Friday, January 28, 2011

Seen 10 minutes ago on the corner of Baeder and Wanamaker roads: a flock of robins.
Dazed and confused robins, perhaps, but robins nonetheless.
Think spring.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

There are times when I find myself more inclined to write "Momentary Kvetch."
Like today, when I walked under a snow-laden evergreen, and felt a drop of liquid ice drip down my neck.
Or on behalf of a neighbor around the corner, whom I passed today digging out her parking space for the second time this storm: once after the snow stopped falling, and again after the plows pushed their load into her hard-earned spot.
And on behalf of my arms, which spent much of the past two mornings picking up one cubic foot of snow at a time and dumping it onto the growing mountain range of white that used to be our front yard. 
But then I remind myself that it is January after all (albeit with a vengeance). And I remember that snow does have its moments.
Like earlier this week, before we were dumped on yet again …
(Wait a second, let me put on my "Momentary Joy" glasses and try again.)
Like earlier this week, on a barely double-digit morning, when I walked out back and felt the cold, dry snow squeaking underfoot. Our snow-covered driveway literally sparkled: blue and green flashes glinting like sequins in the sun. Looking out on an expanse of snow on a cloudy day, you can easily forget about the tiny crystals that lie within. When the sun hits those thousands of facets, it's hard to see anything else.
        Snow lays out a beautiful white blanket that soon gets a bit rumpled, but even that has its charms. As I looked beyond the glinting crystals, I could see who else had been by: a squirrel, a dog, a human, and even a human on bike. I like tracing the tracks, and remembering who else shares my patch of earth.
As the storm wound down Wednesday night my husband turned out all the lights downstairs so we could see just how bright a snowy night is. I was amazed. It looked more like 11 a.m. instead of 11 p.m. 
We stood looking out, and listening to the snowy quiet. 
So peaceful.
Further kvetch averted, for now.
Critter meets human meets bicycle.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

With a name like "Slobodzian," my Ukrainian roots run deep.
My grandparents on both sides were born in the Ukraine, and they all made the voyage to Philadelphia before the Great Depression. Their villages outside Kiev were usually referred to in our house as "the old country." 
As the writer of this blog, I can see how many people visit  "Momentary Joy" each day. Those "pageviews" are also broken down by country.
Most of my pageviews come from the United States, but I get a kick when I see a more exotic locale, like Suriname. (I confess I had to look up where in the world Suriname was.)
When I checked my pageviews this week I had a moment of blue-and-yellow joy when I saw this:
"Ukraine    1"
My first-ever visitor from the old country!
Welcome, and come back soon.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Except for two years when I lived in Happy Valley (a.k.a. Penn State's main campus) I've always lived within earshot of the train.
Railroad tracks run just beyond the back yard of the house where I grew up. Trains were part of my childhood landscape -- and soundtrack. I counted freight cars from our back bedroom window on more than one summer night, the rhythmic clatter of train against rail a soothing, almost hypnotic sound.
The Iron Horse steam engine used to rumble by once a summer back in the '60s. It was an event we all looked forward to -- and our back yard offered front-row seats.
Birds on the wires.
My house now isn't so close to the tracks, but I can still hear the train whistle in the distance, a lovely, somewhat mournful chord that sounds as trains approach Ardsley station.
Not long ago I was on the phone with a friend who lives on the other side of town, also within earshot of the tracks.
As we talked, I heard the whistle of a train passing through Ardsley. A few minutes later, I heard the whistle again -- but this time through the phone. That same train was moving on toward Philadelphia, its tone carrying across the field next to my friend's house. 
I heard the sound and smiled. It was such a moment of connection, the same feeling I get when I look at the moon, and know that a loved one far away could be seeing the same sight.
  A few months back, my husband and I saw a rainbow; when we talked to our daughter later in the day, she mentioned seeing the same rainbow. Such a sweet and simple pleasure.
We humans share so many connections on this planet.
They remind me how much we're all in this together.
Thank heaven.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Seen at sunset, floating above the treetops:
the tiniest sliver of a silver moon.
A lunar Cheshire Cat.