A Writer’s Retreat

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As you know from my previous post, I’m working on a novel for NaNoWriMo. What you don’t know is that this year, my story is set in a place inspired by the area around Fiancé’s parents’ lake house in the Poconos. When I mentioned to him that it would be nice to be able to write in the setting that is my inspiration, he immediately suggested we take a little weekend retreat up to the house so I could write and we could rather get away from it all. It’s a beautiful place, set back in the woods, right on the shore of a small lake. Now, in November, it’s much too cold to go swimming, but I enjoy the mornings and the chill in the air. And it is very peaceful for a writer.

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With nothing else to do, I spent the weekend writing, eating delicious hearty food, drinking plenty of tea and whisky, and just generally enjoying the peace, quiet, and beautiful surroundings. I shared a little bit of it on my Instagram story. And then, Sunday morning, we woke up to this.

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The beautiful autumnal landscape had transformed overnight into a magical winter snowscape. A thick blanket of snow covered everything, making this beautiful place even more peaceful, and it inspired me to bring winter to my novel. I’d never seen the lake in the winter before, so it was even a new experience in my inspiring setting. I continued to write, and then we called a plow to dig us out, so we could head back to our daily lives. I managed to write 10,000 words over a single weekend and figure out where I was actually going with the story, so it was overall a fantastic success. I hope the other WriMos out there are enjoying their November and finding their inspiration!

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Scenes from a Blizzard

This past weekend, I was one of the many snowed in during the East Coast blizzard. Boyfriend and I made preparations. We got out to the store a couple days early and bought both refrigerator and pantry staples, as well as a little extra that could be eaten without cooking should the power go out. I set up telework. Friday morning, I made a point of going out for a brisk walk outside and Boyfriend ran in to work briefly before the snow started, and then we both hunkered down.

It really was a glorious snowstorm. Although there was some wind, the promised thunder and lightning did not appear in our little neighborhood. We stayed in and let the snow fall and blow through Friday evening. We watched a lovely movie on Netflix and had some leftovers found in the freezer that would not have survived a power outage.

By Saturday, it was becoming less likely we would lose power. We ventured out to do a little digging, both because we realized we couldn’t open any of the exterior doors on the main level of our house, and also because Boyfriend had invited a friend over. We were able to get out our basement door and trek through the snow to the front. We dug out the front door and a path to the street. Boyfriend’s friend came over and brought shortbread cookies so we had cocoa and cookies while they played computer games and I listened to a podcast.

Sunday, we finished digging out boyfriend’s car, and cleared the extra snow that had accumulated from the front walk. But, for the most part the weekend was spent curled up, drinking tea, and enjoying quiet indoor amusements. I am ready to get out of the house and may try to take a little walk in the snow later today, though work is still closed.

Vintage Pastimes on a Snowy Day

Yesterday was not the magical kind of snowstorm. You know, where you go to bed and it’s clear, but you wake up and either the houses have been dusted, or it’s still lightly snowing, and the whole world looks ethereal, like Christmas morning? The world changes overnight and seems almost like magic?

This was not that kind of morning.

We woke up to rain. Both of us found that work had been closed. We listened to the rain as it became louder and realized that the temperature had dropped to the point that it was sleeting. Soon, fat snowflakes started dropping from the sky. And it just kept going. Neither of us wanted to go anywhere. So we holed up on the couch and watched a fair amount of Netflix.

But we also found older fashioned ways to amuse ourselves. I pulled out a shawl I’ve been crocheting for a while now. It’s made steadier progress since I started taking it to rehearsals. The shades-of-grey, hand-painted yarn fit with the day, and the softness and warmth of wool on my fingers was soothing on a bit of a dismal day.

And then, Boyfriend taught me how to play cribbage. A cribbage board was his gift to me for my birthday, and we hadn’t had time to try it out. After playing one open hand to help me get the hang of the rules, we continued playing normally until I roundly beat him. It was fun. We later played another game, where he just barely won. I think we might start playing in the evenings rather than watching TV some nights.

Still the snow came down. We decided to nap in the middle of the day.

Eventually it slowed to the point that Boyfriend could wander out for some provisions at the store that is walking distance from our house. He got some food and brought it back so we could eat well for dinner.

And now, this morning, after digging out my car and driving to work, I can look around and see that the world still does look a bit magical with its fresh dusting of snow.

The Stillness in the Cold

It’s been very cold for a while now, and the lake has frozen. I did a lot of walking on Monday. Everything was dusted from the little snow we had on Sunday and was frozen from the low temperatures. It seemed like the world was laying low and waiting for the next snowstorm, which came Monday afternoon and into the evening.

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Because my car was still covered, I decided to walk in to have lunch with Boyfriend, who had to work while I did not. We met at a little cafe near his work and I got a hot chocolate and a panino. We warmed up and chatted and spent time together, and then I walked home, taking a bit of a circuitous route to enjoy the scenery. There was a beautiful stillness about the lake where it had frozen. As I walked around, I saw the places where ripples had frozen in, perhaps from something landing on the water as it froze. In one place, a patch hadn’t fully frozen yet and a solitary duck swam in the lake-within-a-lake.

From home, I went out to the store, where I gathered provisions for the coming snow and walked back home. The first flurries were starting as I got back home and put away the bounty. I bundled into a blanket and a shawl and had a nice hot cup of tea to warm up.

When I woke up the next morning, the neighborhood was blanketed in that thick cushion of snow that soaks up all the noise in the world. Offices were closed and the only sounds were of our neighbors emerging throughout the day to dig out their cars. It was a day for hot beverages and lots of blankets. And the perfect antidote to a string of busy weekends and weeks.

A Walk in the Snow

A couple days ago, we had the first snow of the season. It was magical. The forecast had been for just a dusting, so waking up to a couple of inches on the trees and rooftops was a surprise. To my dismay, Boyfriend and I both to go to work, though I was working at his location, so we could carpool. And because my responsibilities were a bit light, I was able to sneak away for a half an hour to go for a walk in the snow around lunch time.

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Though the roads and most sidewalks had been cleared by then, there were still some snowy paths. It was a quiet day, still close enough to the holidays, that snow made the whole world feel private and special. It was cold, so no one really wanted to be outside, except yours very eccentrically truly.

I had the idea to walk up to a local chapel that has a meditation garden with a labyrinth, but while the walkways were shoveled, the labyrinth was not. I could see a vague outline in the snow, and considered making my way around in the snow, but decided not to ruin the pristine beauty of the snowy field with my boot prints.

My new boots got a workout. They needed a bit of breaking in, and I had some rubbing on my heel by the time I got back. The cold nipped, but I had bundled up tightly, and by the time I got back, I was still up for more walking to get lunch with boyfriend at a local cafe.