Keep close to Nature's heart...
and break clear away, once in awhile,
and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.
Wash your spirit clean.
- John Muir
Nothing like the mountains and nature to wash your spirits clean...I think Muir was on to something there. We've had such a great winter in the northwest, much down hill skiing and x-country skiing, unfortunately for me I hurt my right leg down hill skiing- after much investigating online I figured I did not have a torn meniscus but tendonitis- which is a relief- but equally stinks because I am so much pain hobbling along.
Feeling a little sorry for myself I nourish myself with hot chocolate and whip cream also granola- epic amounts of granola, both store bought and home made. Homemade is best but when in a pinch I'm not complaining eating the premade stuff, as long as I get my oats- my horses are rubbing off on me.
Birgitta, my aunt taught me how to make hot cocoa- the secret is to mix the cocoa and sugar first in the pot and then add a small amounts of cream to make it all blend in to a liquidy paste...then add the milk, other wise you get the cocoa clumps. I think of my mom when I drink cocoa, growing up in Sweden during the 2nd world war- where everything was rationed or non existent, they would make it with water and no sugar (pretty bitter tasting)- if there was any cocoa available.
Growing up in Oslo as a kid, after hours of sledding- looking like a wet felted wool blanket ( fleece & Gore-Tex was not yet invented)with my wool mittens, hat, sweater that had been soaked and then frozen stiff by playing in the snow. Once inside, I quickly peeled off my wet wool clothes and sat in my long johns by the fire, frozen fingers wrapped around the cocoa mug, the warm steam and sweet smell of chocolate would be inhaled, then devoured, accompanied usually with a delicious open faced salami sandwich - which always hit the spot.
Fond memories. My mom made the best cocoa, and so.... the memories of her and my family in Norway I guess somehow is connected to that, in a cup of cocoa.
Here in wintery Montana, darkness is the name of the game, getting up in the morning at 5:30am to feed my horses, still is under a starlight sky. " Zero dark thirty" as chef calls it. Wearing my heavy muck boots and whatever parka or the like, I can find in the wee hours I trudge in the snow, it is bone cold. The girls greet me in the darkness with a whinny, they are cold and hungry after a blustery night- I grab a bale from the barn, I can't find my knife to cut the twine that holds the bale together. Using a leftover piece of twine to rub against the twine that holds the square bale - the friction between the two will brake the twine, the hay comes out in flakes and easy to feed. Fiona and Bella get good amounts of hay in the winter- it's what keeps them warm.
Living in the mountains a great sense of gratitude for nature and quietude that is here, but also a sense of isolation. As an introvert living in a small mountain town suits me - I never felt at home in the city, but I still miss all the cultural and historical offerings Oslo provides. My daughter left for Portland, Oregon with a group this morning- she will be gone for 4 days visiting and exploring the costal city. I am a bit jealous since there is no travel in my near future. Always been very interested in Portland, it seems like such a vibrant and energetic, artist town...city. With limited amounts of artistic endeavors in my neck of the woods I yearn to stretch out my arms and ask for more- more creativity and inspiration and as I wrote here I have been quite lost as I no longer dyeing yarn. So....I have signed up for an E-course with Flora Bowley who lives in Portland. The beauty is I have access to her and her teachings online, I am eager to get started. Her colors, creativity and talent has inspired me to jump into something head first -painting.
Pretty incredible to be able to do big city things from my little small town in the mountains, using my puter. I can still have one foot in the city and one foot in the woods -I'll always be in the woods...heh!
Mountain living can have the best of both worlds....even in the darkness of winter a new bright light that shines inside me...
In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.