A Warm 52nd Week: 2015


Little Hogback Mountain near sunset.
The Western slope of Little Hogback Mountain just before sunset.

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.  The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”  ~Carl Jung

We returned home from the cabin last night after a week of unseasonably warm and rainy weather and equally warm family gatherings.  Unfortunately, this morning the cold that’s been threatening me for a couple of days finally showed up in a sore throat, laryngitis, and the other usual symptoms.

So instead of writing a longer, more time-consuming epistle, I’ll summarize my final week of the year with a quick post sprinkled with pictures. After which, as the Victorian ladies say, I’ll “take to my bed” for a long winter’s rest. With popcorn. And movies. Hey, I’ve been good!  And I really need this today.

Where'd all this water come from?
Where’d all this water come from?


Izzie and I took several hikes. The first day we discovered that after a week of solid rain, the little brooks that are usually only trickles had become serious contenders with our big and bold Buck Creek!

We had the good luck to run into Hermenio, who lovingly tends and beautifies our property. He took us on a guided tour of the new trail he’s building.


Hiking the new trail.
Hiking the new trail.


The winter woods are full of treasures. Like this delicate ground-cover plant with tiny green leaves and bright red berries that loves the damp ground and mossy sides of rocks and boulders. Does anyone know its name?

One of my favorite things to do on hikes is look for Mother Nature’s art. Here are a few samples.

I call this "Stepping Stone with Leaf and Boot Print."
I call this one “Stepping Stone with Tulip Poplar Leaf and Boot Prints.”

Has any human ever made lace as delicate as this?
Have human hands ever made lace as delicate as this?

I'm likin' this lichen bracelet.
I’m really likin’ this gorgeous lichen bracelet.


Cooking is a favorite pastime and we have lots of food rituals.


I always make a big pot of chili to welcome the family on their first night.
I always make a big pot of chili and homemade biscuits to welcome everyone after a long travel day.

And we have to have monkey bread for breakfast at least once!
We have to have monkey bread for breakfast at least once. Robyn, the boys’ mother, made this one…with a little help from her youngest.

Homemade pizzas are always favorites.
Of course, nobody doesn’t like homemade pizzas.

The most fun of all is a 'hat dinner!' For this one, our godson, Wade, treated us to BarBQ brisket made in a big green egg.
Our ‘hat dinners’ (we collect old hats) are the most fun of all! For this one, Wade, our honorary godson, treated us all to BarBQ brisket cooked in a Big Green Egg. Seriously yummy!

Here we are with our son and his family just before sitting down to our New Year's Eve hat dinner.
Here we are with Matt and his family just before sitting down to our New Year’s Eve hat dinner.

Wade and his family before dinner.
Wade and his family.


On our last hike the boys finally found some frost and played a game of tic tac toe made from weather-impervious marble. Their table is the stump of a hemlock.


Wishing you warm memories of 2015 and a happy, healthy, prosperous, and wildly love-filled New Year!!

Happy New Year!

Jean Raffa’s “The Bridge to Wholeness” and “Dream Theatres of the Soul” are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. “Healing the Sacred Divide” can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.

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0 Responses

  1. LOVELY photos Jeannie thank you! Mother Nature provides not only beauty but remedies too – ginger tea and lemon in hot water for that throat and laryngitis … maybe a wee drap of medicinal whiskey too … enjoy your time taking it slow, an excellent start to the year back at home, and may you be fully well, soon.

    1. Thank you, Susan. Oooh, I love your remedies and will check them out post haste! And I will follow your advice to enjoy taking it slow. January does seem to call for some hibernation time in the Northern Hemisphere, and the Mama Bear in me most definitely hears that call!
      I consider this cold to be a validation of it even though thus far the symptoms are not nearly as severe as they could be. Thank you for the good wishes.

  2. Good morning Jeanie, what a rich, wonderful post and a deep joyous read! It’s lovely to see you and your family gathered together at year’s end, including the gorgeous Izzie. Very much enjoyed your old ‘hat’s story, what fun! I was struck by ‘Hermenio’ what an unusual name I thought for the guy who helps you on your property.
    I loved all the images, especially the one of your ‘new’ winter bracelet. For me, you were bearing more than a slight resemblance to the ‘Queen of Pentacles’ herself. Deeply entwined and at one with Nature! And as for that last striking image of you with your love, and Shadow in the background too, just beautiful.
    January is poetry month for me. Time to light a fire, pull up an armchair, unfold that warm cosy blanket and meet with my poetry friends old and new. Enjoy the Season. Warm winter wishes, Deborah.

    1. Thank you, Deborah. “Hermenio” is, indeed, an unusual name so I Googled it to see what it means. And discovered first of all that I’ve been spelling it wrong. It ends with “inio” not “enio.” It’s the Spanish version of Herminius (Ancient Roman), but its origin is Old German and is a version of Herman. It means “soldier”. I wonder if our Herminio knows that? I’ll have to tell him. He’s a quite, gentle, very creative man, which doesn’t sound very soldier-like in terms of our current understanding of the word. But on the other hand, he’s very dedicated, dependable, and hard-working, which does.
      The Queen of Pentacles? I’m familiar with the Tarot card but not its meaning. Is she a sort of Artemis, or Earth Mother, or Animal lover figure? There certainly is a lot of that in me and it seems to be getting stronger the older I get. Psychologically that would have to do with a stronger awareness of, and affinity for, my connection with the physical world and my physical, instinctual self, as compared to my cerebral, mental self. I say it’s about time I started paying more attention to that! It seems to be having a much-needed balancing effect.
      January. Poetry month. Perfect. Here’s what I found on Wikipedia about the origins of this word: “January (in Latin, Ianuarius) is named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions; the name has its beginnings in Roman mythology, coming from the Latin word for door (ianua) since January is the door to the year.” Hmm. Beginnings and transitions? Enjoy the changes this month will surely bring to your poetry writing! Warm wishes to you too, Jeanie

      1. Thank you so much Jeanie for letting me know about the origins of both ‘Hermenio’ and ‘January’ most interesting! I’m beginning to learn to look up root meanings of words that I’m attracted to, especially in my dreamwork … such a rich etymological vein to plumb.
        Deeply fascinated by the Tarot I’ve written a poem for each of the Four Tarot Queens, here’s the link: http://theliberatedsheep.com/category/poetryofthetarot/ Last year I started writing poems for each Major Arcana card, starting with the Fool … hoping to post later this year.

        1. Thank you for providing this link, Deborah. I’ve just read your poem, and must say it’s amazingly accurate as a description of me, including my shadow! Wow. I’m off to find my Tarot book and deck for more insights!

  3. Thank you, Jeanne, for sharing yourself, your family and the beauty of your property. I feel nourished by all.

    1. You’re welcome, Carla. I’m very glad these images were nourishing for you. Thank you for writing, and warm New Years blessings to you. Jeanie

  4. So awesome to see you and your beautiful family!! Such warm thoughts of you all! And I think Matt wins my vote for best hat(s)! xoxo

    1. Hey, Therese! It’s great to hear from you. Yes, Matt makes those hats look good, doesn’t he? 🙂
      I wish Julie and family could have been there too, but it was the only time they could go to Seattle to have a visit with some very special friends who moved away a few months ago. They had a wonderful time.

    1. I thought so too! I guess that’s why I had to take a picture of them! I was in such a hurry that I didn’t even finish cutting the spinach and pesto pizza into 8ths!

  5. Gorgeous land and family. Thanks for taking me on a walk with you as I shiver in cold winds today. And the flow continues. As you know, after seeing images of your family in the hats and hearing about hat dinners, you appeared in my dream with many masks. We laughed as we figured out how to use them in our workshop. I remembered the laughter, but the details of how we would use them were vague. Beautiful masks of intense saturated turquoise and red, silver and gold, velvet and satin, sequins and feathers. We will have a wonderful time with our masks and our workshop. I have no doubt.

    1. Thanks, Elaine. I love your dream of many masks and many levels of meaning. Masks, color, laughter, beauty, pleasure: life is such a multi-faceted miracle, even in the midst of a cold winter! Looking forward to our workshop together.

      1. I skipped the dream detail about the more depressive woman (also me) who wasn’t interested in masks or playing, but my dream ego chose laughter and masks by the end.

        1. That’s right. I’d forgotten about that. But yes, both are part of life. That would be the fall and winter part, wouldn’t it? And our laughter and play with beautiful colors would be spring and summer!

  6. The photos of the hat dinners look like fun and the walks in the woods sound fantastic. Hope you got over that sore throat. I had a quite fantastic sore throat and ended up buying an expensive jar of ‘some sort of’ raw honey from New Zealand at a natural pharmacy. Okay I was doubtful but within 24 hours. Unbelievable. Izzy looks like a great companion on hikes!

    1. I am over that sore throat and was surprised at the mildness of the whole episode. I’ve been taking honey every day for several months now too, and like you, I suspect that may have had something to do with it. It really is hard to believe, isn’t it? After all the money we spend on drugs, to have such a simple remedy so affordable and readily available? Yes, Izzy is a hiker’s dream.

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