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Possumhaw: When it's cold outside




Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire; it's the time for home.  


-- Edith Sitwell-British Poet (1887-1964) 




Half-eaten acorns lay scattered below the oak trees. We've often complained the squirrels were wasteful not eating the whole acorn nor burying the acorn for another day. Last week as the snow blew like a blizzard and falling snowflakes covered the ground, I spied a female cardinal and a sparrow pecking at the half-eaten acorns. And so, I felt better about the waste and thought more of it as provision for hungry birds in trying times.  


I also thought how interesting the two birds were only inches apart not minding their closeness nor did they fight over the smidgeon of food. I remind myself occasionally something I see as a bad thing could actually turn out to be a good thing. It's an encouragement to remember from the very beginning though many times I forget. Sometimes we can't know whether a circumstance is good or bad. We can't know until the situation has played out in its entirety. So, I'll try to see the half-eaten acorns, or pears, or persimmons as provision for another creature finding itself in desperate straits.  


It's a pleasure in the South to have breaks between Artic events. Two weeks ago, we were in an icy fix. Lakes frozen along with water containers for the animals, pipes insulated, outside spigots turned off, lamps and heaters turned on. Then as quickly as the ice came it left us with a few days of balmy sunshine. I noticed students wearing shorts and light jackets. 


There were sticks and limbs to pick up and carry to the burn pile. A smattering of rain made it possible to light the burn pile. Cranking the tractor took a bit of charging as it had not been cranked since the summer. The water turned back on and the auxiliary heaters turned off and the bunnies uncovered from their blankets only to resume winter weather warnings a couple of days later and the duties of winterizing were done all over again.  


A few more days were spent sitting by the fireside reading, playing with the kittens, and watching movies while drinking hot chocolate and eating popcorn.  


I had rescued a 1993 VHS tape from a discard pile titled "Other Side of Heaven" with Anne Hathaway and Christopher Gorham. It was based on the memoir of John Groberg titled "In the Eye of the Storm." At 19 years Groberg chose a three-year mission to the island of Tonga not even knowing where Tonga was; he did not speak their language. His is a dramatic story set on a tropical island sure to warm your heart. 


Like all movies there were previews. "I'd like to see those movies." I told Sam. 


Sam grinned, "Perhaps you can find one of those VHS stores and rent them." 


Not to worry, "I have "Come to the Stable" (1976) with Loretta Young and "The Miracle Bells" (1948) with Fred MacMurray and Frank Sinatra and two more cold days."  




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