As promised, I spent some time enjoying the snow and the beauty of a sunny (almost) winter day today. My place here looked exactly like the photo I posted below; all of the spruces, balsams, and pines were draped in a blanket of snow; even the birch and aspen branches were outlined in white. Every time a chickadee landed on a branch, a shower of snowy crystals fell glittering in the sunlight. It was breathtaking.
In the afternoon I tied Togo up to our big Otter sled, and the kids took turns riding. It is amazing watching a breed of dog do what it does best; Togo looked like he was meant to pull a sled. Being the puppy he is, however, and not having been out enough lately, he didn't want to run a straight line, instead exploring all the scents and treasures buried in the snow. Still, when he took off running, even with a 60 pound child in the sled, he could outrun me. He pulled the sled, then I took him off the leash and let him run loose in the powdery snow on the pond. The kids made snow angels, I just looked at the sunlight on the snow-draped pines, breathed the cold air, and felt alive. My heart was pounding from running alongside the sled, and from laughing.
When I wasn't outside, I made some time to practice guitar and mandolin. Yay! I also tried to play my flute, but decided the instrument is in need of mechanical attention. A keyed flute is slightly more technical than a stringed instrument; there are numerous screws and springs and pads that something could go wrong with, and I think some key is leaking air. I'm not getting the pure tone I'm capable of, and it is frustrating. Hopefully $50 worth of repairs will do the trick.
I made up for it on mandolin and guitar. I finally solved my pick dilemma by moving to a lighter pick that is easier to hold on to for both instruments. The mandolin duet tunes sounded good, and I finally worked out guitar solos for a couple of songs (Fred, if you're reading this, you can breathe a sigh of relief!). I have been playing guitar longer than any other instrument, going on 30 years this spring (!) but flatpicking is still something foreign to me. Like Townes Van Zandt once said, "I learned to play guitar at age 15, and ten years later I learned my second chord." Or something like that.