Being June is moving

I’ve finally done it.  I created my very own Being June site.  It’s been a long time coming, and from now on I’ll be over at http://www.beingjune.com.

So, dear readers, WordPress tells me there’s a way to take you with me.  On Monday (May 18), I’m gonna flip the virtual switch, so you might get some sort of notification.  Then again, you might not.  Flying blind here.

Anyway, all technicalities aside, I’m super excited about my new “home,” and I’d love for you to join me there.

Have a great weekend.

Facing March

wpid-20150301_132900.jpgAfter yesterday’s rant about Michigan winters, we decided to buck up and face the enemy. The gray days, combined with collective cases of cabin fever have dragged this family down, so we geared up and ventured outdoors.

I like to think of Michigan as a mini New Zealand, in that we have such varied terrain, climate, and plenty of water. We left our house, which is situated in a very flat middle-of-nowhere, and drove 30 minutes to the St. Clair River and followed it north, watching the giant ice shards float their way to the mouth of Lake Huron.

We passed beneath the Blue Water Bridge (oh, hey Canada!) and wound our way up to Lexington, a quaint little lakeside town that thrives in the summer.  Now, sheets of plywood board half the windows, and half the residents are sunning themselves in Ft. Lauderdale.  Still, the year-rounders seem to embrace the season, despite being repeatedly blasted by the Arctic winds that rush off the frozen waves of Lake Huron.

We wandered down to the community park, where ice fishermen lounged in their shanties in the marina where, six months ago, sailboats and yachts floated in the docks.  Snowmobile tracks crisscrossed the landscape, and two ice-skating rinks flanked a small amphitheater where it looked like a band had actually recently played.

We watched the kids climb around on the playscape (which rose up out of three-foot snowdrifts like some wonderland castle), then we gathered our nerve and headed to the pier.  Piles of ten-foot boulders lift this half-mile long sidewalk out past the marina and over the open lake, the surface of which had crystallized into a miniature ice-mountain vista.  The wind, thankfully, was mild as we clung to the bright blue handrail.

We made it about 15 feet.  A couple, making their way back and looking pale, warned us away; sheets of ice covered the narrow pier and we might slip and plummet between the aforementioned boulders, never to be heard from again.  We turned back and slid on the ice rink instead.

Yesterday I railed against March, despised it for being the longest month of the year.  Well, I take it back.  Spending time, just me and my family playing out in the winter wind, recharged me.  Today, it’s sunny and 24 (a heat wave!) and I guess March isn’t so bad after all.

The Snow Train – Surviving March in Michigan

snow trainLast month, The Weather Channel posted a video of a freight train speeding across a snow-drenched Canadian tundra.  I clicked on the link because I thought my nine-year-old son might like it.  Turns out, I was just as mesmerized as we watched a three-stories-high snow cloud barrel through the wilderness like a white sandstorm.  Moments later, a sleek red and white locomotive emerged long enough to decimate a six-foot snowdrift, sending white sprays high.  The beast-machine careened by, leveling the camera man with a giant snow breaker as it carried on its way.

This winter has been rough.  I know, last winter was rough, too, with the Polar Vortex and all, but somehow this one seems both longer and harsher.  We were buried in record-breaking snow.  Sub-zero temperatures seem to be the new normal.  My car doors froze shut.  My front door froze shut.  We are quickly burning through the firewood we so carefully stacked, assuming it would get us through at least 2016.

We Michiganders are tough.  We shovel and salt and don our thickest, bulkiest outerwear and we press on.  We chuckle when Atlanta shuts down for two days at the mere threat of snow.  We dust off our flip-flops in anticipation of that first 45-degree day.  Still, all but the cold-hardiest of us is beat down come March.

I’ll admit it.  I’m there.  The same white fluff that dazzled me pre-Christmas now looks almost sinister.  The days hang gray and the sun, when it bothers to shine, blinds me.  The snow itself is a crusty shell that scrapes up the kids (though that never seems to faze them), and the salt residue clings to every surface.  In fact, I just looked out the window.  It snowed.  Again.  Drat.

So, how do we hope to survive more of this as we face another March, the longest month of the year?  We do what we always do, because we Michiganders are like that sleek red freight train.  We’ll pull on our red hats and decimate snowdrifts with our mighty shovels and we’ll keep pressing on whatever March dares to bring.

Sure, Michigan winters are a proverbial force to be reckoned with – but so are we.

Bring it on, March.

Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Learning to be the light

elsaWinter brought her worst this year. From November on, she unleashed blizzard after blizzard and peppered us with sub-zero blasts – and one poignant Polar Vortex that literally froze my hair. I have pictures.

When we realized Winter had no plans of relenting, we battened down the proverbial hatches. We loaded up the wood-burner night after night and counted our blessings that our John Deere neighbor had the horsepower to dig us out. Sure, the first weeks were an adventure – both for us grown-ups and our wide-eyed children who knew this frigid wonderland would usher in the reindeer. Then came January, and things became…less fun. Then February, when the lack of reprieve seeped into my bones, and for the first time I understood the concept of Seasonal Affective Depression. It’s a thing. When the Big Storm hit in March, we began to wonder whether Spring had forsaken us.

I’m learning that each one of us has our own Winter, our own time of cold and darkness, which threatens to choke out the hope of Spring. Just when we think we’ve made it through a blizzard of illness or broken heart or broken home…another threatens to bury us.

I’m slowly learning how to face the threat of an unending winter. I’ve learned that you do your part, and He’ll do His. You stock up the wood-burner. You lift your eyes to the brightest part of the sky and you don’t look away. You believe that Spring will come, even when – especially when – all evidence points to the contrary. Because when you choose to believe, then little by little you will become Spring. You’ll ignite from within and your warmth and your life-giving words and your kindness and your hope…and you begin to realize that Spring was never the thing you really needed.

Let the storm rage on.

A Proverb Backfires

timerMy eight year-old son loves his video games – and I love to limit his game time.  He typically gets an hour a day (which I’m convinced is still too much but haven’t the energy for that battle just yet), and when he sits down to play, I set 30 to 60 minutes on the microwave timer.  His choice.

This morning it occurred to me that he’s tall enough to reach the timer himself, and that I could teach him to monitor his own time.  A win-win.  I told him as much, and was met with some resistance.  “Mo-om!  Can’t you just do it for me?”

I smiled and put on my best sage-mom voice (admittedly, it’s not great), and quoted, “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day.  If you teach him to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

He stared a me.

My sage-mom voice dissolved and I gestured at the microwave.  “Do you think you understand what that means for us right now?”

He stared.  Then, a mischievous twinkle.  “I do.  It means that if you set the timer for me, I’ll play for 30 minutes, but if I set the timer myself, I’ll play for a lifetime.”

I’ve never seen him quite so amused with himself.

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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