Winter Days

I’m sitting at the south window of our bedroom looking out at sun dappled woods.  The pale winter sky peaks through a mix of intricate gray lace and pine green plumes. 

This is my darkest month.  I have always struggled with the cold dark days of February.  The odd thing about my trouble is that I love the winter.  I love all the seasons in their turn.  It doesn’t seem logical that I would struggle emotionally through any of them.  I love the steel gray of the low sky that comes with the Southeast Texas winter.  The long shadows that stretch across the land and the colored leaves which cling to trees till spring ones push them off at last. 

I have promised myself I will do all the things needed to not let the bottom fall out of my emotions. What are all the things?  Seeking sunlight at every opportunity.  Lighting candles everywhere.  Soaking in a hot tub of bath water in the evenings.  Getting fully dressed even when staying in for the day.  Riding with him when he goes on cow business.  Making time for friends.  Making time for Duchesses.  Making myself see the beauty around me.    

I have set myself a real challenge.  This Valentine weekend, I plan to have both Duchesses spend two nights.  We may go to a birthday party Saturday I’ve been invited to or we may stay here and have the tea party I had already planned.  It will depend on how well we all sleep Friday night for the most part. 

Thinking about the weekend, making plans, gathering supplies, making ready has been a very good way to keep the gloomies at bay.  Looking forward to all the love and affection exchanged between the three of us is a perfect way to keep my heart up. 

Most importantly, I am trusting in the Lord to comfort me as He always has.  Rock helps me get through this.  I have him and some others who pray specifically for my difficult days of winter. 

This year they don’t seem so dark after all…………………

Ghost Ship

New Year’s Day, we spent time on the Bolivar Peninsula.  Looking toward the open sea, I saw a monster vessel coming in through the haze.  Heading up the ship channel to one of the ports. 

How many times did my father make that passage to Texas City?  He worked in the engine room of an oil tanker.  Sabine Towing and Transportation.  S.S. Guadalupe.  Diamond S.  He sailed on the S.S. Brazos a time or two.  The company was locally operated, though owned by Chromaloy.  They took very good care of Daddy when he was sick.  They flew him home one time when his bipolar depression got too bad while aboard ship.  I remember he had lost his false teeth; and I remember going with Mother to the airport to pick him up. 

I also remember the smell of his Old Spice cologne and King Edward cigars.  The whiteness of his tee shirt.  The tan of his khakis.  How his head felt when Mother had freshly cut his hair.  Just bare clippers run over his entire scalp.  He liked pipes and Louis L’Amour.  He preferred a flat bottom aluminum boat and running trot lines.  He liked to squirrel hunt rather than deer hunt. 

When he was younger and well, he always had a project going.  Some scheme with fishing or planting or brewing usually.  When he was older and sick, he would again try to work on projects. 

He taught me how to fix bicycle tires and to tinker with lawn mowers.  He let me paint the clothesline poles.  He let me argue with him about current events.  I would get so worked up and he would let me go on with my temper flaring.  He never told me to be quiet or anything.  Mother would finally intervene and hush us up.  He didn’t get mad.  He just seemed to want me to debate about things and to learn to see both sides of things.  To look beyond my own scope of understanding and see something more.  And to respect what generations before me had endured. 

That ship in the haze certainly was real.  And it definitely stirred up a ghost in my memories.