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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

October 28, 2014

Word has it there’s that frosty white-stuff in the forecast. All the little critters of MouseHouse Village are feeding voraciously today; we can’t keep the feeders full, and here’s the tell-tale—the chippies and sparrows are dining peacefully side-by-side instead of vying for the choicest morsel as they usually do. Not unlike the rest of us, sometimes it takes a little storminess in life to inspire us to share and be kind.
Miss Winklesnout has prepared extra take-home papers for the end of the week. The students aren’t particularly happy about it, but they know well that extra homework often means a snow-day or two, and that means fun: Sliding, building snow-creatures, and of course enjoying hot apple-chip-rosehip cider with popped millet while they toast their chilled selves around Walnut Woodstove.
There’s always tickled anticipation with the season’s first snow, and this is Trieste and Tatiana’s first experience. They’ve never seen snow before, and you can be sure that big brothers, Bic and Ben have told them all about it! Exaggeration? Maybe a little, but that’s what brothers do, you know.
Mama Fivelina smiles tolerantly and shakes her head. “Now boys, let’s not frighten your sisters, huh? They won’t be sinking in over their heads on their way to school. When the snow gets that deep, we will all stay home—even Papa.”
The twins’ wide-eyed glances darted from Mama to brothers, taking it all in while Bitsy tried to distract them. “Come on girls, let’s string some rosehip berries for Mama. We need to start getting our garlands ready for winter decorating. Don’t worry about the snow. It’ll only be a few flurries, you’ll see…”
Lacking their formerly rapt audience, Ben and Bic took their tall-tales outside to tease some of the neighbor children.
“You be in before dark, boys!” Mama reminded as they shut the door.
She lifted the lid of the stew pot to give supper a stir before setting the bowls and cups around the table, then scurried outside to bring in the last of the day’s laundry.
“Bitsy dear…” she said as she came in with her arms full, “would you please toast some pumpkin seeds to go with our stew?”
“Yes Mama…” Bitsy shifted the portion of garland she’d been holding to Tatiana’s lap. “Be careful not to pick yourself with the needle now..” she warned. “Just go slow and do one berry at a time.”
The twins bent to their task with great concentration, whiskers twitching, tiny pink tongues slightly protruding with the effort, and all fears of the impending storm forgotten.
Sir Fivel arrived home from work, wearily climbing up DownSpout stairway with the boys clambering close behind.
“Mmmm! Something smells delicious. Is that acorn stew and toasted pumpkin seeds?”
Mama walked into his outstretched arms for a quick hug. “It is… now everyone get washed for supper!”
Soon they were all gathered around the table, enjoying Mama’s good cooking along with the usual animated end-of-day conversation.
There’s comfort in the rituals of evening… settling in, enjoying a hot meal, conversing with loved ones when we can. As for the forecast and all it’s ominousity—yep, I made that one up too—I say let it snow!

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