Grace in Small Things #26



Across the Road Starlight, by Randall Street

So for today, here are my five things:

1. A cool stream in the mountains over running rocks.

2. A winter night sky in the mountains unimpeded by city lights so that all of the stars can be seen.

3. A hot cup of Darjeeling tea, strong with sugar and cream, in the afternoon.

4. A new book by Preston and Child in and Pendergast series.

5. Finding the perfect image to illustrate one of my blogs. Even better, coming across a brand new artist.

Tag: You’re It

Play Along For Fun

This is an easy one to let fellow bloggers know some of the things that you have accomplished in life without answering questions. Just bold what you have done, and unbold what you haven’t done, and repost. You may want to change the pictures to highlight the adventures that are more personal to you.

The Summit of the Humpback Rocks in Virginia

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (Been to Disneyworld)
8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (writing poetry)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb (does a baby goat count?)
26 Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

Total Eclipse of the Sun

29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Visited an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (I think that html  and xml should count)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (probably and just didn’t recognize it at the time)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (one of my favorites)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (wish that I had)
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive in theater (those were fun)
55. Been in a movie (an extra in the movie Roller Coaster, totally unforgettable movie)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen (cooked for one once)
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching

Whale Watching off Cape Cod

63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp (Visited the Holocaust Museum in D.C.)
67. Bounced a cheque
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (yuck)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
(politicians and media?)
92. Joined a book club (I read too fast for clubs and don’t have the patience)
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (four)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone (to date, five; I’m hard on them)
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Autumn blues

I would love to live in a region that has an actual fall season. Autumn begins on the September equinox, which is September 22 this year. Now where I live, it might be 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or it might be 75 degrees on September 22. The same could be true on October 22 as well as November 22. I remember eating Thanksgiving dinner on the picnic table on the patio at my mother-in-law’s house one year when the thermometer registered 84 degrees.

I’m not complaining about the balmy Thanksgiving, and the mild winters are certainly nice when it comes to our heating bills. However, I would dearly love to have more than two weeks of fall, which is about all that we get of my favorite season before we go into winter. For me, autumn is days of crisp 50 and 60 degree temperatures, clear skies, the smells of falling leaves, the sounds of Canada geese. There is no other smell quite like the smell of fall, and the night sky in the fall is incomparable to any other sky at any other time of the year.

I suppose I love fall so much because I have spent fall in the mountains, and it spoils you. A full season of light sweater weather before you really need an outer coat, and then bundling up at night beneath a quilt. Bonfires on the weekends. Hot chocolate. Camping outdoors before it becomes too cold to do so. Looking up at a sky so full of stars that you have a real sense of how endless the universe truly is. And then the beauty of the changing leaves-golds, ambers, and reds so intense that mother earth’s palette comes alive like a magnificent Caravaggio portrait, an odd reversal of masterpieces. 
So perhaps you can understand my disappointment at living in an area in which people run their air conditioners well into October. Students wear shorts and flip flops everyday, and then suddenly, they are in jeans, boots, and sweaters for the duration, until the two weeks of spring before summer sets in.

It is an odd place to live, as extreme in its weather as it is in its populace and its politics. But for all of that, I don’t know that I would survive in an area that has a real winter, which is the trade off for a real fall. I like one or two snowfalls, but I hate the bitter cold. I don’t think that I would like to live up north where you have to defrost your car for five minutes before you can go anywhere in the morning. I’ve been too spoiled by my temperate winters.

Ideally, I would like to live in a place that gets no colder than 50 degrees, maybe 45, and no hotter than 80. It should be near the water, and within driving distance of the mountains. Not a big city, but not a small town unless it’s a college town. Do places like this even exist anywhere in the world, and if they do, can I go there with my brood in tow?