Monday, March 8, 2010

Blue Skies

Beautiful blue skies finally broke through the winter gray here in West Michigan! In fact the sheer quantity of sunshine for this time of year has been making news. The local weatherman exclaimed that in the first seven days of March we saw 94.3% of available sunlight. WOW!

This is what an unusually clear winter day over the Great Lakes looks like from a satellite. (This and many more cool images can be found at NOAA Great Lakes CoastWatch.)

This is what the day looked like to us as we wandered through the woods again. The pulse of springtime could be heard when we walked the Sugarbush Trail as the sounds of dripping sap filled the air marking each drop as it fell into the buckets below. If you have never taken part in the magic of sugarbush I encourage you to visit the Blandford Nature Center. It is truly awe inspiring to follow a drop of sap from a Sugar Maple tree to your plate. Last year I helped my students empty buckets each afternoon and we were all giddy with excitement knowing that our hard work would pay off in the form of sweet golden syrup!

Miles experiences his first sugarbush!

I love this time of year when the white canvas of winter is quietly replaced with the subtle signs of spring. The change happens gently at first, and if you are not watching you might miss it. Something as small as the buds on the tips of branches swelling means that the inevitable has happened. It is finally our hemispheres turn to bask in the sunshine!

The Silver Maple near the school already seemed ready to burst! It won't be long now until the trees are leafing out and canopies of shade will cover the trails.

We wandered the West Loop trail to end our hike by taking a family photo. Remember the photo that began the blog many months ago?

Here we are "patiently waiting" last November,

and here we are with Miles!

When we took the picture in November we had no idea who this child was, only that we already loved him or her immeasurably! It has been such a wonderful winter and I will always remember it as the season we became parents. We have appreciated this "restful" time to take on the task of caring for a baby. Now we look forward to a spring filled with activities like teaching Miles about the outdoors, and growing our garden!

We hope to go on many adventures and camping trips with Miles in my faithful "Suby." So it seems inevitable that he will have many more "plein air" diapering experiences like this one in his future. :-)

As Papa worked a red tailed hawk circled overhead.

The Texan in me couldn't help but hear the voice of Willie Nelson begin to sing in my head.

"Blue skies smilin' at me,
Nothin' but blue skies do I see.
Blue birds singin' a song.
Nothin' but blue skies from now on.

I never saw the sun shinin' so bright, never saw things goin' so right
Noticing the days hurrying by, when you're in love, my how they fly!
Blue days all of them gone,
Nothin' but blue skies from now on!

The gift of eggs left on our car after our hike made the perfect ending to our day. Thanks Mr. Lende for sharing the bounty of the sixth grade chicken business with us. It was wonderful to see you again out on the trails doing what you do best - inspiring the minds of future generations!

As silly as it sounds we have truly never been happier than we are right now! It is almost impossible to describe the hope that fills you as you watch the new life of another person unfold before your eyes. All I really want for Miles right now is for him to feel safe and loved... and I think he does. I also want to provide for him a life that encourages him to explore the wonders of our world, and discover the possibility and potential that we all hold inside of us. Right now I think he is content to be carried along the trails, but I imagine that one day he will be out there blazing his own! Michael and I just feel blessed to be along for the ride.

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