January . . . In our neck of the woods, winter always brings blustery, cold days and snow and a desire to curl up on the couch in front of the fire. Tom’s painting, “Amish Farm in Winter,” illustrates the stark reality of winter in Ohio. Cold. Peaceful. Barren. Beautiful. Truth is, when all around the world is white, it’s hard to tell where earth and sky meet.
March . . . We are having an early spring with days that are unseasonably warm and sunny. Mother Nature is waking from her long winter sleep, and our yard is coming alive with color and wildlife. The air is fresh and clean. Birds are building nests, and the squirrels are coming out to play. Soon we’ll be seeing ducks and geese on our pond out back with their newborns. It’s time to do a little gardening, sit outside on the patio, and enjoy the simple pleasures this season of renewal has to offer. The beauty of spring is rebirth. Just as the earth comes out of its winter sleep, my spirit is once again renewed and filled with hope.
April . . . Spring is officially here in Ohio, and we are enjoying sunshine and warm weather with the intermittent showers that come with the season. Around this time last year we were making final preparations for our trip to Wyoming. It’s a whole other world there. Spring arrives more slowly, and it’s not unusual for snow to fall in the mountains in April and May. Mother Nature takes her sweet time and can be treacherous. She paints the landscape in lustrous shades of green—emerald, chartreuse, vibrant teal, and forest— against a backdrop of red earth, rocky mountain ranges, and powder blue sky . . . and gives you fair warning. Dark clouds loom on the horizon, shrouding the highest peaks in mystery. Will it snow?
June . . . In the country, the evening sky stretches as far as the eye can see. It surrounds you in shades of blue with clouds awash in watercolor hues of pale lavender, misty rose, and fuchsia. The sun, a bright golden glow, is blinding as it sinks into the horizon past fields of corn and wheat. It is slow to set; yet it comes as a surprise when you realize the clouds have vanished, melting into the colors of the sky as it deepens—navy to indigo to black—until it is suddenly dark. There’s nothing quite like the quiet calm of nighttime in the country where all you hear is silence. Except, perhaps, at the shore where the sun falls off the edge of the world and waves lap in a soothing rhythm . . . in and out, in and out, in and out . . . lulling you to sleep.
July . . . The summer days have been long and exceedingly hot. In fact, we’ve been having extreme weather with fierce storms and record-breaking heat. It is over 100 degrees in the shade—enough to melt an ice cube in minutes. Grateful are the sunflowers that bask in the heat and the sun’s warm glow. Healthy and thriving, they turn their smiling faces to heaven. We should all be so happy.
August . . . Deep summer always brought the kind of laziness that had us children lying in the grass, staring up at the clouds, imagining we saw faces in them. We were city kids. The closest we came to country on a regular basis were visits to my grandparent’s house not far from where we lived. They had a pond, a huge vegetable garden with winding paths and arbors, strawberry patches and berry bushes, tall cherry trees behind the garage, and a long greenhouse—always hot and humid—filled with flowering plants and the orchids my dad loved to grow. For us, my grandparent’s yard was new and exciting territory just waiting to be explored. In reality, what appeared to be a whole world of wonder was less than an acre of land that looked unbelievably small when I saw it again as an adult.
October . . . October is golden. With the month, comes the year’s last hurrah as the landscape changes from the dull greens of late summer to a vibrant rush of red, orange, and yellow.
Our local park is ablaze with brilliant color. Tom and I usually take our little Schnauzers, Mitzi and Cody, for walks in the park. Not this year. Mitzi gave birth to Cody’s pup just two weeks ago, and we are careful not to separate mom from her baby for too long. These days we take Mitzi and Cody on short walks down the street and around the block. They enjoy the sights, sounds, and every single smell along the way. We enjoy their excitement and the beauty of the season. It’s a win-win situation. We look forward to the day when our grand-pup can join us—one big, happy family. Our nest no longer feels so empty.
December . . . We have not had snow yet or very cold days. It has, in fact, been rather unseasonably warm for this time of year. I’m hoping for a white Christmas. Without snow, it’s just not the same. For some snow is an unwelcome winter event they would rather do without. For me snow brings peace, a sense of time standing still, intricate flakes blanketing the earth, and quiet evenings at home before the fire. If you happen to go out into it, especially in the country, the silence is profound.
Original artwork: Tom Schmidt. Used with permission. All rights reserved.