September 22, 2019
Book of the Day
“I want to support you and I want to be the first to
kick-off your Pre-Orders for the new book!”
This was what I was told at my recent visit to my eye specialist.
I think I floated out of that office –
I don’t remember my feet touching the ground.
Some days are like this. Some are not.
He has examined my eyes as he has done for the past 12 years, as I lost most of my sight suddenly in 2007. He has encouraged me in my writing and art projects and told me how proud he is of the way I have refused to let sight loss side-line me.
Not only did I leave his office with a great report from my scans today, that everything is holding and I am not losing more sight at this time – but, then, the affirmation he gave me on my newest publication was a little boost that everyone needs from time to time.
And, here is the big surprise I got this evening:
For immediate Release: from Lynda McKinney Lambert
September 20, 2019:
TODAY: first snow is Book of the Day on Finishing Line Press.
first snow – featured on Finishing Line Press social media sites.
FLP is running a paid advertisement this week on social media for my new chapbook!
About the Author:
Lynda McKinney Lambert, is a retired college professor of fine arts and humanities. Retirement from teaching opened the door for her to write full-time. She explores the themes of landscape, mythology, pilgrimage, fine arts and literature in her writing.
She loves walking through a meadow of wild flowers; gazing at a star-strewn sky; spending solitary winter days with her husband, Bob, their 2 rescued cats and 2 rescued dogs.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR first snow by Lynda McKinney Lambert
My grandmother knew the name of every bird by note and call who ever sang to the sun in the fields by her Wisconsin country home, and she knew the names of the trees by bark and needle and leaf in the woods. In these days of urban desolation and digital isolation, it is harder and harder to keep hold of the once-common natural knowledge. Here in Lynda Lambert’s poetry the vitality of the seasons is still felt, seen and heard. Lambert notices the colors and sounds that surround us, those sights and odes that barely register through our buds and pads and windshields, and she names them for us and she remembers them for us. In these poems, Lambert calls her readers to celebrate the blue spruce in the morning fog, to “stand in darkness / urging Blood Moon-arise” and to be alive in the old ways. “It feels like we have been here,” she says of one icy morning, “for a thousand years.” In these pages, we have.
–Russell Streur, editor Plum Tree Tavern, author Fault Zones.
RESERVE YOUR COPY OF THIS LIMITED EDITION TODAY, PREORDER SHIPS JANUARY 3, 2020
https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/first-snow-by-lynda-mckinney-lambert/ #poetry, #book #booklovers #readers #flp #poetrylovers #chapbook
4 Sample Poems from first snow…
By Lynda McKinney Lambert
for the first
along the banks of
dull morning light
gold-plated Gingko leaves
from “Dream Sequence” # 4
In my dream (#4)
I climb upwards
on the ladder I stumbled upon
in the woods one afternoon.
the ladder is unstable
“Keep it straight up,” I whisper.
“Keep your body centered. Stay poised.”
Silver Cloud Dancers
Silver clouds swirl & spin in circles
Inflated silence above her golden head. She
Levitates above the floor, reaches for
Variable visions of mesmerizing cloud-pillows.
Eternally drifting in uncertain lifecycles
Round & square. Touch the floating orbs.
Cloud dancer stretches her slender hands
Longevity is unpredictable, uncertain
Out-of-the-box survival fluctuates
Determined by chemistry & chaos.
Dance your memories in silver clouds
Air and pure helium lift in rhythm
No one can calculate your journeys
Choreography of individual flights
Every Friday morning new clouds arrive
Repeat the process of new expectations
Some silver clouds last for a week. Some don’t.
My Daughter Cut the Roses
My daughter looked
at the bouquet of fresh roses
noticed two of them were drooping.
“Let me show you how to trim the roses
so they stay fresh and strong.” she said.
Her hands held the roses tenderly
One-by-one, trimmed off extra leaves
“These will make the water stink,” she said.
She found scissors in the drawer
put the roses in a bowl of tepid water
held each stem under water
sliced them all, diagonally –
“As I cut the rose under the water,
little bubbles of air come to the surface.
Now, when the rose inhales
it will only breathe water into it,
it won’t fill up with air.
The living water inside the stems
gives longer life to each rose.”
She carried the freshened flowers
In the tall glass vase
back to the center of the dining room table
darkest crimson buds, sunny yellow petals,
deep green fern leaves
and a frilly white carnation.
First snow is featured today on the following sites:
Lynda’s Authors Page- Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/author/lyndalambert
Lynda’s Official Authors Page: http://www.dldbooks.com/lyndalambert/
Smashwords – get my e-book: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/lyndalambert
Website & Blog: Lynda McKinney Lambert – Official Author’s Website
Scan-A-Blog – A quiet Place of Inspiration, Art, Nature, Literature
Saturday is for Sharing
February 23, 2019
Good morning to our Readers
Author’s Interview with
Lynda and Miss Opal
We are so delighted to welcome a fellow writer and author
~ Jo Elizabeth Pinto ~
Jo Elizabeth Pinto ~
LYNDA_ WELCOME To RIVER ROAD STUDIO, IN THE RURAL VILLAGE OF Wurtemburg.
Early this morning. Lynda & Miss Opal watched from the kitchen window as Jo Elizabeth Pinto walked down the long sidewalk and stepped up onto the wraparound porch of their century-old home in The Village of Wurtemburg, in rural western Pennsylvania.
Jo arrived after a long trip from her home in Colorado. Miss Opal, the curious feline writing assistant to Lynda, was at the door, waiting to greet our long-expected guest.
Lynda_ Good Morning, Jo. As you see, my assistant, Miss Opal, is here to welcome you. She is such a help and comfort to us and we also have her sister-cat, Miss Bessie. But that isn’t all. As you can see, the 2 dogs, who just greeted you as you came into the kitchen, are Miss Dixie Tulip and Miss Mitchell. The little brown Doxi-mix is our Miss Dixie Tulip, and Miss Mitchell is the taller one with brindle spots. Miss Mitchell is the one who barked at you from the window. She gets very excited for she is a terrier.
Before you arrived this morning, we were wondering if you have a favorite animal in your life? Do you have a bird, or a favorite wild animal that is really an important part of your life? Sometimes, we know that people have a totem animal or other sort of special creature. And, if you do, when did you become aware of that?
Jo_At age eight, I began attending a camp for people with disabilities in the Colorado mountains. There were hummingbirds everywhere, hovering and sipping nectar from the flowers and hanging feeders. I loved hearing their high-pitched calls and rapidly beating wings.
Some years later, I was a young woman at the same camp. I m happy to say that the man who would become my first husband showed me a tiny nest of hummingbird eggs, no bigger than miniature jellybeans. I once freed a hummingbird trapped on a high window ledge. Before I released the exquisite creature, I relished for a moment the touch of its soft feathers and slender beak against my fingertips, its delicate feet on my palm, its vibrating heartbeat in my cupped hands.
Lynda_ Did those earlier encounters with the tiny birds give you a better or deeper understanding of nature?
Jo_ I eventually researched hummingbirds on the Internet. I was awestruck by the way the virtually weightless little birds fly nearly 450 miles, or up to twenty hours against the wind, over the Gulf of Mexico without stopping to rest, to reach their wintering grounds. I started to feel a deep kinship with the hummingbird. Both of us may seem fragile to the world, but we are amazingly strong and free. I got a tattoo of a hummingbird with flowers on each shoulder. I love my tattoos; I can cover them most of the time and show them off when I choose to.
Lynda_ Well, I have to say, I also have 2 tattoos. They are both images of a griffin. I have always been interested in Greek Mythology and the creatures I’ve read about in those ancient writings. Sometimes, they come into my poems, too.
Miss Opal_ When we talk about animals, I have to admit that I like to watch birds from our windows, Jo. I am really very shy, so I am contented just to see them from a distance. I would not want to touch one of them, as you did with the little hummingbird.
Are you shy, too, Jo? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? I like all people, but, I am a little bit shy around them sometimes. My sister, Bessie, always hides from people.
Lynda_ What makes you think you belong to a certain group of people?
Jo_ I’m definitely an introvert. That doesn’t mean I don’t love people, and it doesn’t mean I’m shy around them. Neither is true, although I do prefer small groups and intimate settings to large crowds. I’ve never been afraid of public speaking, and I enjoy good conversation and an active social life. Still, I draw my energy from taking some time to myself every day. If I don’t get a bit of solitude at least several times a week, I feel overwhelmed and out-of-sorts. Introverts and extroverts may both care equally about people. But introverts refuel by taking time alone, while extroverts recharge by seeking interactions with others.
Lynda_ What do you think about your name? Do you use your own name for your professional work?
Jo_ Most of my family calls me Jo Elizabeth, which I’ve always loved. Friends usually shorten my name to Jo for convenience. That exasperates me a little, but I’ve gotten used to it. When I published my novel, I decided to use my initials, J. E., because I wrote the book from the point of view of a teenage male protagonist. Jo Elizabeth sounds like the name of a young woman in a romance novel, not a scrappy teenager from the projects.
Lynda_ Before you have to leave, would you tell us about your AWARD-WINNING book?
Miss Opal_ Can you tell us about how you began to write that book?
Jo_ My novel, “The Bright Side of Darkness”, began as a short story assignment for a high school English class. I fell in love with the hard-pressed, loyal, smart-mouthed teenagers who became as real as my own friends while I wrote about them. I couldn’t quite put the story out of my mind even after I tucked the assignment away in a scrapbook and moved on with my life.
I never forgot those characters. In my twenties, in order to learn how to use a word processor, I dragged out that old short story and typed it into my first computer—a DOS machine with 5-inch floppy disks and no Internet. The writing needed a lot of work, but the characters still captivated me. I added to the story, changed and deleted weak parts and moved paragraphs and chapters around. I picked the project up and laid it down many times over the next twenty-some years as life happened. In June of 2015, I finally published my book.
Lynda_ Please, j:ust give us one page from that book – we want to hear more!
“Would you like to know why I came here today?”
I nodded. “You were the last person I expected to see.”
“I saw your suicide attempt in the paper when I was glancing through the police reports. I spotted a lot of potential behind your smart mouth when you came through my chambers, and it would have been a terrible shame if you’d bled to death on the floor of an isolation room at a state detention center. You deserve more out of life than that.”
“You sound like my folks.” I picked up the picture and traced my finger over the smiling faces. “They told me over pizza once that I was going to do great things some day.”
“You can’t let them down.” The judge read Daisy’s note again. “You have your life ahead of you. Live it for me and the rest who believed in you. Daisy was a smart girl.”
“Yeah, she was.” I glanced around the dreary little room. “I guess she wouldn’t be too impressed with how far I’ve come.”
“Are you ready to do something about it?”
I stood up and washed the blood and tears off my face. It looked like whether I wanted it or not, I had a life to live–for the people who had believed in me.
The judge pushed to his feet and strode toward the door. “That’s a good start. Now we better find you some real clothes. That outfit you’re wearing doesn’t leave much to the imagination.”
Reflection – About the Book
Jo_ I chose this excerpt from Chapter 8 of my novel, “The Bright Side of Darkness,” because it takes place at a pivotal moment where mentoring makes a crucial difference in the life of the protagonist. The overarching theme of the book is that all of us, wherever we are, have the potential to reach out to others in big and small ways that can change the world one person at a time.
Lynda_ When you say, “All’s well,” what do you really mean?
Jo_ “All’s well” refers to an abiding peace that runs deeper than the situation at hand, a contentment not based on anything happening in the outside world or ruled by passing emotions or temporary doubts. I’ve pretty much gotten to the point in my journey where I’m comfortable in my own skin and satisfied with my place in the world. It takes a lot to shake my faith. I don’t have to be happy with everything that occurs each moment to be pleased with life overall.
Lynda_ Please give our readers some additional information for your book.
Maybe you can share a couple of internet Links?
Jo_ “The Bright Side of Darkness” Is my award-winning novel, Available in Kindle, audio, and paperback formats.
Jo_ I want to invite your readers to please visit my author page on Facebook:
Lynda_ Where can we find your book for sale, jo?
Jo_ Yes. Thanks for asking. Please find the paperback edition of my novel at Barnes & Noble online here: Read it here!
Lynda_ Could our readers find your book on GOODREADS?
Jo_ Anyone can see my Goodreads blog, “Looking on the Bright Side,” here: Read it.
And the final one I can share is this one:
To read my guest posts about parenting in the dark, please click here:
To read my guest posts on a variety of topics, please click here:
Lynda_ Thank you, Jo, for coming to visit us today. I am glad we had a nice break in the wintry weather so that your trip was enjoyable. I know you have a number of other places you will be visiting on the East Coast on this book tour you are doing and we are so happy you fit in a bit of time with all of us.
Miss Opal_ Yes, Jo, we all say to you, “All’s Well!”
About the Book
Dear Reader: Would you like to be one of our GUEST AUTHORS?
If you are a published author, please look at our INVITATION to be our GUEST. Information is available: Here’s the LINK to Information. –
About Lynda McKinney Lambert
This Special Feature interview is courtesy of Pennsylvania author, Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright: February 23, 2019.. All rights reserved.
Saturday is for Sharing is a Special Feature Article, coordinated by Lynda and Miss Opal, her feline writing partner. Lynda and Miss Opal live in rural western Pennsylvania in The Village of Wurtemburg.
Lynda is the author of 4 books:
Her first book is: Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, Kota Press, 2002.
Her second book is: Walking by Inner vision: Stories & Poems, DLD Books, 2017.
Lynda’s 3rd book: Star Signs: New & Selected Poems – 60 poems.
Her FIRST CHAPBOOK – first snow – 16 Poems with a Wintry Theme.
Both new books are now available for publication.
Thank you for visiting with us today. Miss Opal and Lynda McKinney Lambert
Please SHARE: We LOVE YOU FOR THAT!
Please include copyright information with article. Thanks so much.
28 July 2018
Lynda McKinney Lambert & Miss Opal
If you are NEW to SCAN,
Meet October’s Guest Blogger
Donna W. Hill
The Cryptic Calling: an author’s journey
Along an Unmarked Path
This photo of Donna W. Hill with her guide dog, Hunter in ” Glowing Mist in the Redwoods” is by Rich Hill
It was 1954. A four-year-old girl with blond banana curls was in the living room. The house was quiet. Her parents were at work; her brother and grandmother in the backyard. She felt relieved to be alone. She didn’t know, nor would she for 14 years, that she was already legally blind.
The voice startled her. She stopped breathing, her ears scanning the house. But, it wasn’t necessary. She had felt the message settle into her spirit.
“You are here to do something important involving music.”
What did it mean? She instinctively took it as an anointing from God, though one with a disquieting lack of detail.
That four-year-old was yours truly, and at sixty-five, that message still puzzles, intrigues and guides me. Initially, I assumed it meant that I was to become famous for my music. I didn’t share the experience, but I begged my parents to get me an accordion.
“You’re too small.”
Always a literalist, I was amused in second grade when — instead of the “massively-huge” accordion” — they bought me a piano . I progressed quickly, my nose on the brightly lit book, developing my memorization skills.
A Rude Awakening
Later that fall, I was selected for the Christmas concert. I was sure my ship had arrived. I was, however, wildly mistaken. I soon realized that there would be major obstacles.
“Go up to the top row of the risers.”
I was in the auditorium for our first rehearsal. I didn’t know what risers were, but I was soon on a contraption that shook and rattled with no way to steady myself. I didn’t understand how tunnel vision impacted my balance, and neither did anyone else.
Almost instantly, the director ordered me down, dismissing me from the group. She wouldn’t give me a few minutes to work it out or let me stand on the floor. The lesson wasn’t lost on me; although my voice was good enough, something more important about me wasn’t.
That spring, my teacher took my workbook away, despite my above average grades. She wasn’t comfortable watching me struggle to read. The other shoe dropped the following fall. I was placed in “Special Class,” where only first-grade large-print books awaited me. The thrust of my education was to fulfill the tiniest assignments, after which I was encouraged to play with pre-school toys.
My ophthalmologist was outraged. I was removed from “Special Class” and placed into a normal third grade class. The teacher, displeased with the placement, delighted in allowing open bullying of me and punished the girl who read me the questions from the board.
A Mission Slipping Away
By sixth grade, my vision was worsening, and piano music was far more complicated. My ability to memorize it was at a breaking point. I did what I thought any self-respecting twelve-year-old would do. I quit.
How was I supposed to interpret what I had heard in the living room? For the first (and far from the last) time, I considered the possibility that it could have merely been the ravings of a deranged mind.
In Search of a Miracle
Had God changed His mind? Or, perhaps, I needed to do something else first. If so, I knew what that was — get normal sight. It was obviously impossible to be successful without it.
Years before hearing televangelists discuss healing, I somehow knew I had to believe it would happen. Every morning for months, before I opened my eyes, I thanked God for restoring my sight, imagining the bright and detailed world that awaited me. My eyes, however, opened to dimness and confusion.
Progress and Compromise
At fourteen, I was devastated without music in my life. I asked for and received a guitar. Though I was too shy to share them, I started writing songs, beginning the inexorable link in my life between music and language.
In Junior High and High School, the bullying became more physical. The increase in work coupled with declining central vision necessitated a prioritizing of my work — literature and science were in; history and math out. Braille and recorded books were never discussed. I was legally blind in a world where it was more important to read and navigate with your eyes, regardless of how many mistakes you made, how much time it took, how sick you got or how many other things fell by the wayside, than to learn nonvisual skills.
The overt bullying stopped when I entered college. Nevertheless, I had lost the reading vision in my better eye that summer and was ill-equipped to take full advantage of the college experience. For the first time, however, I used recorded books and readers.
Reawakening the Dream
After graduation, I tried to make up the deficit. I trained with my first guide dog and learned Braille. I would pursue my dream of being a self-supporting musician — initially, as a street performer in Philadelphia’s Suburban Station.
I had my own apartment, kept an organic garden complete with a compost pile, baked whole grain bread and made everything from soup and tomato sauce to pesto and spanakopita. I started performing at schools, churches and other venues. I wanted my audiences to have a comfortable experience with a blind person and learn a bit about how we do things. I released two albums — “Rainbow Colors” and “Harvest.”
“If I had healed you back then,” said the same voice, “You would have never known that blindness didn’t have to limit you.”
While recording my third album, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment, Rich and I married, and I finished the project. Just as “The Last Straw” was coming out, I found another cancerous lump. The drain on our energy and finances prompted a change in plans.
What about my mission? Had I done what I was supposed to do? Perhaps it had something to do with the many small contacts I’d had over the years. Maybe it was the man who wore out his copy of “Rainbow Colors” while recovering from an auto accident. Maybe it was one of the thousands of kids who had seen my school programs. I was well aware by then that we are all here to do something important. putting forth our best efforts and walking in love is the greatest, most difficult and most rewarding mission.
I didn’t give up. Blind people still aren’t being welcomed with open arms. Education, digital accessibility and unemployment remain major problems. I learned to use a computer with text-to-speech software to pursue another dream. In an effort to promote acceptance among the general public, my novel The Heart of Applebutter Hill was designed to allow the reader an intimate look into the mind of a blind teenager, embroiled in an exciting adventure. And, the music angle? Abigail’s a shy songwriter.
Donna’s novel The Heart of Applebutter Hill, an educator-recommended diversity and anti-bullying classroom resource for middle school and older readers, is available in print, eBook versions and accessible formats for readers with print disabilities. For more information and to follow Donna’s blog, visit:
Photo by Rich Hill. Photos used with permission of the photographer. Thanks so much!
Donna is a singer and songwriter. Click on the LINK below to enjoy listening to Donn as she sings, “Love of my Life.”
Special THANKS to Rich and Donna W. Hill for allowing me feature this story on the blog today!
Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved.
February is… Pruning Season?
“Oh, I saw a Robin this morning. Spring must be just about here!”
Did I just say that?
No, it is an “old wives tale,” or a commonly believed myth that Robins fly south for the winter and then return for the spring. It simply is not true yet most people choose to believe it. I walk in the woods every day with my dog, Mitchell. In the stillness of the woods, we listen and hear the Robins melodious, lyrical songs. These lovely red breasted birds are still here but you have to be aware of them and listen for them. You will hear them and see them but you have to be where they are. If you stay inside the house, you’ll miss them.
Robins are resident birds in western Pennsylvania. I see them all winter long. It is true that some Robins do head south, but certainly not most of them. When the snow melts down to expose the ground, you will find the Robins feeding. I live beside a winding creek and the Robins stay right here where they have shelter in the woods, fresh water to drink, and food in abundance on the floor of the meadows and woods. Yes, I know, there are always those announcements in the local newspaper that some man or woman has reported that the Robins have returned because they saw one. Chances are that person was not out walking in the snow and woods on winter days; therefore never heard the Robin music floating in the breeze.
By mid-February, we begin to have thoughts of spring. By now, we have had quite a bit of snow, zero temperatures, blustery winds, hours of shoveling snow, and we might begin to have “cabin fever.” I concentrate during winter months on doing activities such as knitting, or beadwork, or listening to books which I get from the National Library of Congress program for blind and handicapped people. It’s a cozy time of year, if you think about it. While the winter winds sweep the landscape, I am in my special place where it is warm and comfortable. What do you do on such winter days?
Personally, Bob and I have been traveling through a pruning season in our life. The past year has been a season of cutting out the frivolous and inessential things from life because Bob was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Every day is a battle as we work together to meet challenges that seem to face the cutting edge of the gardener’s pruning knife. We begin to feel like God has been pruning us in so many ways. God is like a loving gardener who knows the trees and shrubs will be stronger, flourish better and bloom profusely after the pruning time. But, oh, the pain of it! The bleeding, the rearranging of the tender leaves on the vines.
Another famous myth is that Groundhogs are associated with the forecasting or arrival of spring here in western Pennsylvania. I know you have heard of “Punxsutawney Phil,” the world famous groundhog who comes out to greet the thousands of fans on February 2. He has done this for the past 129 years. Phil’s handlers carry him out of his burrow at 7:28 am, where he “sees his shadow” or not. Phil’s predictions depend on sightings of his shadow. The town of Punxsutawney, PA has made this location a favorite tourist attraction on a frigid mid-winter day. Visitors come from all over the world every year on Groundhog Day. The President of the Groundhog Day Organization holds Phil up in the air for all to see. Phil’s prediction this year, because he did see his shadow, was that there will be 6 more weeks of winter. Well, all we have to do is look at the calendar and we will see that for you!
You can read more about Phil by visiting this link:
One of the things I have been thinking about is how Nature prunes the vegetation outside, much like God prunes us because he loves us and wants us to flourish. There are a number of examples in the ancient texts of the Bible that indicate God prunes his beloved children.
John 15:2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”
I was astonished today when I learned that the Greek word for pruning means to clean. And, now I can see that a vine must have branches cleaned from it so that it will flourish. I said, “Ah, yes, we are being cleaned! God, himself, is cleaning us right now as we walk in the season of deep, uncomfortable, late winter.”
Are you aware that February is a time of pruning?
Many trees and shrubs need to be pruned during February for the best results. Pruning is when the vegetation is cut back so that the plant can become sturdier during the forthcoming growth season of spring and summer.
Right now, the temperature is hovering around zero, and snow covers the ground. It’s hard to imagine that anything is actually happening in this frigid weather, beneath the ground, or in the bare branches that would induce growth. But it is! Life is surging under frozen ground, and gaining strength from the water that is melting down through the snow. Those bare skeleton branches are hiding secrets that will explode in a few weeks into buds that will become leaves.
According to Richard Jauron, Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University, mid-February is the best time to begin pruning a number of trees and shrubs. The plants will be healthy and productive if you know when to do the job. That would be mid-February!
I am delighted each spring when the Lilac and Forsythia bloom!
Lilac and forsythia are deciduous shrubs. My lilac shrub was growing very tall and willowy – getting away from me and I realized last summer it needed to be pruned. The plant grew so fast that the flowers were so high in the air that it pulled the branches downwards. Lilac is my favorite spring flowering shrub and I wait through the harsh winter for the first signs of growth on my plant.
Our Forsythia shrub is old and overgrown. This year, it will be pruned back extensively to give it a chance to be renewed and rejuvenated. This shrub was planted in our yard over forty years ago. If you take care of your shrubs and trees you can enjoy them for a lifetime.
For additional information about pruning in mid-February, visit this link:
“In Which I Find Color in Late Winter”
It was late this morning when I opened the bedroom blind. My husband, Bob, was still in bed. We were so happy to see that the entire winter landscape and sky appeared to have a bright blue hue washed all over it. I thought of a watercolor painter who mixed up a very thin wash of color and brushed it all over the blank canvas. It looked like someone had painted this brilliant landscape and put the shades of blue everywhere! Turquoise, Cerulean, Azure, Caribbean, Sapphire, and Cobalt – every shade of blue was overlaid on the picture we viewed from our window. The delicate colors of the morning gave us a feeling of celebration in the early morning light today!
Since we just completed the first week of February, I decided to write about it today! I thought about what to call this time of year. I know so many people begin to complain and lament the weather and dread the daily forecasts of storms and low temperatures. We seem to be in a deep freeze some days, with winter snow storms and squalls moving over the land like waves on an angry, stormy ocean. The official designation of February is labeled, “Late Winter.” That’s because it will be awhile before spring is here. Spring will arrive on March 21st – and right now, we often feel like that is a long way off. However, that is exactly why I want to speak of the glorious colors of winter and its beauty today. Maybe you will join me in appreciation of February this year. We still have a lot of time to do that because spring is still quite a distance away for us.
Another unusual aspect of February is that is can be cunning and tricky with the environment. In particular, February days often warm up so much in the afternoons that it seems like spring arrived. Often in the first week of February, flower bulbs that are sleeping in the cold soil are tricked into thinking it’s time to wake up, push up some leaves, and bloom! The ancient Celts thought that the earth wakes up in early February. They believed the earth goes into a deep winter sleep during Halloween time.
Have you noticed the beauty of the wide range of colors at the beginning of February yet?
Winter colors, sensitive and subtle, or stark and vivid, are all around us in the month of February. Sometimes, if we focus on the harshness of winter’s storms or the labor of shoveling snow from sidewalks and streets, we might overlook the full palette of winter colors that surround us every day. February’s landscape can go unnoticed if we are focused only on the challenges of Late Winter.
There is far more magic to find in the white snow or crystal ice outside our windows these days. I recently stopped, looked around slowly at the winter landscape. I wanted to see what more there was beyond the snow and ice. During the first week of February, I was outside with my dogs in the early morning, before daylight. When I looked up into the pre-dawn sky, I saw that the moon was full.
This February moon is called the “Full Snow Moon.” That’s because February is the month when the heaviest snows fall on the earth. Hunters are out trying to find wildlife to shoot but it is difficult to find animals in the deep snowfall. Because of this, Native Americans called the moon, “Hunger Moon.”
As I watched the sky, light from the moon illuminated the night sky in every direction. The stillness of the celestial scene mingled with the thrusting branches of the stark winter trees in the woods below. I became aware that I had to observe this glorious scene through the many bare branches of an ancient maple tree. From my vantage point on the ground beside the maple tree, it seems like I viewed the sky through the loose warp and weft of a tapestry that was created by the tree as it reached upwards and spread its arms like an enormous fan between me and the “Full Snow Moon.” The entire tree appeared to be made from the darkest, deepest shade of sapphire blue. The softest shade of indigo appeared to be painted across the entire sky in every direction from the east to the west where the moon was descending. Liquid sky color mingled through the negative spaces of the branches. The color reminded me of my own grade school days, in the 1950s, when I wrote my alphabet letters on a lined paper. I dipped my pen, in and out, of the bluish ink in the well cut into the wooden desk This sky was the hue that would be created if I mixed a drop of the India Ink into a small cup of water.
The full moon seemed to hover beyond the tree branches, above the woods, and seemed to quiver with anticipation because it was about to disappear forever
Look for the colors of February this month! They signal that in the heart of deep, frigid Late Winter t there is glory and a sense of the divine. Take a deeper look; see the hand of the Master Artist. There is a full range of values in the February palette Take your time, and see what you will find in your own little place on this earth, this month.
Whatever time of day it is when you read this message, will be the perfect time to see the colors of February! The dazzling Late Winter show is a gift from God and it is free for everyone to discover if you live in a place where you have a real old-fashioned winter time. If you do, I say, “Give February a chance!”