Magic of a Snow Day

Photos out of a window don’t begin to capture the magic of a snow day.


The snow fell over night. 100 percent chance, the weather report said, so we knew it was coming. Three inches in Richmond shuts everything down. That is the magic of snow. Everything stops. Whatever we have here – food, books, each other – has to be enough. There is no place to go. We are cocooned in snow-muffled quiet. I like that.

I check the weather & closings, listen for the robocall that announces what I know looking out the window. School is out for the day. It’s a decree; no decisions to be made – the county has decided it’s unsafe to travel.

Time stolen from a daily routine of classes and bells stretches out like a cat. What a gift.


On building something that lasts – an aqueduct in France.

This is the aqueduct at Pont du Gard in Provence, built by the Romans thousands of years ago.

I took this photo yesterday on our whirlwind trip with EF Tours, Artists of France & Spain. Today we travel to a village where Picasso lived & worked on our way to Barcelona.

We’re in love with France. This trip is not long enough.

Snapshot Tuesday: hot spring in Yellowstone National Park

photo from Yellowstone National Park

Hot spring from Yellowstone National Park

National Park Service: Hot Springs and how they work

A few summers ago, we took a family vacation to Wyoming to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, plus an afternoon and evening in Jackson Hole.  Lots of hot springs and geyser activity in Yellowstone, where we learned that we were touring above one of the world’s supervolcanoes, the Yellowstone caldera. What would happen if …..

There was a recent earthquake and some animal migrations that had the ‘Net buzzing with speculation that the supervolcano was going to blow … the USGS say that it’s business as usual at Yellowstone, that the accounts are exaggerated.

So I dug up a snapshot from that trip in honor of Snapshot Tuesday.  Enjoy!

Friday Zen

close-up of a dragonfly from May 2013
A dragonfly – taken at last year’s RFM spring retreat, Memorial Day weekend at the Clearing in Amelia County, Virginia .

We spend a portion of each summer near my parents’ home on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. We’re next to a swamp … a freshwater seep that drains into the creek … one that provides water for frogs and dragonflies and birds. At dusk, we can sit on the back deck and watch hundreds of dragonflies feeding, aerial acrobats feasting on mosquitoes and gnats. A bit later, the frogs start to sing.

It’s a sweet spot, a small farmhouse in a soybean field just a short walk from my childhood home. How much longer will the frogs sing?  My heart breaks when I  think about climate change, about what we’ve done with fossil fuels, about a world without frogs.

But for now – isn’t this creature exquisite?

Snapshot Tuesday: rooster at the Royal Farms

Rooster at the Royal Farms, Fisher's Corner, Feb 9, 2013

Rooster at the Royal Farms, Fisher’s Corner, Feb 9, 2013

Royal Farms is a convenience store chain on the Eastern Shore.  The first time I saw the chickens wandering around this busy store, I thought someone would be upset that their chickens had gotten out and would be killed in this parking lot.   But apparently these chickens visit the Royal Farms all the time.

On the Sunday morning I took this picture, this beautiful rooster was holding forth, crowing next to the parking lot.  Regal.  Most people weren’t paying much attention to him – certainly not giving him the royal treatment he deserves – but I did see a few smiles.

Snapshot Tuesday : hot tub angel

photograph from winter storm

The morning after a winter storm in Richmond, Virginia, January 18, 2013.

I’ve decided to revive my tradition of Snapshot Tuesday – posting a photograph or two on Tuesdays.  This is one I took in my neighborhood the morning after a fast-moving January storm.  It was the storm with thundersnow … the weather just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

still staring at the trees …

redwood forest in Northern California, summer 2011

I’m not seeing the forest yet – but May is looking more and more like a writing retreat. For which I’m grateful. I’ve got some pressing deadlines between now and May 3, when my semester ends with a stack of ten portfolios, but after they’re graded … woohoo … I can turn my full attention to finishing the dissertation, then working on other writing projects and maybe a book proposal for the Eastern Shore Stories project.

I’ve thrown in applications for many, many positions – mostly university teaching positions – but also a few university admin / communications positions and now a few secondary teaching positions.  Plan B is to adjunct another year.

As much as I like the crafted life I’m living right now, I’m craving the stability of a full-time position with benefits. Or a steady part-time position with stability. The downside of adjunct’ng is that some (not all) departments seem to assume adjuncts don’t need income for anything specific … like we’re just teaching at pathetic wages to get ourselves out of the house for a few hours? For the stimulation? Don’t know … I can do all the budget projections I want, but if I don’t get the classes or they don’t make … well, then I have to find another means to keep my growth-spurting 11-year-old in skinny jeans and eating her beloved mac & cheese.

Oh well … still wandering among the trees … hope I emerge in a clearing soon.  Today I’ve been working on a grant application. Which is going very, very well.   Work is the cure.

watching fish swim … or are they watching us walk?

I recently traveled to California for a cousin’s wedding. I went out early with N to have some extra days in sunny Southern California. We enjoyed the days, no sunshine the whole time we were there. But the wedding was lovely, the company was lovely – extended family and cousins to hang with – and N got to go to the San Diego Zoo and to get her feet wet in the Pacific Ocean.

Actually, she slipped in the surf at La Jolla Cove and got soaked. Not exactly swimming, but a full-body dunk in a second ocean. Had to buy some clothes at the top of the cliff because she was freezing. We also visited the dirtiest public restroom I’ve ever seen, there at the top of the cliff in one of the wealthiest communities in North America.

We also went fish watching at the Scripps Aquarium in La Jolla.  Or is the fish watching me?

Scripps had an exhibit on sea horses … talk about mesmerizing and strange.  Sea horses are also hard to photograph.  I thought this photo was my best.  Might be time to upgrade the digital camera soon, especially since I’m drawn to documentary work.