January has been a relatively cold month for us this year. We are not expected to get above freezing for 4 days this week (more pond hockey, hopefully). We have had 4 “snow” days this month–school canceled, basically, for cold weather (it did snow in the north and west parts of the county which are at higher elevation than we are). No snow is a little disappointing. Growing up, the few snows that we got were good for snowball fights and snow angels, but here in the mountains, sledding and hiking in the snow are so much fun! Will we get any this year?
We have been out hiking some–no school makes it easier to work hikes into the schedule–and getting out into the woods can be magical, especially with frozen falling water. I hiked with all the children to a small waterfall near our house one day this weekend when it was not so cold. Then William, the boys, and I hiked to another waterfall near our house that is tall and impressive, but does not have a lot of volume. The ice on these hikes was fun to find and explore.
On a side note, I cannot get Hythe to wear a coat (or hat) most of the time. I thought natural consequences might work (i.e. he gets cold, then will put on a coat). But, he might be shivering, teeth chattering, and he still refuses to put on a coat insisting he is not cold. I remember fighting with my mother about wearing a coat and being frustrated that she wanted me to wear one when, obviously (in my mind), I did not need one (was it too warm, was the coat itchy, did I not want to be burdened with it inside?). Who knows what goes on the minds of children? So, he doesn’t wear a coat (but I do carry it around wherever we go, just in case).
Last week, we had unusually warm weather, then lots of rain. Today rain has finally stopped and the temperature has dropped. But, last week, when we had that nice warm weather, I ended up with a day with my two boys and not much of an agenda. It was really nice–to not have anywhere we had to be, to not have a scheduled day–to just do what we wanted when we wanted, and as a really nice bonus, the weather was fantastic (for late December). I had been really wanting to make a Christmas cake (more to come on that), but it is complicated, so I needed some free time to make sure I got the measurements correct. This was the day to do that. Plus, I had some great sous chef help. And, with the weather so nice, after Hythe and I put the cakes in the oven, we took off on a hike (but, first a play on the swing set). Steven rode on my back and we hiked up to a small waterfall on the family property. It was so warm on our south-facing ridge that Hythe wore shorts and a t-shirt, but the north-facing cove we hiked up was pretty chilly. It was such a fun hike–Hythe chatted the whole time, pointing out fairy pools and moss and admiring the creek falls. And the scenery was beautiful. Sometimes getting out into the forest is the most refreshing thing for me. My worries fall away–they stop mattering.
This hike was one of those times that you want to freeze and remember forever, but is mundane enough that you know you won’t remember it by next year. You want to keep those feelings and your children, so small and innocent and sweet–to bring back and enjoy at another time. But, there will never be that time again. The moment passes, the children grow. My only consolation to this inevitable loss is to try and enjoy those moments and recognize them for what they are–fleeting morsels of life to be savored to the fullest. I may not remember exactly what happened in those moments later, but I think I will remember the contentment and happiness.