Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Yesterday was another Snow day for the coast of Maine. A rare thing actually. That big body of water out there can keep things along it's shores warm enough for storms to bring rain verses snow. But this was our second (or third?) big dump of the most beautiful light snow. And in order for the snow to stay light and fluffy it must stay cold and dry. Which it has been .. very cold and dry. The XC skiing has been grand. But this extremely cold temperature turns packed snow into something hard and squeaky. As a good friend said this past weekend, when she and I ventured out in 5 degree weather, "it's like skiing on styrofoam". This was a perfect description!

There are some amazing places to go to ski within a couple miles from my house when the snow is like this. The ski mobile trails in Maine are actually a huge system that, if you have the gas and the time, could probably get you from southern Maine to the furthest townships up north. And those trails are easily accessed from my house. There's also golf courses that don't mind having kids sledding and skiers gliding over their hills and dales. A lot of options for getting out there and disappearing if I want to go.

Yesterday morning I wanted to go. Before the snow got too heavy and the roads too treacherous, I rallied with Ella (my little 4-legged pal) and went out to ski through the woods to the local golf course where there are ski mobile trails that make it easier for my little 10-year old girl to run along instead of porpoise through deep snow. It was beautiful out there. I've mentioned many times the pewter gray of sky and sea that simply intrigues and delights me. I love vibrant, golden sunsets and astounding fuchia sunrises too; but the steel gray of the sky and a landscape that is pristine and white is so stark, so clean in it's dichromatic display that I find myself just stopping and breathing it all in.

I was the only one out there in the storm. All alone as the snow fell and covered my tracks. All alone with just my thoughts which of course were with Jim. He would have been out there with me, delighting in the falling snow and the joy of his body working to push the skis through the trail. Over the years there were so many countless moments of he and I out there loving what we were doing for ourselves and with each other. Two people so in synch, the best of friends to each other and deeply in love.

All alone is too complete these days; too deep and stark. Too monochromatic .... gray.

Later in the afternoon I walked down to the end of the street and the town landing dock. My footprints were the only ones out there as the snow continued to fall. Street lights were just starting to come on in the crepuscular dimness. At the end of the dock I could look straight down into the undulating green-gray waters and see each individual snowflake falling. I could hear a few ducks on the shore babbling with each other and a bell buoy in the distance softly ringing as it swayed back and forth with the ocean's swells. I added a few salty tears to that vast ocean and wished Jim well before I trudged back up the hill to my cozy little home.

Loving you all back,


  1. Mary, a poem I thought you might appreciate which I got in an email today. It's by Vicky Woodyard, author of "LIFE WITH A HOLE IN IT: That's How The Light Gets In" about her husband's fatal cancer. Love, Bob

    You Have To Know

    You have to know

    how hard it is for caregivers

    to watch their loved ones

    fade away

    one pain at a time.

    You have to know

    how hard it is to see them

    do things for the last time.

    To stop doing things like

    making love and settle for

    a pat on the shoulder.

    You have to know.

    You have to know how hard it is

    to shop and cook and go to the chemo room

    and come home to hopelessness and dread

    and a life filled with “what if’s?”

    You have to know how long the road is

    and how cold the empty heart is when

    there is no more caregiving left to do.

    When you have outlived your job and

    find your hours idling on the vine.

    You have to know.

    You have to know that out of sorrow

    comes your own rebirth.

    How hard it is to watch yourself be a tiny

    embryo of hope; a toddler that falls into

    the coffee table and lurches into the street.

    You have to know.

    You have to know that hope is reborn

    when you have to know...because you do.

    You know that your only resource is within

    and that no one will support you until you

    begin to support yourself. So you begin again.

    You are caregiving your own spirit now.

    You have to know that God Himself is

    giving you another chance. That your

    loved one is within your heart and dancing

    at this chance you are given.

    The day you dance again is more than a pat

    on the shoulder. It is an affirmation of

    your own strength and courage. It is your ticket

    to eternity, your own knowing how the game is played.

    Not with a losing hand but with a winning spirit.

    Not with self-pity but with the grace of God.

    Not with hopelessness but an acceptance of

    the flow. That’s all there ever was and all

    there ever will be.

    You have to know.

    Vicki Woodyard

    Vicki Woodyard