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story of the snowdrop

Winter is certainly blustering its way around the country lately, leaving its mark in some surprising places (snow in Jackson, Mississippi??) and refusing to succumb to spring’s advances just yet.

Photo by Peter Eimon via Flickr.com

But that makes today the perfect day to share a tidbit of literary wonder called “The Snowdrop” by Hans Christian Andersen. This classic little tale chronicles the emergence of a brave flower that simply cannot wait for spring.

It was wintertime; the air was cold, the wind sharp, but indoors all was snug and well. Indoors lay the flower; it lay in its bulb, under earth and snow.

Photo by Emmanuel Boutet via Wikimedia Commons

One day, though, a slender sunbeam reaches down to the bulb and taps on it. Anxiously, the snowdrop implores the sun to help her break free from the bulb so that she may stretch and grow. But the sun is not yet strong enough. Wait, he tells her. He will be very strong by summer.

Photo by Amanda Slater via Flickr.com

“How long this lasts! How long this lasts!” said the Flower. “I feel a tingling and tickling. I must stretch myself; I must extend myself. I must open up; I must come out and wave good morning to the summer; that will be a wonderful time!”

Déjà vu? I’m sure I just heard you say that yesterday.

And the Flower stretched itself and extended itself against the thin shell that had been softened by the rain water, warmed by the blanket of earth and snow, and tapped upon by the Sunbeam. It burst forth beneath the snow, with a white and green bud on its green stalk, with narrow, thick leaves, curled around it as if for protection. The snow was cold, but light radiated down into it, making it quite easy to break through; and here now the Sunbeam streamed down with greater strength than before.

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“Beautiful flower!” sang all the Sunbeams. “How fresh and pure you are! You are the first; you are the only one! You are our love! You ring out the call of summer, lovely summer, over town and country! All the snow shall melt, the cold winds be driven away! We shall reign! Everything shall grow green! And then you shall have company, the lilacs and laburnums and finally the roses. But you are the first, so tender and pure!”

Photo by Jonas Bergsten via Wikimedia Commons

But summertime was far off; clouds shrouded the sun; sharp winds blew. It was weather to freeze such a delicate little flower to bits. But there was more strength in her than even she realized. That strength was in her happy faith that summer must come, and this had been imparted by her own deep desire and confirmed by the warm sunlight. And so with patient hope she stood there in her white dress, in the white snow, bowing her head when the snowflakes fell thick and heavy or while the icy winds swept over her.

And if the snowdrop can hold her own until spring, we can, too. Have you seen your first 2015 snowdrop yet?

Photo by Ian Kirk via Wikimedia Commons

While wandering around the Internet in search of snowdrop lore, I happened upon this charming video by the folks at BBC that whimsically spins the snowdrop’s story for all ages to enjoy. Share, share, share …

 

 

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the ultimate beehive

If you know me at all, you know I have a penchant for hexagons. The hexagon, a shape that speaks the zen of the busy beehive or the wired manors of chickens (the oldest domesticated animal on Earth), symbolizes the unity and structure of the farmgirl life—a framework for the proper order of things, a pattern for life. In unwritten feminine language, it is a standard for farmgirls, or for that matter, the ordinary honeybee or the hen, rank and file workers that move the work along. It says that all things are to be done decently and in order, and that small things add up.

Add that to the latest in TV treats, Treehouse Masters, and you’ll come up with a recipe for the perfect getaway, honeybee. Take a look …

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Kim’s collections

Do you collect little earthly wonders when you wander?

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Photo by yeowatzup via Wikimedia Commons

Gather itty bits and teensy treasures that remind you of times spent on wooded paths or breezy shores?

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Photo by The Photographer via Wikimedia Commons

Me, too.

An acorn here, a pebble there—we “out there” gals share an inclination to decorate with Mama Nature’s doo-dads, don’t we?

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Photo by Randi Hausken via Wikimedia Commons

That’s why I know you’ll love the work of Santa Fe artist Ja Soon Kim as much as I do. Look:

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Photo courtesy of Ja Soon Kim via JaSoonKim.blogspot.com

Kim hits the nail squarely on the head, describing her gumption to gather as “a form of meditative contemplation.”

That’s it.

Our collective call to pick ‘n pocket is about more than mere window dressing. It’s about the simple, yet profound, sense of peace we cultivate while doing it. And Kim has found a way to share this experience with others through photographs of her artful assemblages.

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Photo courtesy of Ja Soon Kim via JaSoonKim.blogspot.com

“Archiving/documenting what I collect is my obsession and joy. Sharing them through photography is a fairly new passion,” she explains on her blog. I am a curator by nature. I enjoy editing and picking through things that I consider priceless treasures. My collections have no intrinsic value. Many of my photos here reflect just that. I am an archivist. I have to be mindful that these things don’t take over my life or my house!!!”

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Photo courtesy of Ja Soon Kim via JaSoonKim.blogspot.com

If you would like to frolic through more of Kim’s images (trust me, you would), then hop on over to Mother Nature Network’s article, “Artist Creates Beautiful Order from Foraged Objects,” which gathers a gorgeous selection of her photos in one gallery.

Follow Ja Soon Kim on Instagram for continuing inspiration (@omjsk). Continue reading

Can we bottle that, please?

Close your eyes and imagine the scent of spring rain …

Can you smell the moisture, unfolding leaves, and rich dampness of the awakening earth?

I’ve written about this before but I recently caught another whiff of a fragrance that has its own name (as all classic perfumes do). It’s known as petrichor, which Wikipedia defines as “the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil.” The word is a combination of the Greek petra (stone) and ichor (the fluid that flows in the veins of the mythological gods).

Interestingly, MIT researchers who study the ephemeral science of this singular scent have just determined how petrichor is produced. As enigmatic as the chemistry behind that old book smell, the aroma of rain—particularly pronounced after a spell of warm, dry weather—can now be explained in technical terms that essentially boil down, as Treehugger.com puts it, to “the fizz and frenzy of raindrops liberating the ground’s unique fragrance into the air for all to smell.”

Take a look:

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Snow Day!

I love the delight on my girls’ faces when they wake up to find themselves facing the pinnacle of childhood freedom: the snow day.

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Photo, Oregon Department of Transportation via Wikimedia Commons

They’ve been hoping for one with each snow we’ve had. I’ve never known a kid who didn’t love a snow day. And that got me wondering about snow days of yore.

Just like today, kids enjoying a snow day 100 years ago might break out their Flexible Flyers for a slide down the hill. The sled made its debut in the 1910s and by the end of 1915, consumers were purchasing 2,000 sleds a day.

Photo courtesy of The_Childrens_Museum_of_Indianapolis via Wikimedia Commons

After sledding, they might come inside for hot cocoa, but making it was a whole different ballgame in the days before microwaves and convenient packaged mixes. Hot cocoa had to be boiled, a long process that involved steeping cocoa shells or cracked beans and could take upwards of an hour.

While waiting, siblings and friends might have enjoyed a friendly game of Rook, a card game invented at the turn of the century whose deck did not include any face cards, thereby rendering it useless for gambling and safe for family play. By then, the gang might mosey back outside and gather teams for ice-barrel ball, a sport that falls somewhere between hockey and basketball and involved two opposing teams trying to throw a ball into a barrel while ice skating.

I’m sure those kids got all tuckered out, just like mine. It’s good to know some things never change.

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Be bold, girl!

When you boldly show your spirit,

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Image courtesy of Muffet via Wikimedia Commons

follow your heart,

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Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum via Wikimedia Commons

speak your mind,

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and shoot for the stars,

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Image courtesy of SMU Central University Libraries via Wikimedia Commons

You, my friend, are a hoyden.

That’s a good thing—a great thing—to be.

A hoyden (HOID-n) is a boisterous, bold, and carefree girl who might also be called a tomboy, or a spirited … farmgirl.

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Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum via Wikimedia Commons

The world is yours to have, girlfren. Go wherever your heart leads you. Continue reading

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