It’s gray and colder than I thought it would be when I was inside looking out. I really wanted to go outside to take photos today, but now that I’m outside I want to go back in. I’m longing for sunshine or at least a little more light and warmth, but I am standing in the midst of the front meadow among familiar shades of gray on white.
I think about Garen’s beautiful photos of dead plants. Plant skeletons bathed in light. He has a couple images of Queen Anne’s Lace flowers that I particularly like. I love Queen Anne’s Lace in all the seasons; the tips of the faded flowers are just visible now above the level of snow. I bend down to look closely.
January is nearing its end and I know that February is usually a month of winter light. Here in northern Michigan we really notice the shift in February. Even the chickens start laying eggs again. But I remind myself that we’re still in January and I don’t want to wish this month away. I want to be present here; that is a big reason for this 365 project. So I take photos with my cold fingers of naked Queen Anne’s Lace against the white landscape.
It’s bedtime. We have been occupied all day long and I realize that I haven’t picked up the camera. Well, actually, I remember now that I did take it outside . . . but with the party and the sledding and six little girls tumbling in the snow and the baby — I just didn’t find a moment to take a photo. So when I catch a glimpse of my big girl and little boy in the mirror, all cozy and ready for bed, I think, “Yes. Today, this will do.”
Now I have Bud and Little Bud.
Baby boy, I am trying to catch you in a stretch, after a nap. I love how you arch your whole body, squeeze up your pudgy face, and extend your “plush little legs,” as Amie calls them. Then your expression changes — so quickly. Oh, baby love. I may try to capture this fleeting time, but I know I can’t. Not really. And so today, I will hold you and hold you and hold you.
I tell the librarian (our favorite librarian) that she has just read the first three Harry Potter books in quick succession. What next? (She wants to read the forth Harry Potter book, of course, but we think it wise to wait.) He pulls a few books of the shelves, describing them to us. Perceptive librarian that he is, he says, “I’ll just leave them here and anything you aren’t interested in, you can put in that basket for re-shelving.” She feigns disinterest until he walks out of view. After some encouragement from me, she reluctantly picks up The Invention of Hugo Cabret. She turns it over a few times, feeling the weight of it in her hands. She opens the cover as I begin to gather up our stack of books and check out. By the time I look back at her, she is immersed in the book, and by the time she goes to bed later that night, she is on page 247. (There are a lot of full-page pictures in this book, but still!) As a great lover of books, I couldn’t be happier. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I have waited for years for my girl to become a voracious reader.
I want her to help me with a photo but she is completely taken over by the misery of homework. I place the camera on the floor and use “live view” to take a sneaky photo. She is so mad that she doesn’t even hear the shutter click.