Calm and Cold

It’s January here in northern California and dang is it cold. I know from elsewhere in the world one might be thinking, pshaw! Cold?! In California? but I kid you not. It’s been downright freezing here.

All the drizzly rain that dumped in December is locked into a permafrost-like layer on our meadow and surrounding roads. Oh, and the house! Well, let’s just say that raised foundation homes centered in meadows where the winter sun never reaches certainly makes the name of our home, Shadowbrook, officially confirmed. Brrrrr. And yes, when it’s 22 degrees Far. outside, it’s 20 inside if you’re not nearby the darned fireplace.
Anyhow, on to actual thoughts of the world. Or my world anyhow. The other day I opened the closet door to slip on shoes headuing to town and dreamt of warm boots. I could see these things. Warm, durable, soft…warm boots that I’d be willing to wear outside. (Because I finally splurged on shearling boots this year, but not for stepping in chicken muck and mud outside.)

So what do I find as we peruse a thrift store during our midday lunch break that same day? Just someone’s old outdoor Ugg boots! With all the tread and a perfect fit. Ha!
I tell you, visualization-self-actualization has been working wonders in my life.

I used to call it Prayer. Dear God, may I find warmth in whatever means you find suitable.

Then I ignored it all for a long bout. Life is a series of random but meaningful events.

And now, where I’m at this moment, I see each aspect of our lives as a portrait accompanied by a vast array of explanations, descriptions and theories. So, going with self-actualization as one description of actively energizing one’s life, I’m tickled. Truly. Tickled by all sorts of “new” things in my life. I swear that for each bag of things I give away each week (don’t ask me how I still manage to find a whole bag’s worth EVERY SINGLE WEEK, but I do), the things we need slide into place without us even having an opportunity to begin active preparations or planning.

Oh yes, and my newest photography joy! Have you ever google’d your family? Not your now-family necessarily, but your ancestors? Because I did last month and was in awe.

I began with my heart’s desire. To know more about my great-grandmother. I typed in her name and pushed “search” and bam! a photograph of her gravestone (which we’d just visited on our big trip back to the midwest) and a photo someone shared from her short life. (She only lived to be 44.) I was floored. I’d only seen a few photos from my grandfather’s family while he was alive, and this one was just sitting there on

In this photo Hattie Maye was a newlywed, a beautifully young 20 years old, with my great grandfather. He died a few years before her, their deaths leaving behind six children, ages 6 through 16, the eldest of whom was my grandfather. Their story haunts me, all the children divided up between aunts and uncles around the US, while my grandpa left home to work. My grandfather was eerily quiet when I asked him about growing up years ago during a high school interview-your-family assignment. Besides remembering fondly being a lone shepherd going days out at a time as a boy, life moved abruptly to leaving home to work for the CCC’s (Civilian Conservation Corps).

And I cannot imagine Hattie’s life as she prepared to give birth to her sixth baby in a Nebraskan snow blizzard in a small shanty, father-in-law deceased and now husband dead of pneumonia. It was what I picture as the beginning of her downward spiral, her falling apart. And it’s gripped me ever since I could remember. And of course now I wish with all my might that I’d asked more questions. Before my grandfather died.
hattie maye

Because I’m not sure how she is entwined in my past, beyond biological obviously, but her name has returned to me again and again with feelings beyond the norm. One of these days I can’t wait to get another past life reading. Anyhow, I keep this photo on an open tab and find myself popping in just to gaze at it in pure wonder.

P.S. On a completely new subject, did anyone else get weepy as Pres. Obama was sworn in on Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday? Oh, the epiphany as the second term begins. I’m ready for this ride.

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2 comments to Calm and Cold

  • Judy

    She was so pretty! I wonder if this is their wedding photo? Wayne was such a good man. She was probably a very special person. How neat that you found that!

    • I thought you’d enjoy seeing it Mom. Total coincidence too. Hers was the first name I typed in and the only one out of the ten or so I tried that had a photo. Incredibly neat indeed.