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Snow Day (New Year's Eve 2003)
What a day to wake up to! Usually snow days in this part of the Pacific Northwest are blustery with the northeast wind causing bitter cold and snow drifts with horizontal snow blowing across the horizon--no lazy flat flakes slowly falling, no accumulation on tree branches, sub-zero wind chill temperatures. But not today. It is a lovely wintry day with no wind whatsoever.
So we head to the hill for sledding--a perfect way to end the year. Tonight we'll have a bunch of families here to sled on the hill under a generator-lit light, then back to the house for soup and bread, hot cocoa and ice cream sundaes. Does life get any better than this?
Our hill is the highest point around for several miles and has been the scene of so many good memories over the years. It serves as observation point, a church without walls, a campsite, a place for quiet meditation.
That lone fir tree at the top is a resting place for bald eagles, red-tailed hawk, and barn owls as they can scan for field critters easily from its branches. We find a treasure trove of feathers at its base and occasionally the furry carcass of a rabbit.
Last April we had dozens of neighbors and friends climb the hill very early on a sunny Easter morning to sit on hay bales and celebrate our risen Lord. Birdsong blends with human song. The previous night a group of our sons' teenage friends gathered on the dark hill around a bonfire in an Easter vigil, a tradition long observed in the early church, and something we find is a tangible reminder of our daily vigil waiting for the light.
Two months later we were on that same hill as part of a family hay crew, picking up the bales scattered randomly about the field. They were hauled down to the big red hay barn, and now we feed that same hay to our hungry Haflingers.
It is the training hill for our young Haflingers during the summer as they love to race up and down from barnyard to tree and back, strengthening their legs and improving their balance.
On July 4, another gathering of families were up on the hill to watch the fireworks shot from the surrounding communities and homes up to 15 miles away.
Later in the summer, my daughter had a group of friends over to cook and camp out on the hill, somehow managing to stay up there despite loud coyote yips and whoops only yards away.
This fall, we climbed the hill to witness some incredible sunsets which seem to last forever when viewed from a high point, prolonging the dip of the sun below the horizon.
Just two months ago, I was up on this same hill taking pictures of a sunrise that was breathtaking and memorable..
This hill is meant to be shared, experienced, meditated upon, prayed from. We are grateful to steward it for these few years we are fortunate enough to dwell on this farm, and with that gratitude in mind, I share it with you, although you may live half a world away. There are times when I stand on that hill, that I almost feel I can see half a world away. If you look hard enough, you might just see me waving.
Emily from BriarCroft