Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Traditions: Alabama Snow

Every year, we trek north to visit Paw Paw, Nanny, Aunt A and the horses. And every year, we miss The Snow. Without fail, it escapes us by several days. Until this past weekend, Big B and little b had never experienced snow. I have been shown photographs of Aunt S and me in the snow as little ones, but do not remember it in my mind's photo album. So when we arrived in northern Alabama at sunrise Saturday morning and saw a winter wonderland, the magic infused us--instantly.
We spent the first morning of our visit out in Paw Paw's backyard, feeling the snow, throwing it, building with it, crunching in it. Exploring it. Experiencing it. Loving it.
Paw Paw and Nanny live next to a very old family cemetery. Respectfully we explored the hallowed grounds, reflecting on death, birth, and rebirth, these stone markers of life covered in white blankets and then peeking out again. Very powerful.
I am so thankful that we all were there together to experience this cleansing. It felt good just to play, to run, to look, to feel cold, and to come inside afterward and have a warm bubble bath and a hot bowl of Paw Paw's chili.
I think we'll try to time our visits more according to the weather than the calendar, from now on. This was too good to miss again.
“There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow.
It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray,
every blade of grass, every spire of reed,
every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.”
-William Sharp

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beeswax Solstice Candles

Inspired by the beeswax endeavors of Rose and Mama Bird, Big B, little b and I decided to make candles for our family for Christmas this year. We got a gorgeous hunk of sweet smelling wax and wicks from The Night Gardener, scored some little teacups from a thrift store, and set to work on the candles on the Winter Solstice.
Watching the wax melt was strangely gratifying, for all of us.
Big B and little b took turns dipping the wicks into the hot wax and watching them quickly dry.
We then centered the wicks into little metal holders, wrapped the tops around pencils to keep them centered, and poured in the wax.
When we had made enough for our family, we used the rest of the wax to create a special Solstice candle. Big B and little b poured in "snow" and pine and fir needles to capture winter in the wax.
We lit the candle every night from Solstice to Christmas, and said "Happy Birthday Sun!" The kids also reenacted the battle of the Oak King and the Holly King, their favorite Solstice story.
Solstice is a special time in our home, the time we remember a sweet baby joining us beneath the Christmas tree, three years ago. Happy BIRTH day, little b.