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The unmistakable trumpet of Canadian geese pierced through the early morning airwaves and were received by my welcoming ears.  In the spring, these first honkings validate with assurance and confidence that winter is surely on the wane because there are new feathered sherrifs in town.  We know when the geese head south, so do our hopes of continued late summer and autumn joys.  Their departing audio conversations sound sad to those of us left behind.  Left behind to face a cold and icy future.   

But today, the Canadians are back and my heart jumped with joy for surely on their strong wings my prayers for winter’s end are answered.   

It is true. 

Prayers and wishes can, indeed, come true.

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This past weekend, I had the honor of attending a mesmerizing performance at the local art center.  The story line centered on the friendship built between two men who hailed from different cultures and social contexts.  Two men on a stage led the audience on the journey of their friendship through the years against a backdrop of gorgeous and breathtaking photography and video.  One of the men was killed in the pursuit of his passion, wildlife and outdoor photography, and the remaining friend wrote a book which was subsequently adapted for the performance art piece. 

In the play’s program the director wrote about the “shallow and deep simplicity of friendship.”  He likened friendship to a river that we “often cross shallowly.”  He wrote that “[T]oo often we fail to see it [friendship] with the significance it deserves.  Simple friendship has depths that cannot be plumbed.” 

These words and the strong thought and emotion provoking dialogue between these friends have taken up their fair share of my head space this week.  Gotten me reflecting on the unremarkable and the remarkable aspects of my everyday friendships and the sustenance that each relationship brings to my life.  There are the friendship brooks and creeks, burbling and percolating along; the ones that mirror huge crashing waves of both ecstasy and despair; the streams that fill to overflowing in the spring and freeze up tight in the winter; the deep broad still lakes mirroring back who I am and the lay of the land; and ponds, some spilling over that may one day become a lake and other ponds that have shrunk and are in the process of drying up from seasons of drought. 

Some are ripe for plumbing the depths with the hope of revealing new treasure.  Others already plumbed, some with slightly disappointing results and others that inspired a big huge shazaaaam.  Not all friendships are meant to be plumbed but instead are transitory in their very nature ~ their gift made richer by their impermanence. 

I love the meandering creeks and eddies, the written word and the performance art pieces that live on in lively and quiet debates  ~ the internal plumbing of the soul, psyche and heart.

There can be no doubt left in anyone’s mind of which season has us in its icy grip. And if there was a smidgin of denial left in anyone’s psyche, the number of snowflakes that fell yesterday well into the darkness of the night would have smothered any such ability to compartmentalize or sidestep the fact that King Winter remains seated on his ice carved throne.

Weather records are being broken right and left all over the far flung regions in my corner of this planet. Phrases like “one of the five coldest winters in recorded history” and “the coldest winter in the past 40 years” to the north of us ~ and slightly southeast of my location “the heaviest snowfall on record” ~ to my very own little slice of frozen ground “the coldest month of January” and the “most snowfall to date” of any recorded winter.

Avalanches, collapsing buildings, frozen cheerleaders, massive numbers of moose deaths on highways and a backlog up to two weeks for plow service.

Giddy ski enthusiasts, manic snowboarders, adrenaline seeking snowmachiners and yards filled with snow angels.

Yeppers, folks. We’ve got us a winter goin’ on up in this Land of Yes Virginia It is Almost Always Winter in This Neck of the Woods.

Have you ever been missing something or someone but only became aware of their absence upon their return? Well that was me, or at least my experience, day before yesterday while visiting a neighbor when we were both graced by a mom and her baby. A cow moose mom and her two-year old calf baby, that is. They were munching their way through the yard, enjoying the tasty birch trees and snacking on snow to wash down the significant amount of roughage. My neighbor and I even got to have eye-to-eye contact with mama moose as she peered through the living room windows, perhaps curious as to what was being served for dinner behind the four walls.

While watching the moose go about their day, I realized how much I have missed their moose-y presence this winter. With the exception of this cow and calf I have only seen two other moose all winter. Where I used to live, at the Compound, in a more country like setting, I had grown accustomed to frequent and almost daily sightings of these majestic and dignified looking creatures. In fact, there was a mama moose who I had the honor of watching for five winters and summers. She sported a large healed but jagged grey scar along her left side and gave birth to two sets of twins during our acquaintanceship.

So last night while playing Scrabble with a friend at my dining room table, I was happy and pleased to see my second sighting of this new-to-me neighborhood mom moose and calf strolling through the deep snow right outside my windows. While scarfing down the tender birch branches, the snow would fall onto their furry faces, highlighting their long lush eyelashes ~ a picture perfect moment for sure.

So I did what I am wont to do upon spying any wild animal within reach of my human species ~I send a prayer for their safety up to the Heavens that be, quickly followed by my prayer of thanks-giving to share the Earth with such beauty.

Oh Ms. Mama Moose how I have missed you.
Thank you for reminding me of your presence on this planet.
Thank you for filling a void in my winter that only you can fill.
Blessed be to you and your baby ~

November 2017
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