A group of 68 pre-schoolers visited the Wehr Nature Center today. I volunteered to supervise their play time outside. Six groups rotated through my station, staying 15 minutes. I spent an hour and a half standing in the snow, watching them spray diluted liquid watercolors onto that white, frozen canvas. It ended up looking like a flavored snow cone playground. I didn’t think to get a picture of it at the end, though, because all that was on my mind was getting feeling back into my toes. Brrr….
The sky is gray, the bare branches are gray, the ground is gray, my gray matter is gray. Suddenly, a flash of red whips over the roof and settles at the bird feeder. A cardinal! Oh, happy wings of fire!
We were hiking the Ice Age Trail, through a dark pine forest by the Oconomowoc River. Through the trees, I saw a red barn with it’s face shining in the late afternoon sun. It burned like a beckoning hearth.
I’m wearing a red sweatshirt, half wishing it would burst into flames and warm me up. What I really wish….is that I had a fireplace. I love building fires. I love the smell of a fire. I love watching the flames in their colorful dance. I love the warmth. When I was a child, I would pester my father to start a fire in the fireplace. It made an otherwise ordinary evening feel like a holiday.
Alas, I have no fireplace, so I am going to attempt a simulation. Mesquite incense sticks, flannel pajama pants, and several layers of blankets. Maybe I’ll warm up enough to fall asleep for a little while. For all you warm-blooded, hibernating, furry creatures out there, stay snug. It ain’t over yet.