Publisher's note: Please join me in welcoming Author Michele Rhem, who presents us with her poignant memoirs of the Rabbit Patch, where her diaries weave tales of a simpler, expressive life lost to many, but gathered together in her most familiar environs - the Rabbit Patch.
Lylas' snowman has been around so long, he should have had a name. It was -6 degrees F this morning at the early service. I was gathering wood and it seemed like the air would shatter, if I spoke a word. I was in a silent territory-in that place between night and morning. Thankfully, I had a full bed of embers to work with and so it did not take long, before a cheerful fire was burning in the wood heater.
I went straight a way to building a second fire in the den-and made coffee. I was glad, that the water in the bathroom was still running. I had worried I would be melting snow, for coffee. The weatherman confirmed another record for the low temps, but also gave a hopeful forecast for tomorrow. We are expected to reach 50 degrees by tomorrow afternoon.
In light of this, I have done a great deal of self reflection, today. I thought about my quest for living simply and carefully. Retirement, Lord willing, is still a few years away-and I will need to continue to work for as long as I am able. But, I thought at first, I should start practicing a more frugal lifestyle, now. My first function, was to truly define what really mattered to me. I decluttered down to bare essentials, which I defined as things I used or really loved. It took several weeks in July to accomplish this. I have not regretted this course of action and realised I actually felt relief, when it was all said and done. I have never been wasteful, by nature, but then , a winter storm comes along, and I have four days to consider my habits. There is room for improvement. I do know, that I want to continue doing what I am, because it feels right. I would rather spend an afternoon, teaching Lyla the names of flowers than working for a new pair of shoes. I want to feed the planet, to contribute-and not live selfishly. Jenny always says "that money should not be our driving force" and I am in agreement. Having said that, I must still pay my bills. What a fine line to walk!- and besides that, very few things have ever worked out as I thought they would, anyway. This is another fine line . . .Some people would deem it irresponsible not to plan, after all. So four days was not enough time to come to any grand conclusions. I decided to make cheese straws.
I do not know how these delightful little biscuits ever went "out of style". They used to be served at every bridal and baby shower. They were always home made, as were the little sandwiches and even the mints. The fare was always the same for such occasions. I think when Lyla is a bit older, I will have a tea party for her with a table laden with such things and tiny cake squares too. Jennys' neighbor, Miss Thelma reminded me of the little biscuits, on one of her recollections about her best friend of fifty years, Edith. She and Miss Thelma ate cheese straws and drank tea,on the Christmas break, every year. You can believe I made some for her this year, in memory of Miss Edith. Today was a good day to make them again I thought-and thank Goodness, it did not require the "wisdom of Solomon", to do so.
The afternoon warmed to thirty degrees and that seemed much more reasonable. I am familiar with thirty degrees. School is closed again tomorrow, due to the roads, which are still not cleared. I am quite excited about the prospect of water in the kitchen and the laundry room.
There were a few times, I was weary from the cold and fretted about living in such a big , old house, these past few days. Mama called several times a day and would listen, as only a mother will. At some point, I rallied and reminded myself, that, all was not lost, just because of a winter storm. It really was just another "hole in the floor", of sorts. How could I allow a bit of inconvenience to tarnish my blessed life?
I will watch the sunset tonight, over the fields of snow and do my best to remember the way the light falls in colorful splashes, on an evening in winter-when the fields are covered in snow. . .and I will be glad, to see such glory.