35 Days….

Spring is coming. For New England, with our shift in seasons, it means the heaviest snows still lie ahead of us. Where January and February were deep winter, now it’s March and April. Northern winter has crept closer, the wind currents that protected us from the coldest winds disrupted as our climate changes. I don’t make that statement lightly. I work in an industry that places bets based on weather events, and the world of insurance embraced the reality of climate shift years ago.

For me, it’s not a matter of politics. It’s a matter of profits and trips planning, product development and budgeting for heat. It impacts both my work and my personal life, and so if you read a great deal about weather in these short messages, there’s the reason.

Training has begun. There will be back-packing again this Spring, and resuming my duties patrolling the boundaries of the Appalachian Trail. There is the treat of Yosemite in July, but also the hikes I’ll take with my new Scout troop of young girls who prefer tents to cabins and making fires to learning about fabrics. And then, Scotland and hiking the highlands in Fall.

So far, five pounds down and another fifteen to go. I’ll switch back to my skinny jeans and I’ll be resigned to skin that doesn’t snap back the way it used to. In another four weeks, I’ll give myself a break, scaling back to four days instead of six. I’ll scale back the protein, and resume my quest for the best red wine made in Connecticut. (So far, it’s been an elusive hunt, but I keep trying)

My best to all of you, and my gratitude and thanks to Ms Buffy, who got this chapter so late, but took time out of her day to make sure it was back so I could post it. You are a wizard in your own way, and I gratefully acknowledge the skillful editing that makes this chapter read so much more smoothly. Thank you!

Chapter 35 – Mandala

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Early start…

I’ve restructured my schedule (again) so that Sunday morning is a rest day. Kind of. (Not really).

I’m not getting up at the butt-crack of dawn to exercise on Sundays. I’m waiting until noon. Most days I find myself up and at the gym by 5:30. It’s the beginning of my new battle, the one whose flag reads, ‘I will not go softly into old age.’ It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the experience that comes with this side of that tall hill. I do. I enjoy having seen so much because it gives me the grace to be amused by the things that pissed me off before.

I’ve learned to savor the small moments. I pull over when the sun hits the trees just right in winter, giving the bare branches that rare, elusive shade of pink. I slow my step when I see fall leaves brushing against white birch. I close my eyes and breath in the heavy sweetness of summer in the forest and in Spring, the quick, loamy smell of damp soil that signals the waking of things.

I have learned that each moment is its own miracle, and that no matter how often you make mistakes during any day, the next morning you have that chance to begin anew.

But there are things I’ve needed to changed. Three new words have been added to my morning mantra: strength, flexibility and balance.

I watch women my age slow and fade. They tuck into cookies and eating out and the lives of their children before their own. They lose their rhetoric and become more judgmental as their lives shrink into the confines of their houses. They have no time for a glass of wine or a walk on the weekends. They talk of travel, but never go if not in the company of family.

I can’t judge them. I can only say that for now, that life is not for me. This year the big trips are Yosemite and back to Scotland. I walk with others this year, and am trying to figure out how to add at least one more trip that will allow me time to walk the trails on my own, for it is during those walks that I find myself.

My best to all of you on this slower Sunday morning. There is a treat. I’ve re-posted The Horn with Ms Buffy’s edits, as well as this latest chapter, Tangled Webs. If you read last week’s chapter, you’ll notice the improvements! Ms Buffy truly is the best.

Chapter 34 – Tangled Webs

Winter is Coming…

Actually, in this part of the world, winter has arrived. The snow on the trees is encased in a coating of ice and I hear the occasional crack as a weak branch gives way under the sheet weight of water. The sun is coming and within the hour, my outside world will be transformed into a blaze of crystal.

I am still inside. I am recovering. It wasn’t the flu but this season’s cold laid me low for almost two weeks. It kept me from work and derailed my gym sessions. I survived on chicken soup, turkey soup and clear broth. I binge-watched television, slipping in and out of NyQuil haze and wondered when I’d feel myself again.

I’m getting there.

Thank you for your patience. What I will share – Getting old is not for the faint of heart. It’s a constant balance of knowing when to fight and when to accept.

Thank you, Ms Buffy, for your efforts on my behalf. They are so appreciated!

And thank you, my readers, for your patience!

 Chapter 32 – Swinging Away

High Cotton

It’s an odd saying, meaning one is doing well or is successful. I remember reading it first in Gone With the Wind, and somehow, it seemed appropriate. The Northmans have ‘arrived.’ They are accepted at Summits, their advice sought. People talk about them and eyes naturally move in their direction. Are their lives settled? Far from it, (and when will they ever be?), but for now, things do seem to be going their way.

All my best and best wishes for a prosperous and blessed 2019.

I hope to see Harlow Layne books grace my bookshelves and Amazon feeds. I wish Ms Buffy a wonderful, healthy year filled with happy tales of family and friends.

I hope you each find your own best happiness in the year that is to come.

Chapter 30 – High Cotton