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Monday, January 6, 2014

when the world turns to glass

The ice storm that hit Maine last week has brought such beauty and destruction to our area that it is hard to balance the two opposing notions when you look around.  I have never seen Maine as beautiful as this, where the copious woods seem to made up of silent filigree giants.  When the sun hits the trees just right it seems the whole world is glass.  

Of course these same stunning, ice encrusted branches are a double edged sword, falling freely onto power lines or heavily onto the ground, weakening the trees and making them vulnerable to disease and possible death.  Driving down the road you see massive branches curved downward in reverse arcs with the tops lying frozen in the snow.  After the ice fell from the sky and stuck on the trees the temperatures dropped dramatically and froze this world like a grand pause button, leaving us in this stunning ice for days on end. 

None of these pictures really capture the arresting beauty of this ice world.  Looking at it through the lens dulled it and I felt like I was having about as much success as trying to hold a rainbow in my hand.  

We got a small reprieve from the frigid a few days ago (and then returned to the kind of cold that makes it impossible to be warm unless I am sitting directly beside the wood stove)  and took the kids sledding and it was such fun.  I laughed so hard which reminded me that I need to do my Kegel's.

Okay, but here is my real ice related story.

We had a strong foundation of snow on the ground before we got the 2 inches of ice. Then we got another snow storm so we had, essentially an ice sandwich.  This lead our kids to discover that shoveling some snow in the back yard produced and "ice skating rink" when they found the smooth, hard ice under the most recent snowfall.  Maya and I went out to "work" on clearing off the "skating rink".  Once it was totally bare, Maya encouraged me to try her slide technique which entails running across the ice and sliding on your knees the rest of the way.

Now as you may know, I have been working hard to show up for my life and to be a more present mom.  I have been trying to be less stressed and more playful, trying to say yes to the tea parties, the games of UNO and Chutes and Ladders.  So I said to myself, "Yes, I would rather be inside finishing that loaf of pumpkin bread and starting supper but I will slide across this ice and be free with my daughter."  So I ran with heart and slid like a rock star doing a guitar solo across that ice.  And I forgot it wasn't a real ice rink, that it was in fact a layer of ice on snow, and my knee went crashing through the ice like an angry fist in a wall.  The pain that shot through me was intense and burning (and slightly worrisome) but soon I was laughing- the kind of laughing you do instead of crying.  I continued to laugh and then laugh some more and soon the hilarity of the situation, of my throwing caution to the wind on a fake ice rink made by my children, caught me squarely and had me in hysterics.

I think my hysteria frightened Maya a bit and she said, "It's okay Momma. You're okay."  She was perhaps reassuring herself as much as me.  I said, "Now there is a big hole in your ice skating rink!"  She patted me on the arm and said, "If you can get me some water I can make more ice. I know how to.  I saw it on a show."

So I limped toward the house patting myself on the back for letting my kids watch too much TV lately, trying not to worry about the state of my knee ligaments, and feeling grateful to be free enough to cross unchecked into old age where being fun gets you injured.

I am really proud of the kind of mom I was over this extended 2 week Christmas vacation.  I felt like I showed up even in the hard moments and cultivated a ton of patience that I could call on when my kids needed it. When I needed it.  I made being a mom a bigger priority than having my house clean or my stuff done and, once I got over the initial discomfort, it felt really good.  By last night though, I felt I had run out of steam and didn't have any more reserves.  I needed some time alone.

I woke up this morning so looking forward to school drop off.  Instead I was met with a snow day.  Or an ice day as it so happens.  We have ice falling from the sky again and another day together.

May I be blessed with strength and more patience.  And may our shingles be strong and keep the melting ice at bay.

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