Just a short little Highlight Real for you today, filled with the colors (or lack thereof) that surround me. Outside is white upon white with an occasional flash of cardinal red, but inside is what Whistler might call “A Symphony in Black, White, and Gray”.
We’re hibernating these days, staying indoors and mostly in the living room. The Stove Room, as we call it. The old brick farmhouse is chilled around the edges but its heart is warm.
I’ve taken to wool sweaters these days after Alan found me one in a clearance bin. I’m not one for expensive clothing, but it’s the warmest sweater I’ve ever owned, and not by a little, either. I’ve spent my evenings browsing images of Irish woolen mills and living vicariously. We’ve talked about getting sheep in the past, and this might just tip the scales. If only I was better at knitting…
In the meantime, we keep the fire stoked. My boots dry on the hearth between hauling sessions. We moved a few days’ worth of wood by 9am, long before I usually like my weekends to be productive. My gloves have seen better days, but after years of Ohio winters, I’m savvy enough to keep a spare pair on hand.
The book on my desk is a gift from a friend that occupies my mind when the nights are long. The author has a life like mine, connected to the earth and full of authenticity even though it sometimes comes at the expense of leisure. She’s hauling firewood and appreciating manual heat by the first chapter. I’m hooked.
In front of the window is a vintage bottle. It holds a sprig of something that Alan is trying to coax back to life. I look past the sprig to see a colorless world through the thick molded glass, through the double panes.
As I take in the gray and white that surrounds me, a flash of red catches my eye. A cardinal at the feeder. It suddenly dawns on me why the world feels so colorless right now, and why the red feels so welcome. We lost a loved one recently, my step grandmother of 94 years. The matriarch of the family. The flash of the cardinal floods back memories of her in her favorite red sweater.
I’ve often thought that souls don’t go far, that they revisit us in the form of other creatures. It’s as good an explanation as any other. Some people believe we go to heaven when we die. Who says we don’t come back from time to time to visit?
I put my boots away and throw another log on the fire. I sit in the rocking chair and wrap myself in wool and memories and stories of authenticity.
Outside may be cold and colorless, but inside the heart is warm.