{Moments of Inspiration}

{Moments of Inspiration}

“Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them;
for those experiences have left an indelible impression,
and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Dog sitting by hearthIt’s been a sit-in-front-of-the-fire kind of week. Three snows with accumulation in 10 days might not be much according to my northern roots, but it’s a lot for Virginia!

Slowing down

Slowing down

We took some time to slow down amid a busy September last weekend.

Busy is just that, busy. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we are achieving, accomplishing. It doesn’t automatically mean that we are being productive or growing or stretching. It just means busy.

We’re still figuring out the balance. The rhythm. Of this new life, new home, new phase.

We walked down to the neighbor’s the other night and sat in their living room as the rain pounded down and just talked and talked for hours. Husband and I walked home in the dark, dodging the last of the rain drops. It was late, but it felt good to be making connections, making time, being, talking.

In an effort to make some of that time for ourselves, we took off for the mountains last weekend. It doesn’t happen nearly as often as we would like, but our little mountain excursions help bring us a bit of sanity, of slowing, of breathing, of being. It’s good for us.

A few photos and a few thoughts from our trip…

Sunset on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Our campsite at Sherando Lake State Recreation Area

So green at the lakes


Hiking Humpback Rocks Trail

The view from Humpback Rocks Trail

The pup made it to the top too

Enjoying the view, Blue Ridge Mountains



They’ve been calling it “Snowmageddon” around here…nearly a foot of snow fell on Virginia Beach this week. It absolutely paralyzed everything. For two days, barely anyone has left home.

Husband and I spent some rare time together, drinking hot tea, playing with the pup, watching a zillion episodes of Psych, knitting, sledding, making mozzarella cheese and more. It was, in a word, lovely.

Ginger loving winter


Husband in winter


Snowy winter


Making cheese

Playing with the pup

The days we love

The days we love

One thing has become so very evident to me in the past year — we must embrace every moment of the days we love.

Losing a loved one puts so many things into perspective. And sure, there’s nothing earth shattering or life-changing about canoeing. But, there will only be so many warm November days in my lifetime and I intend to embrace every one that I can.

So Husband and I invited my MIL and SIL to an afternoon of canoeing/kayaking/beach walking. I can’t think of a better way to embrace 73* in November.


The pup canoeing

Sunday afternoon

Back Bay

And even better, as we were loading up the boats to head out, a nice fog rolled in. We headed straight for the beach and watched it get thicker and thicker until we could hardly see the waves. There is nothing more magical than fog on the beach.

Fog rolling in on the beach

I hope I never begin to take these days for granted again. I hope that with all the tears of grief, there also remains the hope of life today. Carpe diem!

The pup in the fog

The pit of my stomach

The pit of my stomach

I think it was a sort of visceral reaction. I was shaking — imperceptibly to most, I’m sure, but I could feel it. My muscles tensed, exhaustion set in but fear kept me alert.

Really, it wasn’t a big deal. But to me, on that night, that week — it was.

The pup was having some sort of allergic reaction. First it was just itching, then hives on her chest, more on her legs. Next thing I knew her jowls were swelling big time.

Hives I can handle, but any sort of swelling near her throat and I get seriously concerned.

There was about an hour of back-and-forth with my mom (a vet tech) and her boss (the vet), several benadryl forced down Ginger’s throat, and then a lot of waiting and watching.

Watching for signs of distress, difficulty breathing. Because that’s the danger. Itchy hives we can deal with, swollen airways not so much.

I looked up the closest 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic — the first time I’ve ever had to do that. I had the number on hand just in case, and I memorized the directions. Difficulty breathing is nothing to mess around with.

My job was to monitor her until the next dosage, around 1am. Husband and I made an exception and invited her onto our bed for the night, so I could watch her closely.

We went through a bit more turmoil that evening, more forcing of pills, some vomiting, etc., and sometime around 2am I finally fell into a restless sleep. But I kept waking and hearing heavy breathing, always checking to make sure that was Husband and not the pup.

The whole thing felt eerily familiar. We had a similarly sleepless night one year ago. A series of them. Weeks of them. When we lost my dear brother-in-law.

I was tense, shaking, filled with dread. The same feelings.

As I watched the pup sleep, I prayed that this would not be like that night. That this would have a happy ending and not become a nightmarish new reality.

By morning the swelling had reduced. A few more pills and I felt safe heading off to work.

We escaped tragedy this time around, but I sometimes wonder if that visceral reaction will ever fade. Will I always feel that gravity, that twisting in the pit of my stomach when faced with such circumstances?

I’m inclined to think yes. I can never un-know or un-experience what we went through one year ago. And it will follow me for the rest of my life. The question is, how will I handle it?

snuggling with the puppy

The way we celebrate

The way we celebrate

Husband and I celebrated three years of marriage last week. Certainly, it’s not long compared to my parents’ 36 years or my grandparents’ 60 years, but each and every year is something to celebrate.

I love that we are still new to this. It’s an adventure unlike any other and we are navigating it and enjoying it to the best of our abilities.

So to mark the completion of our third year, we chose to do one of the things we love best: camping.

We packed up the truck, the pup and a weekend’s worth of food and took off for the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is one of our favorite places in the whole world. Given the choice, we would move to the mountains in a heartbeat. (But there are little things to consider that keep us where we are, like employment.)

It was three days and two nights of bliss, just Husband, the pup and me. We hiked, we photographed, we made campfires and cooked delicious meals. The things I love to do, like reading and knitting are oh-so-much better done by lamplight in the great outdoors.

We even saw a black bear (I’m sorry to say I didn’t get a photo because it was only for a moment…then again, I’m glad he didn’t stick around).

Happy Anniversary, Husband. I hope and pray each year is even better than the last.

Sherando Lake


Collecting firewood


Trickling waterfall

River rocks


Tree bark

Cooking Thai curry