slight spring-like thaw during the week that melted much of our snow – I caved yesterday.
I wore my cute little flats to church – they ones that you do not wear with warm socks. I actually wore no socks.
My husband’s eyebrows went up as I put my coat on. He might have even smiled at my gasp when the cold north wind touched the tender bare skin on my feet.
He kindly pointed out that the air temp was a balmy 20 degrees as he turned the heat on high and redirected it to the floor vents of the van.
He took one last look at my footwear and said, “Sure hope we don’t have car trouble and have to walk five miles with this wind chill.”
I smiled back – but thought to myself, “Me too!” Because I currently couldn’t feel my toes.
They thawed slightly during church and the potluck meal that followed – but were like ice by the time we drove the thirty miles home.
I found my thickest, warmest winter socks and a comfy grandma quilt and spent the rest of the afternoon warming up with several cups of hot tea.
And today it is snowing.
Good-bye cute little flats.
We’ll try again when spring decides to stay.