Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow Angels

An unexpected snowstorm swept across the San Bernardino mountains a couple of days after Thanksgiving, this year. For us Californians, this was not only a remarkable surprise but a gift of aberrant beauty. Although our rainy season is sometimes known to begin in the month of November, it usually does not bring any snow until early January. Over the past decade or more that we have been spending our Thanksgivings in Lake Arrowhead, this is only the second one in which we have received snow. Instead of putting on our sneakers to take a warm autumns hike in the gorgeous mountain air, my Angel Daughters and my husband put on their snowsuits and braved the snow. Waking up to the white stuff was absolutely glorious!

I heard the sounds of my family outside, before I spotted them. They were laughing and screaming with delight as they sleigh-rode down the hills by our home. When I opened the window to call out to them, Angel Daughter Number Four, looking much to me like she did when she was ten, came trudging up the hill to throw snowballs at me.
Soon after, my rosy-cheeked little Angel fell backwards into the snow to create a perfect snow angel!
At fifteen and more than a half years old, I am so grateful that she continues to hold on to her playful spirit. Oftentimes, teenagers take themselves far too seriously and they forget what it feels like to play. AD4 not only left behind a lovely snow angel, but she also left a wonderful imprint on my memory.
Since we do not get to spend as much time at our mountain home as we used to, the days that we do get to spend there are precious. This is the road that leads up to our cabin. Even just looking at it, brings a sigh of relief to my soul. For me, it is another place of quiet contentment.
Angel Daughter Number Four giggles as she plays hide and seek with her boyfriend, Jacob. She likes to tuck herself snugly into the top bunk of the bunk-beds. And although seventeen can sometimes be a broody age, AD3 can often be silly.(especially when Jacob is around!)
These are the moments that I could freeze forever. Angel Daughter Number Four has always loved playing with people's hair. When she was little, she used to sit on my bed and brush my hair. Now she likes to style her sister's hair. Angel Daughter Number Two receives a cute braid from AD4. So sweet.
Angel Daughter Number One always warms my heart with her smile. I love the way that she is always willing to share it with me, even when I interrupt her while she is in the middle of something else. Thank you for your patience, sweetie!
Micah, our Rottweiler, Doberman, Pit-Bull puppy is now ten months old. Although the breeds which make up his genetics are thought to be more aggressive, the only aggression this boy shows is in his constant need to love and be loved. When we were searching for a dog to rescue, I was sure that I did not want to adopt a Pit-Bull. Unfortunately, the pounds and rescue organizations are absolutely full of them. It is my belief that most of them are lovable, smart dogs who just need proper parents, but with all of our other pets, and lots of kids coming and going, I did not feel that our home would be a proper fit for a Pit-Bull. When we found Micah, we were told that he was a Rottie-Lab mix. As he grew(very rapidly!), Mark and I decided to have him genetically tested. There was NO way in the world that we wanted to get rid of him, but I felt that it was important to find out which breeds we might be dealing with. We wanted to make sure that he had proper training, if indeed, he turned out to be a Pit-Bull. When the veterinarian called to let us know the results of Micah's DNA test, he laughed because this gentle giant of a soul turned out to be not only Rottie, not only Pit-Bull, but Doberman, as well! Our vet described him as a "Drug Lord's Dream"! We do know, for a fact, that Micah's abandoned mother, as well as two other dogs who were left on the property, came from an area that is well-known for drug problems. Unfortunately, these dogs are often bred to be macho or worse.(Hello, Michael Vick...) Micah, his mother, two sisters and three brothers were rescued by an incredible organization which would only adopt them out after some very stringent background checks. They did not want these puppies to turn out to be what they were most likely, bred to become. We were so lucky to be matched up with this wonderful pup. And I am now a little bit sad that I had ruled out Pit-Bulls before ever getting to know one. I am a true believer in life presenting us with lessons that we are meant to learn from. Micah is one of my teachers.
Angel Daughter Number Two brought her little devil of a kitten, Rex. He is another rescue. She found him when he was only a few weeks old, abandoned and shivering on the grass near her apartment building. Immediately, it was love.
This is my old girl, Becca. She just turned eleven and is suffering from some crippling arthritis in one of her back legs. She is a good old girl and she owns my heart. With the help of prednisone and pain killers, she still gets around fairly well. I fall in love with my husband, Mark, all over again, each time I watch him carry her up and down the stairs. She weighs sixty pounds and is quite squirmy to hold. But Mark patiently lugs her around when he has to so that she can be by my side. She and I make quite the pair!
Angel Daughter Number Two's boyfriend, Sol, drove up to join us when it was first beginning to snow. He spent Thanksgiving with his family(good boy), and then came up to be with his girl. AD2 told me that when she asked Sol to get her a glass of juice, his reply was, "What baby wants, baby gets." Now that is the type of man who is worthy of one of my daughters:)
We decided to brave the cold and the snowstorm to go down to the lake by our home. Lake Arrowhead is a cute, little town with the lake being the center of it. There are some shops and restaurants there, but mostly it is a nice place to walk around. The snowstorm was lovely for visitors, but absolutely terrible for the businesses in the area. It took place on the day after "Black Friday" which caused most people to stay home. It was very sad to see all of the employees standing around on a day when things were supposed to be busy!
We did do some shopping as there were some fantastic sales. Of course my girls decided to be goofy! Another reason why I love them so, so much.
I decided to take some photos to use on our holiday cards. My girls only like posing for photos when they decide the time is right, but I got a few cute ones. They like to make fun of me because it takes me a while to press the shutter button, but that is only because I have to examine each one of them to make sure that there is no funny business going on! There is at least one in every group! They can be very sneaky little angels! But then again, another reason why I love them...
I'm not sure where the ducks are supposed to go when the weather turns, but it seems that these guys were just as surprised by the early snowstorm as the humans were. There had to be a couple hundred of them, but they don't go hungry because all of the shops sell bags of duck food.
Here is my youngest duckling feeding some of the ducks who came up to greet us.
The big guy in the middle made us all laugh!
After the snowstorm subsided, the sunlight shone through the branches of the enormous pine trees. There is something about the way in which the branches diffuse the light that creates such a beautiful sense of peace. If you don't already do so, try to pay attention to the way in which light can evoke your different senses. I am not sure that I began doing this until fairly recently, and it causes me to view things in such a different way. It is almost like discovering a color or even a scent that I never noticed before. Noticing the light awakens something within my spirit which might have been sleeping silently before.
Trees, that are hundreds of feet tall, tower gracefully over our cabin. They create shade below, but when you look up, it is blue. So beautifully blue.
A lone pine cone dangles precariously from a young tree. A sign of growth and regrowth and more growth to come.
Angel Daughter Number Two(our resident professional-grade photographer) noticed the sunset over the city below. She said that she could look at it for days and days. I have to agree.

Life looks a bit different at around six thousand feet above sea level. The air is thinner, the weather is cooler, and sometimes, if you are really lucky, the unexpected happens. An extraordinary snowstorm flurries down from the heavens like the tiny feathers off of an angel's wings. And you get to create snow angels for Thanksgiving. Or you get to observe them from above. Or, you get to spend several days tucked warmly into a cozy cabin with your family while sitting by a fire and throwing a stuffed toy back and forth with your Rottweiler, Pit-Bull, Doberman puppy.


Debbie said...

Love your photos and your gorgeous daughters, as always. And yes, that boyfriend sounds like a keeper.

Laura Hegfield said... much joy just emanates from the images and words! And love too, of course! Despite the really is good isn't it? I sent a couple of notes to your little buddy jack and his moms...I mentioned that i am a friend of yours so it wouldn't be too weird receiving messages from a complete stranger.

life is so complicated and simple at the same time...filled with blessings in the pain and the peace.

love to you (hey we finally got some snow too...and more on the way!)



Laura ~Peach~ said...

love the post love the pics i so love going from one place to another and discovering its magical wonders with you :)
love n hugs Laura

WV LeAnn said...

Deb, the pictures are so wonderful and the family, pets, and boyfriend are lovely. You are truly blessed in many ways!!!!

Meili said...

Hi Deb. Thanks for your comment on my blog! Actually, there are speakers in the Mother's Lounge, but I have to turn the volume all the way down if I'm going to get the punk to sleep. Too bad for me. Luckily, I have a great husband who takes turns with me. It seems we are the only couple who use the lounge, so he can sit in there without fear of interrupting other mothers' feedings. :)

Happy Hannukah!

Maya said...

How wonderful..., to spend some winter days with familiy in a gorgeous place like that!!

jenX said...

thank you so much for this virtual trip. my huband speaks often of lake arrowhead. he spent time there with his family as a boy. i can't wait to show him this post.

debra, your pictures are just amazing. the one of the pine cone particularly breathtaking - i don't know why - it just captivated me - along with the ducks in winter. my goodness. this post was such a treat. and it's always a joy to see pictures of your beautiful girls. their lives hold so much promise and truly, they look so happy. and, sol - he's such a cutie.

TheChicGeek said...

Debbie, what a wonderful vacation you had! Arrowhead is such a beautiful place to go. I love driving up there!
You are so blessed with such a beautiful family. Your daughters are just amazing and your animals soooo cute too :) I'm glad you had such a wonderful vacation!
Hugs and Love,
Kelly :)))

Silver said...

Thanks for sharing all these pictures. They'd been fun and lovely!


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