The snow came down for hours yesterday – silent, soft flakes. I’m tired of the snow, but it still works it’s magic. You can’t help but feel the world is enchanted for those few, quiet hours when everything’s covered in a pillow of pristine powder.
We spent Thanksgiving at my stepmother-in-law’s house in the Shenandoah Valley. Daniel’s dad grew up in this area, so he took my sister-in-law and I on a walk down to the river. The town was quiet, blanketed in fresh snow.
At about this point on the walk, I realized I couldn’t feel my toes.
They have a lovely dog I enjoyed petting while we waited for the turkey to finish cooking. Donna, the aforementioned stepmother-in-law, makes delicious brussels sprouts with bacon, which I greedily ate with a heaping mound of mashed potatoes.
This fall is the best fall. Today is the best day.
I went on a meandering walk through my neighborhood this afternoon and discovered the loveliest views. It’s 65 and sunny. Neighbors are raking leaves, listening to music, and taking walks. The roads are quiet and the squirrels are out in crowds stocking up for winter. I was under the impression that most of the houses in my branch of the neighborhood were built in the early ’60s, but a few steps off the main road I discovered a Free Will Baptist Church and houses that must have been built around the turn of the 20th century.
After our car broke down, my grandparents graciously offered to sell us one of their cars. The only problem was that it was in Florida. So, within a week, we booked our one way flight to Tampa and prepared for a week of travel through the south.
We spent a relaxing few days in Bradenton at my grandparents house, enjoying Grandma’s beef with Amish noodles and watching a documentary about Florida on TV. On Sunday, we headed up to Orlando to attend church with Daniel’s mom before caravanning up to St. Augustine to be tourists for the afternoon.
A pirate ship!
After spending the night at my sister’s house in Jacksonville, we traveled up to Charlotte, NC. After a day of driving, we were fairly well exhausted, so we ordered takeout and watched trashy television into the evening.
The next day, we took a self-guided walking tour through Charlotte, admiring the Painted Ladies and modern downtown architecture, visiting a local Episcopal church, drinking delicious coffee, and eating at a local Greek restaurant.
It was the sort of trip everyone should take in the summertime. We paced ourselves and managed to see lots of friends and family as we snaked our way back to Charlottesville. I’m grateful that fate forced us to get down to Florida this year. Being with people who have known you forever is quite grounding.
This journal has turned into a place for photos and little else. I talk plenty in everyday life, but I haven’t felt the need to reiterate here. I’ve always journaled in some form or the other, but with access to various social media platforms, I have so many ways to have my voice heard or reflect on my day in small phrases and brief conversations. Maybe I need long form, but maybe the quiet is fine, too.
Charlottesville went from black and white to vibrant technicolor in the past few weeks. I’m enjoying the spring blooms as much as I can because I know they’ll give way to lizard green leaves in a few short weeks.
I think spring is really here this time around. The tree in the backyard is in bloom and the bees are happily feasting. I spent yesterday afternoon outside reading and dozing in the sun. I’m happy, energetic, hopeful. The Florida sun spoiled me and it’s hard to endure long, dark winters, but it looks like it’s over for now.