Tuesday, September 20, 2011

El Clima

We recently welcomed a Rotary Exchange student from Venezuela into our home. Her English is limited so it has been a challenge to hold conversations. I must say though that she is really trying and it is a delight to speak with her and realize how new and different our local environment is compared to Venezuela.

As we were walking one day she pointed to the sky and said the clima (pronounced cleema) is very fresh!  She told me in her broken English how in Venezuela the sky is polluted and very, very hot.  Even more impressive to her was that we drink the water from our lake and even swim in it!  It made me realize how lucky we really are.  Then she asked me about the "ice in a cup" that comes at Christmas.  I had no idea until my daughter pointed out later that she was talking about snow globes,  and asking me what the name was for the "ice in a cup", or snow.  She is so excited for the snow to come!  She has no idea that once it comes it stays for at least four months!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Glass Castles Author Coming to Auburn


I have been in a book club for over 12 years now and have read two of Jeannette Walls books: Glass Castles and Half Broke Horses. Each book invoked intense discussions about family, obligations, and quality of life. They are wonderful accounts of her family and her life. Glass Castles is an especially moving story of what it was like for her to grow up in poverty- literally starving all of the time. I encouraged both of my daughters to read her book so that they could appreciate how much they really have. Books like these remind me as a parent that there are three things that I am ethically required to provide to my children to ensure that they grow up to be decent human beings: love, food, and shelter. As Jeannette's brother states at the end of the book, it is really that simple.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Snow Geese

I have lived in Upstate New York for quite a while now and it has not been until the past few years that I have noticed snow geese.  I was passing through Montezuma on my way to work today when I saw a gaggle of geese flying by.  On the lakes they look like a floating iceberg.  Suddenly, that iceberg moves and what a surprise! 

I guess snow geese have become quite abundant over the past decade.  Their numbers have increased from 500,000 in the 1970's to over 1 million now.  They make their way from the arctic to New Jersey and Maryland via the Atlantic flyway - passing through the Finger Lakes region along the way. The reasons given on the New York DEC web page for their increased numbers is better food supplies, restrictions on hunting, and consequently increased reproductive success rates. I think they are beautiful.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Why I Live Here

This past fall my husband and I went to visit some old friends who live in Virginia.  We started talking about the climate in Virginia, taxes, lifestyle etc. and the discussion inevitably came up about the Upstate New York climate and particularly - snow.  I will never forget the look on my friend's face when I described the snowfall we sometimes get, and the conditions in the winter and he asked, "so why do you live there?"

Why do I live here?  That is a good question given that tomorrow they are predicting a high of 3 degrees Fahrenheit. I answered my friend, "I don't know".  But really I do.  I know when I go out my back door and head to the farm fields behind our development to cross country ski and see the bright blue skies and the sunlight glittering on the snow like a crystal chandelier.  I know when I swim in the summer in water so calm and with a temperate so non-existent that you feel like you are swimming in nothing, as if your body is just gliding along without any resistance.  I know when I walk in the woods that are so plentiful around here and feel all of my senses come alive to the sounds of water, birds, and air.

It may be that wherever we live, we all share similar experiences and a sense of place.  For me, I have decided that this is the place I want to experience.