Mar 19, 2017

The Colors of the Cold

It's 80 degrees outside and I really just can't fathom how we got here, when the world was just this winter white two weeks ago. How the wind howled and snow was a way of life clear from December to March.

People say the winter months are the dead months, where the trees curl inside themselves to sleep, the grass is gone, and the flowers don't bloom and just die a brown and withered death.

I know.

I've felt how the cold can just blow right through you as if this skin of yours was just pure transparent. I know how sometimes you can never get warm, how your fingers just want to break off from the cold and your cheeks will never feel the sun proper again.

I've shoveled snow from dawn till dusk, sometimes I've shoveled the same sidewalks in the same places three times a day, and my legs numbed clear to the bone and it takes an hour to feel them right again.

Yeah, sometimes you just feel dead yourself at the end of a winter day, and you get so tired of being snowed in and worrying about your driveway and getting to work or if your sister will get home safe tonight.

But with all of that, I still love winter.

It may be dead in some respects, but it's alive in so many places all the other seasons couldn't be.

Have you ever seen a winter sunset on the prairie? How the world just turns these shades of blue you can't capture after the sun is gone?

Have you ever heard the silence of a winter afternoon? Heard the hush of your breath into the air? Or the winter sunlight on your face?

Have you ever just let the cold wind blow, do its worst, and just let it be itself without wishing it away?

Do you know what country roads look like after a snowfall when the shadows fall long and the dirt shows through beneath? Do know the yellow glowing lights of a car lonely on an empty road through blue-white darkness?

Do you know what blue-white darkness is? It is the color of the evening just before pitch black on a winter night. Just enough light to see the trees, but never enough light to capture it. They are colors you can only ever find in winter. And with colors like that, how can winter be all dead?

Because when the sun sets over a white land the reds, oranges, purples and pinks are a fiery color they never are in summer. The clouds are kingdoms they never are except in winter, and the world is a quiet it never knows except in winter when the warm lights of home hum through the darkness, promise a rest and comfort you never know except in winter.

Have you ever known the complete and utter joy of seeing your windmill nearly buried in snow? Do you know just wonderful this can be?

Have you ever seen how land dissolves into sky and they become each other? How maybe you're not really on land at all but maybe a land that is the sky, too?

Have you ever known the goodness of eating gingerbread cookies, warm out of the oven, on a snow day when work's cancelled and its just you with your people in your home? Then you'd know warm cookies and that glass of cold milk, they just taste different in winter. They're a taste you don't get in summer.

Don't stop loving summer.

But don't go believing winter is all dead when you could get all this.

Love, Kayla

Nov 13, 2016

The True Love Story of Me & Yarn - A Letter to Grandma

Dear Grandma,

I know your essence and love lay in sewing, but I know you also loved knitting and crocheting, too. I can tell by all the hooks and needles, stitch markers and the two beautiful afghans.

I remember in Colorado you tried to teach Dawna to crochet a doily. I remember I wanted to learn, too. But being only two years old at the time I realize it would have been a hopeless business.

But I want you to know that I've learned since then to knit and crochet.

And I love it.

And since you're gone now, your yarn things have come home with me.

I just wanted to tell you that all those crochet hooks, needles, stitch markers, and that huge safety pin? They're not lying still or forgotten.

I want you to know that the love they once wove together is still weaving its way on. That the legacy you began with a few thin pieces of metal has not stopped because your hands no longer hold them.

I didn't want you to worry that no one would care. Because someone does.

I want you to know that even though you're gone, the work you did and the pleasure these little things brought you are still delighting and are not idle or lying listless, forgotten.

They are still creating, they are still held, they are still weaving your love, your essence, and your memory into everything they make.

I want you to know that you will always be felt through everything I've made with them. Through the countless scarves, hats and gloves. Through afghans and baby blankets. You are as much apart of them as the person who made them.

The needles still click, and someone still counts knit one, purl two. The crochet hooks still slip-stitch granny squares into blankets, and the stitch markers helped me knit my first pair of gloves. They've not stopped since you've gone on home.

And your gifts are still being spread, still warming souls, and making smiles. And this age old tradition, this legacy, didn't end with you in the wake of modern technology and modern ways of life. The old life, the one we used to know, it's still being knit together and casting a big blanket of warmth on the world.

Thank you for all the love, Grandma, and for the gifts that keep on giving.

Love, Kayla

Oct 12, 2016

How to Have a Perfect Autumn Harvest

You just feel it in your bones when you wake up in the morning.
It's just the most perfect day to harvest the garden.
You stand outside in the morning sun, greeting the day with a cup of tea.
You're wearing a sweater but, oh, you know it will be off soon and your skin will be soaking up the sun.

Your hair is a messy knot on your head from sleep and sister's laughter at it can't be equaled.
But first, breakfast. And the muffins don't really taste like Peanut Butter Oatmeal and the eggs have a little too many red pepper flakes in them, but your tea is still warm and it's just the right kind of day to be home with your sister.
You swipe some music and listen to your brother's Spotify playlists on shuffle.
Take pictures.
You laugh.

You work those arm muscles within an inch of their strength.
You soak up the sun because maybe this is the last day you'll have of it.
You decorate your yard, your house, your front door, your mailbox, with the fruit of your labor.
And most of all, you're just so happy to be home. To be here. Because maybe in another life you wouldn't have had this. ALL this.

Because maybe there's not anything even just a little bit better than living right here. With this sister. In this home, with this prairie, in this life all around you.

Because maybe even though it's just so ordinary, quite possibly the most boring ordinary there is, it's just plain extraordinary.

Sep 3, 2016

Ode to the Last Days of Summer {In Pictures}

It's a kind of end of summer cleaning day, and it's just kinda overcast outside. Still warm with the breath of summer, but as if the autumn is fighting to come out.

I look at the trees and the flowers and I just see it, in the light of this cloudy warm day, the first signs on a September day. September, the in between month.

The month of the last summer bonfires and star flung skies, the last days of the wind in green leaves, and the smell of fresh cut hay. The month before things just really start changing, and you can feel it in the morning as the harvest moon fades, and the wheat lays cleared and shaven, and the blackbirds wave in flocks over sunflower fields as you drive by on your way home.

And I'm the one who just wants to savor the in between, to let anticipation build for the first, honest-to-goodness, blessed first day you can just really call chilly. And I can look out at the day and I can smile back, because this is the first day of autumn for me.

We just brush by it all too soon, just like Laura Timmins said. We have to write it down, we have to capture it because someday I'll have someone asking me questions, just like I ask them now, "What was it like? Back then?"

And when the seasons tick toward their beginnings, I'll have something to answer them.