Monday, November 27, 2006

little house in the snowy woods

I am living in a snowglobe. Every handful of minutes, the wind visits the alders and maples and evergreens surrounding our house and sends a shower of white billowing about. Inside this globe, I sit in front of the woodstove and watch the orange glow on the other side of the tempered glass. The sounds of David Lanz's Christmas CD fills the house. To my left, our 15-foot Christmas tree towers. If I had my druthers, the massive fir would be draped head to toe in white lights; for the pleasure of my children, I opted for the green, red, blue and yellow variety.

Fourteen inches of snow presses against the outside walls. Larry is so intrigued with the seldom-seen blanket of white that he keeps insisting I let him go investigate. The dog doesn't own enough dignity to stay on the porch. He doesn't understand that snow is not for lying on--at least not longer than the time it takes to make a snow angel. "Silly pup," I tell him. But he just grins and smacks a trough with his snakey black tail.

If you could enter this snowglobe and sit awhile, I'd offer you a taste of our tradition. Since the year we married, 21 years ago, I've been making homemade cinnamon rolls to celebrate our first snowfall of the season. This year's batch is fresh from the oven (a twin batch just went into the freezer for later baking). The moment I pull the pan from the oven, I slather creamy swirls of cream cheese frosting over the spiraled tops. It melts on contact and drips its sweet, buttery self down between the crevices of cinnamon and sweet dough.

Dave likes a big pat of butter on his, and a glass of ice cold milk on the side. I give him the largest roll; he finishes in a half-dozen bites and heads straight back to the kitchen. From my perch on the couch, I listen for evidence, and when it comes--when I hear the sound of the spatula sliding into my stoneware pan and the clink of the butter dish cover being lifted--I smile. He's waited months for that second helping.

More snow is expected tonight. Maybe we'll have ourselves a repeat of last night. Maybe we'll don our winter gear and walk again along the trail that borders our property. At most any other time, we'd have companions on that trail. Bikers, walkers, rollerbladers, and those on horse-back would share our travels. But last night, we owned the world. In an hour of trekking, with only the brightness of snow at our feet to guide our steps, our only company was the creaking of heavy-bowed trees.

I hear those trees now. Every so often, a white-coated branch gives up the battle and drops to the ground, trailing shivers of dust as it falls. I've spent most of the morning listening, and looking skyward. I'm watching for boughs, but I'm also looking past those massive sentries--and thanking the God who lives beyond. This scene is His gift ... and I'm grateful.

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14 Comment:

At 11/27/2006 1:04 PM, Blogger Nancy had this to say ...

Hi Shan,

As the snow was falling yesterday I thought of you and I swear I could smell the cinnamon rolls all the way over at my house! I could've made some for myself, but it just isn't the same.

Sigh... I am going to miss these kind of days during the next few years in New Flexico. Maybe it won't snow until I move back! :)

At 11/27/2006 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

I live North of you in British Columbia and we are also enjoying a few beautiful snow bound days. The snow comes and cleans all else away, so tranquil here. Thank you for sharing your tradition, it sounds yummy, and the trees remind me of my hometown, much farther north and much more often under snow.

At 11/28/2006 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

When the snow came, I told Bobby, "I need to get onto the computer to check Shannon's blog." When he asked me why, I told him it was the first snow of the season and of course it would be immortalized in writing. Thanks for not disappointing me!

At 11/28/2006 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

Shannon, your post inspired me. I didn't make cinnamon rolls but I did write about Elizabeth's prayer answered and wish granted...

...thanks for the writely nudge.

At 11/29/2006 9:11 AM, Blogger Barb had this to say ...

Hi Shannon,

I discovered you at 5 Minutes For Mom when I read your interview. I immediately bought Inconceivable. I started it yesterday morning and I'm right at the point in Chapter 24 when you realize you're about to become a pastor's wife.

I can't begin to tell you how gifted I think you are. I feel like I'm right there on the roller coaster with you in this book.

This post is beautiful. We got our first real snowfall yesterday, too. I may have to start that cinnamon roll tradition, it sounds so perfect.

I feel blessed to have discovered you.

At 11/29/2006 2:39 PM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Hi Nance! I sure wish you could maneuver yourself from Everett to here ... the cinnamon rolls are gone (both batches!), but I'm in the process right now of making sugar cookies with Tera and Jaimey. And yes--you're going to miss these snow days in New Flexico!
Hello QueenHeroical ... thanks for the visit! You live in a beautiful location.
Good memory, Christabelle. :) As I mentioned to Nancy, the cinnamon rolls are already gone and we're on to the next project: sugar cookies. It won't be long before you can do that with both the kids. :)
Hi Glory! How've you been? Glad you felt a nudge during your visit. :)
Hello Barb! Nice to meet you. Thank you for your kind comments. What a fast reader you are! I'm glad you're getting something out of the book. And I definitely think you should start the cinnamon roll tradition. :)

At 12/01/2006 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

I think we had your same weather system. It sure was pretty!

At 12/01/2006 5:02 PM, Anonymous Holly had this to say ...

What a neat, cozy post :) Today was our first snowfall...it was beautiful! God is so good. I feel so loved. Thanks for your post here.

At 12/01/2006 5:13 PM, Blogger Ken had this to say ...

I'm Holly's Dad (above). I showed her your blog originally. Tonight she showed me back... delightful. Thanks for your photo and the delightful description of your home. Your description of the rolls was so good I thought I could smell them and we live in the western suburbs of Chicago. God bless you. Merry Christmas.

At 12/04/2006 8:50 AM, Blogger ~ Brandilyn Collins had this to say ...

Shannon, what lovely writing. So very nice. Thank you for warming my morning with your beautiful words and setting of scene.

At 12/04/2006 8:59 AM, Anonymous Pam D. had this to say ...

I was just thinking the same thing about my home (I'm always struck how you often think like I do...nice to find a kindred spirit!) I love that snowglobe feel, watching the snowfall in big fat flakes all around me. Only I don't have that woodstove, just an electric fireplace that gives me the ambience! I'm just getting on my feet after breaking my leg last July, and homemade cinnamon rolls sound like something I need to get in the oven soon :) I was just thanking God yesterday that I could actually stand and kneel and put up my Christmas tree, while the snow fell right outside my window. No matter how long this CA-homegrown girl lives in MI, I can't help thinking each time -- snow makes me feel like I'm in one of my favorite old movies, like HOLIDAY INN...

At 12/04/2006 10:16 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Hello visitors! Violet, Holly, Ken ... it was nice to have you drop by. Ken, I have to confess that the picture is not of my home. But we do live in the woods! I took a few shots of our house the first night we went out walking in the snow, but they're pretty dark. I will have to get back out in the daylight and see if I can do it justice.
Brandilyn, thanks so much for coming by. I love your writing. :)
So, Pam ... we're living parallel lives, huh? :) I'm glad to hear you're getting back on your feet and that your leg is healing. Do make those cinnamon rolls!

At 12/05/2006 6:26 AM, Anonymous Pam D. had this to say ...

Well, Shannon... I can only say there's much about your family life that I WISH was parallel in my single life...:) But we do seem to think similarly about things like "living in a snowglobe," creating a homey home, and all your accounts about the children of friends who bring so much joy to you! Not to mention CHOCOLATE! :)

At 12/11/2006 3:25 PM, Blogger The Koala Bear Writer had this to say ...

Great traditions! My mom makes homemade cinnamon rolls too (though not for the first snow fall). I liked the comparison to the snowglobe... it totally set the mood. :)


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