An angel found me today.
It took me awhile to piece together the meaning. I am a meaning maker. I use this term from Daniel Pink’s, A Whole New Mind. If you have not read that book, I highly recommend it.
Back to meaning making. I had a snow day today — the third one in a row (I live in North Carolina and it rarely snows). It was splendid — the snow day that is and the snow. I just love snow. I grew up with snow (Chicago) and then we moved to Wyoming when I was fifteen. So I know snow.
And I know sledding. Oh how I know sledding. I was on the hunt for a sled on Wednesday. I went to three major stores in town (Wal-mart, Farm & Ranch, and Dunham’s Sports) and no dice. They weren’t sold-out; they didn’t stock them — at all. It snowed throughout the night on Tuesday. Wednesday morning I awoke to a blanket of fresh white snow. I love how snow makes everything look so pure, so new, so fresh.
I read posts on Facebook Wednesday morning about Snow Cream. I capitalize it because apparently it is a proper noun — it is a specific thing. This Chicago native and Wyoming transplant that has lived long enough in Wyoming to be considered a native, has never heard of Snow Cream.
Anyway, back to snow, back to sledding, back to meaning making.
My son and I started our third snow day with hot oatmeal. I made Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins. My son melted my heart when he said, “Here you go my lady,” as he handed me blueberries to eat. It was so unexpected and so three and half-year old pure. We put the muffins in the 375 degree oven. The oven heated up the kitchen and I drank that first awesome cup of coffee. Ben watched Octonauts and yelled at me for mixing his syrup in his oatmeal.
As I was making the muffins, I realized I forgot to put in the baking powder to the first batch, already in the oven. Oops. I did not freak out. It was an honest mistake. I rarely bake. But it is in my blood and bones as my grandmother was a gourmet chef and ran a famous bakery in Evanston, Illinois. I quickly fixed my mistake for the second batch. I noticed my batter was a little lumpy. Didn’t care. No need for perfection with muffins. Ben helped me put blueberries into the batter. He piled fifteen into one tin. I picked out a few and sprinkled over the other five. The house smelled delicious. I felt wonderful. These moments are so rare now that I am working. Ben usually wants to be with his dad on weekends. Dad is the popular parent right now. Rightly so. Rich can talk in Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s voice and Major Mongram’s.
The house was quiet except for the two of us, alone in the house. I noticed how the sun streams into the front hallway at 9 am casting a beautiful shadow of the porch pillars. I miss these little details. I thought about what I am doing at 9 am each day at school.
We made bird feeders with peanut butter, seeds, and pine cones.
The day stretched into mid morning. Ben and I bundled up in triple layers of pants, double layers of socks, hiking boots that take forever to lace up, hats, double cloth gloves (two pairs), mufflers, and Carhart coats. I was so stiff from warmth I could barely walk. We hung the bird feeders — one on each Dogwood in our front yard, three total. The snow was so white. I hung the ornament I made but never finished. It is an angel. I made salt dough ornaments on Christmas Eve 2012. I was making them in my in-laws garage when my mother went to the hospital.
After we hung the bird feeders, I pulled Ben around in a laundry basket attached to a bungee cord. We fell into the snow and laughed from our bellies. I looked up at the blue sky, startled at it beauty — startled at its calm. Through the buds still tight of the Dogwood, I realized this moment could not be caught on film, nor on camera. It just was. It was magic.
I suddenly thought we have not made snow angels. We tumbled into the snow and swished our arms back and forth. I moved Ben’s feet and arms. He didn’t know how to do it. We made angels of our own.
Snow captured beauty.
Part II coming later… (about the sledding adventure).
No promises. Just story.
Back to angels, back to meaning making. We found sleds at Wilson Hardware. It is an old school mom and pop store downtown Wilson, NC. So charming too. They carry lunch boxes. Old school lunch boxes.
That is where I found the angel. She has fiber-optic wings. She is on my Valentine’s Day mantle now. It used to be the Christmas mantle. It is a shrine. My mother’s box of ashes used to sit there, last year, right at this time last year.
Now my angel is there, next to photos of my mom and me. Next to photos of my grandma. Next to knickknacks and cards that depict and breath love. My angel is within me. I carry her with me. I carry her heart.