Friday, December 31, 2010

A Year in Review

2010, now just a memory.  It was a year of change, challenge and adventure.  I began the year by retiring after working since I was thirteen.  I had a vision and I had a plan for it, but it was quite an adjustment.  I still wake up at 4:30 in the mornings.  I do miss work, but I have new goals to achieve, a new direction to follow.

I fulfilled a dream--take a BIG road trip, visit all my brothers and sisters, scattered over the west, and revisit places from my past--my growing up years.  I spent a month on the road, and loved every minute of it.  My biggest concern--getting lost--was alleviated by Garmin.  She kept me on track.  I saw wondrous things--snow covered mountains in July, lava flow ribbons that looked like they were laid down just yesterday, Mount St. Helen, still desolate thirty years later.  I walked in the steps of the pioneers along the Oregon Trail, and along the beach after a summer storm. I took a step back in time and visited the ranch where I grew up, the little county school I attended, and my high school and college. I relived those memories of growing up in the west.

I added to my family--my grandson who just celebrated his nineteenth birthday now lives with me.  My daughter became engaged to the boy who used to live across the street.  So my family's circle will enlarge again.

I am now able to pursue my art endeavors,  I can dream, create, and express as I am led. However, I still have to wash dishes, and clean the bathroom--this keeps me humble.

So 2010 was a great year, but in the words of Rainer Rilke, that famous Bohemian poet--
               And now let us welcome the New Year,
               Full of things that have never been.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Week Between

The year seems in limbo this week between Christmas and New Year's Day.  The work and excitement of Christmas is history, and what the new year holds is just beyond the horizon.  It is a time of reflection--on what has transpired this year, and what our expectations are for the coming year.  It is a also a time to think about our blessings and our trials and to be thankful for both. 

It is easy to be thankful for those good things that transpired, but just as important to give thanks for the problems, for these have built our inner strength, forced us to look beyond ourselves.  When we meet those who are experiencing what we have experienced, we are able to give comfort and wisdom, and possibly make a difference in their lives.

It is also a time to set goals for the future--things that will enrich our body, soul and spirit.  So in this week of retrospection, I want to evaluate the past and plan for the future.

Friday, December 17, 2010

School Christmas Programs

This week my grandson had his school Christmas program--he is the cute boy in the red and white stripped shirt standing on the end.  He was so excited!  It reminded me of Christmas programs when I was growing up.  I attended a one-room country school in the mountains of northwestern Wyoming.  There were grades 1 thru 12, and maybe 12 students total.

     Christmas at Wapiti
The highlight of the school year was the Christmas play. Right after Halloween, we would start working on it. Sometimes it was a traditional story, like Dickens’s Christmas Carol, or maybe a modern story, like Home for Christmas, or the Gift of the Magi. On the last evening of school before Christmas holiday, folks from all over the valley came to see the program. The classroom was crowded with ranchers, and their families, cowhands all slicked up and fine young ladies who that very morning had been cooks and cabin maids. A canvas curtain as wide as the classroom separated the audience from the stage. Advertisements from Cody Drug and Shoshone Feed and Seed covered the audience side. On the other side children scurried to get into their costumes and take their places. As the screen rolled up everyone watched as the children presented their play, weaving the story of the importance and meaning of Christmas. After the final curtain and a rousing round of applause, there was community singing, lead by the school teacher playing a slightly out of tune old upright piano. The evening always ended with singing Silent Night. Even though it was just a bunch of mountain folks, the sound was like a heavenly choir. Many a ranch hand had tears in their eyes as the last note ended. But then it was time for cookies and punch in the library, visiting, catching up on the latest gossip. Finally, everyone, tired and happy piled into their cars and trucks and headed home over the crisp snowy roads.  The memory of that night filed away with the nostalgia of growing up.

Friday, December 3, 2010


This picture was taken near where I grew up. 
     Winter's were special times as a kid.  There was all that snow to play in--make snowmen, and snow angels, build igloos, go sledding and have snow ball fights.  And then when we came in from playing, Mom had hot cocoa and cookies waiting. 
     With the snow came the expectation that Christmas was just around the corner.  We looked forward to see the special tree that Daddy brought home from the surrounding forest.  Each of us secretly made presents for our folks, and even occasionally each other.  At school we practiced for the Christmas pageant that was presented every year for the entire community.  We always had a play and a nativity scene.  The older kids vied for the part of Mary and Joseph. 
     Winter was special in the eyes of a child--a time of fun and wonder..