Whose tracks are these?

Winter nights

Sometimes I am just so incredibly grateful for the safety and predictability of my life.

It has been an unusually cold, harsh winter.  It has snowed  nearly every two days for weeks. The piles of snow in the yard now cover every bush and plant and tree stump. The pine trees in the woods behind our house are bending over in the wind, covered with mounds of icy frosting. Hungry birds cluster at the suet basket, desperate for food.

When the wind blows, my bay window fills with a screen of snowy crystals. I shiver as I watch them swirl past.

I am safe inside.  I have a solid roof, sturdy walls, a furnace at the ready.

Sometimes I am just so happy that I can stay right here.  On days like this, in months like this one, in winters as cold as we are seeing now, I am so happy that I can stay on my couch, my coffee cup in hand.  I am acutely aware of how lucky I am to have flour and yeast and eggs and honey as I mix up a batch of bread dough and let the warm smell fill my kitchen.

But on days like this one, as I stir my soup and hug my dogs and wrap up in another woolen sweater, I am also intensely aware of all of the people in my world who aren’t as lucky as I am.

I look out into the icy blue woods, and I think of people in my state, in my town, who are huddled somewhere tonight just praying that the cardboard box will keep out the vicious wind.  That tomorrow the soup kitchen will have something really hot to keep them going one more day.

I’m thinking of children, hungry tonight, and cold.  I’m thinking of young mothers, heating ramen noodles in tiny apartments, hoping that the heat will stay on for one more night.

I stand at my window, watching the world as if I am once again inside of a snow globe.  I think of my three young adult children, financially still fragile but protected by parents who will never let them be cold and afraid.  I feel my good luck in my bones and in my heart.  A part of me that I never earned, but which I cherish.

I am so grateful for this humble home.  So incredibly aware of how lucky I am today to be here. Warm and safe and at rest.

And I am so aware of my responsibility and my sense of duty to those who are not as lucky as I have been.

In the “richest country in the world”, in the “greatest country that has ever existed”, I stand at my window, looking out into another winter night.  I wonder what it is that we need to do to make sure that every single child has a warm bed tonight.


15 thoughts on “Home

  1. I like your header picture. Memories of summer.

    The snow is over the top of the picnic table in the yard. The driveway is so heavily iced our car has been stuck solid for days and we are running out of supplies. I can’t navigate that driveway, so even if we had a usable car. Even with a ton of salt, it’s a sheet of ice. And more snow is on the way.

    I can’t imagine how bad it would be if we didn’t have this place, even with the terrible ski slope driveway. It makes me shiver just thinking about it.


  2. Yes we are lucky, but I have to take issue with your “greatest country that has ever existed”. I’m pretty fond of my own little corner of heaven here in Ireland.


    • Ah, but you missed the “quotation marks”! It is one of my absolute pet peeves, the way that so many American journalists and politicians use the term “greatest” and “best” to delude themselves about our country.
      Having been to Ireland once, far too briefly, I would agree with you, my dear!! Slainte!


      • No worries!
        I actually hope that the rest of the world shudders when people from here use those terms. I mean, honestly…..I had a good fight with a friend once when he referred to the US as the “greatest nation that has ever existed”….I reminded him of the Roman Empire, Athens, tried to bring up The Ottomans, but he hadn’t heard of them. LOL! Americans need a good rousing kick in the ass, if you as me.


      • Brilliant. I lived for a while in Australia and I heard them say their education system was second to none, but I had just left Ireland where they were saying the same! I think most countries think they are amazing at something, or in the USA case, everything. 🙂


  3. Your piece made me think about Jordan Davis–the 17-year-old shot by an IT salesman over loud music. I believe Jordan was his parents only child. What do we need to do as Americans to really become the greatest country? Stop killing our children. God help us. Lovely post Moms.


    • Thanks, Eleanor.
      I am so horrified, and so saddened by what happened to Jordan. The truth is: too many people in this country truly believe that its OK to shoot people who annoy us. Especially kids. Especially black kids.
      We need to face the truth before we can change the truth.


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