It's hard to know how long it took
It wasn't until the warm spring air arrived and it was time to exchange our bulky coats, gloves, and hats for lighter jackets and longer days that I had any inkling something had been happening.
On my first trip into the attic, my eye caught the bright orange draft snake on the floor just inside the door. Something was different, but I wasn't sure what.
Was that a dust bunny on the left end of the draft snake?
I wasn't surprised at the sight of it, it had been a long winter and trips to the attic were few.
On my second trip, I saw another, right in the center of the long tube.
Once again, with arms laden with winter wool, I stepped over it. But something wasn't right.
When I came down from the attic the second time, I bent over to take a closer look.
It wasn't one dust bunny, or two ... there were holes in the fabric. The finely shredded threads feathering the edge of the holes had tricked me.
The tube, still holding its shape, was empty ... of the hundreds (or more likely thousands) of split peas I'd poured into the tube to stop the draft.
One, two, or more(?) mice had chewed through one end of the draft snake to get at the peas.
Once they reached the middle, they chewed another hole. Less time in the tube, more time for removing the peas.
But where to? How long did it take?
Did they eat them? Share them? Hoard them?
It remains a mystery. There were no split peas to be seen or found. Not one. Anywhere. And no mice. We never saw them, found mouse droppings, or heard them ... quiet as a mouse.
Until we set a trap.
It wasn't the first bit of (welcome) advice I'd gotten from my neighbor, Charlie, but I remember it because it helped me realized how much I had to learn.
We were standing in the backyard admiring (well, at least I was admiring) my first vegetable garden. Things had started to sprout and Charlie spotted the green beans.
"Them there are pole beans." he said, "You need to put a pole in the ground so they can climb."
While I was well aware they were green beans, I missed the "pole" part. He was right. They needed poles to climb.
I pushed three poles into the ground and watched them twist, turn, and reach new heights every week.
The next summer he got me with a bit of a joke.
It was early July when he came out back and we greeted one another and he said, "Well, July fourth's come and gone, time to put the storm windows back on."
My eyes widened and his twinkled as he let loose a big smile and a chuckle.
It was a bit of an exaggeration, but there was some truth in what he said. Summer is fleeting. How do we make the most of it?
What are your must-have and want-to-do activities this summer?
How do you remember and squeeze in all the things you want to do?
Use Tinplate, the new activity journal.
Use Tinplate, to find inspiration, track, and record the best that summer has to offer. It's an activity journal filled with stories and prompts to boost your curiosity and encourage you to do more with the time you have between the things you have to do for the things you want to do.
It's available now!
I think you'll like it.
December marks time like no other month.
Tomorrow the winter solstice brings us the shortest day of the year followed by the longest night ... and days later, the end of one year and the beginning of another.
I’m thinking about how I can add light to my days and mark new beginnings. Not just new beginnings on the calendar, or the light from longer days, but the light and change that comes from doing things differently, seeing things in new light, and being curious.
Last week we had a snow storm ... a big one. Most of us got anywhere from 18 - 24 inches. And as it so often happens, the next day it was glorious. Sunny and bright and fresh.
After the storm, we took a ride ... uptown to State Street, left at Longfellow Square ... and there it was. A rainbow. Shimmering in the windblown snow hanging in the air.
This week's calendar ...
Thursday is Egg Nog Day. Are you a fan?
You'll also see that today is Poet Laureate Day. Because the statue in the rainbow photograph is poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, I want to share a post I did a while ago on blackout poetry.
Follow this link to read more about Longfellow and blackout poetry, and give it a try. Use it to create a poem. Stick it to the refrigerator or mail it to someone. It may add new light to your day.
After all, you could be a poet and don't even know it.
Even if you don't want to try the exercise, click through to read Longfellow's poem, Holidays anyway. It's fitting for this holiday season ... one that is so very different from so many others. Read it and let me know what you think.
And if you create a poem, share it with me. I'd love to read it.
p.s. There's also a link in the post to Robert Frost's poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. You can read the poem and find out why it's one of my favorites.
At the end of the block on the corner there's a garden planted on the edge of the road. It's tucked between the street and a stockade fence. It's so small, and jammed into such a small space, it seems more than a garden. It's a declaration. A fertile sign of determination and grit.
Someone wanted a garden and they were not to be deterred.
They wanted to grow peas, and tomatoes, and peppers. We know that's what's growing because they impaled the empty seed packets on sticks to mark what was in the ground. And we've watch them grow for weeks now.
There's a tradition in New England ... peas and salmon on the Fourth of July. Why? The salmon swim upstream this time of year, just when the peas begin to sprout.
I'm not sure the neighbors will pair salmon with their peas, but the garden's bounty is proof there's plenty to be savored when the seed of determination is planted.
Exploring the art and writing of short story memoir