Friday, December 11, 2009

A Time and Place to Believe

It was a dark and stormy night.
Well, it was actually a cold and clear night. Stormy might have been a bit warmer. It’s been pretty darn cold and clear for some time now. There are four inches of ice on my ponds. Not little ice. Not the pretty take some cute pictures kind of ice. No. This is the kind of ice that has me bringing kettles of boiling water out first thing in the morning to let sit on the afore mentioned four inches of serious ice only to be laughed at by said serious ice. Then after about four rounds of these steaming cauldrons of liquid jackhammer are set on and then poured upon the ice the pick ax is brought in. Yes, that pick ax. I’m back to the pick ax again and it’s flipping December!
Now you may be asking yourself why I would do this. I might be asking myself the same thing. I might that is if I were a sane person and had not dug a huge pond out of a belligerent rock on the side of a mountain and then foolishly inserted fish into whole doggone thing.

Town center of Leavenworth

Oh, and yes, to those of you with ponds I do know about not whacking my little fishies senseless with Mr. Limpet sound waves. I use the pointy end of the ax just to get a hole started. And no, it does not work for me to keep the pumps running because I have FOUR INCHES OF ICE. The tubing up the falls is to close to the surface and will freeze solid if there is water in the line. So I cover what I can and then go out there every morning before I have my coffee and begin the process of icy humiliation. The other day I lost my balance while swinging said pick ax and found myself about two and a half feet out into the middle of the pond. But no worries, I have FOUR INCHES OF ICE. I just skated back to the bridge. Thankfully this deep freeze only happens once or twice a year and only lasts a week or so at a time. I would make other plans if that were not the case. Like moving back to Arizona.

I showed you this tree before covered in brilliant fall colors. Not a bad transition. This snow scape is a small slope in the middle of town that the kids sled down.

So the other day after my pre coffee, morning bathrobe ice skate I decided to take a look at the over taxed thermometer. You know just for that extra jolt to the senses that finding yourself splayed across a frozen pond in your bathrobe—all alone, doesn’t quite give you. Oh, and by the way, Leonardo DeCaprio and Kate Winslet are absolute liars. There is no way those two were making doe eyes at one another on that ship with all the time they spent in that water. I lost the physical ability to swallow my own spit and I was just pulling ice chunks out with one hand.

Back to my own personal thrill seeking… I checked the temp for that day and it read a quite balmy 13*. That’s right. A one followed by a three.
"Just one more time." I like to think of this as Mrs. Claus's shop window.
I like to look for comparisons in life. It’s my way of reminding myself that it can always be worse, so therefore, it must not be too bad right now. It's logic that works for me. Try not to judge. Well 13 blistering degrees does pose a bit of a challenge. The Saint was completely convinced that this really was as bad as it could get. Smelling a challenge like blood in the water I dove right in. It was cold. Eventually I did manage to find somewhere with a colder more hideous temperature than 13* and it was within driving distance! I said “Sweetie, put your coat on we’re going for a drive. Oh, and wear your big wool socks…and maybe some long johns.” The Saint just sank deeper into the chair and pulled the afghan tighter. “Come on honey, it’ll be fun.” “I’ll pack the arctic survival gear. You tell Rescue Services where we’ll be.”

The location with a colder more hideous temperature than us was Leavenworth, Washington. It was 2*. No, not followed or preceded by any number, just 2. I figured once we had spent a little time crossing the huge rugged mountain range and ice choked waterways to spend some quality time in a place with the friendly bone chilling temperature of 2 our little 13* really would seem balmy. Provided we made it back alive.

Holiday avenues and the candy shops I told you about. If you enlarge this shot you will see there is a holiday pretzel tree.

Surely this has to be Santa Claus's very own shop window and the nativity scene is heavenly. Pun intended.

Leavenworth is a very beautiful 2 hour drive from here. I told you about this little town and it’s pioneer spirit not too long ago but I held out the very best until now. I wanted you all to see just how amazing this town looks every Christmas season come December 2nd when they have the holiday lighting ceremony. It is an enchanting and magical place. It is the kind of place that I dreamed of as a child whenever I saw those tiny Christmas villages or nativity scenes. A place where it is safe to be a child full of wonder and joy for all the things that may lie ahead. And once a year like Frosty the Snowman this town comes alive with magical wonder.

The red trolly is delightful. This little house is a wedding chapel. I once arranged a small winter wedding for a friend here at this chapel. They drove through the streets in a horse drawn carriage just as it began to snow. I still cry thinking of how beautiful that was.
I took my Sainted husband there not to torture him with frost bitten fingers, although that is what he claims, but because it is what we do every year. We go there because, well it is just like walking into one of those perfect wonderful worlds where everything is loving and feels like home inside those warm lit windows. Hot cocoa with marshmallows await every child coming in from sledding down the snowy hills, their boots full of fluffy snow. Christmas trees glow with hope and promise and for this one sublime little sliver of time everything in the world is wonderful and seems perfectly possible. Yeah, I did go there to remind myself that things can always be worse. I also went there to remind myself that things can always be a whole lot better too. You just have to believe sometimes.


  1. Dear LeSan ~ Thank you for this lovely way to start today. I haven't even fixed coffee yet, and reading your post has given me encouragement for the day. Things could always be worse and we have so much to be thankful for.

    Leavenworth looks like such a sweet little town in it's Christmas finery. A place of hope, peace and joy.

    Our server is down so I'm not able to receive or send emails. Hopefully that will be fixed soon.

    Have a wonderful week.


  2. I've just had the most lovely wander round Leavenworth with you - a truely delightful little place! (ignore the total Englishness creeping in here please, I can't help it!!!)

    It sounds jolly cold - but the image of you sliding across a frozen pond in your dressing gown had me in stitches ....who's envious now huh!? :)

  3. FLOWERLADY~ Sorry to hear about the server being down. Times like that are when you suddenly realize just how connected you are to the net. That was so nice to hear that you took that stroll with me first thing this morning. You should have seen me the first time I saw this little town all lit up. I was like a five year old kid. Oohing, awing and pointing all over the place. It is such treat when something makes us forget oursleves for a moment. I try to hang onto that magic.

    NUTTY GNOME~ I love your total Englishness! I get such a kick out your sayings that are just a twist away from our American. I am completely charmed by them. Oh, and I bet your envious. You and I both spend a lot of time on little bridges hovering over water but at least I had ice to skate on when I fell in. LOL

  4. LeSan, thank you for the splendid tour and especially so since we are planning to visit this summer. The photos you took of the evening lights are simply lovely and enticing.

  5. Hello LeSan,

    I love this little town you have shown us. It does look like it came out of a storybook. There is a town somewhat similar called Solvang, in Southern California. But, it doesn't snow there....

  6. Oh yes, when I'm looking at the pits in front of me, I remind myself that it could always get worse. Do I know that? No. But it sure helps to tell yourself that when you're looking into despair.

  7. I actually thought about stepping on the ice on our pond, but was afraid to chance going in the pond with the ice. I hope the ice has thawed mostly for you by now!
    We need to take our girls up for a trip to Leavenworth, it's so pretty. I've never been there at Christmas so it was really fun to see your pictures.

  8. 13 degrees? Wow! Magical Leavenworth - double Wow!

  9. DI~I am so glad to hear that you will be making it over to visit in the summer. It’s a charming little town all year round. There is a lot to do in the area. So do you think you’ll be doing some white water rafting? LOL I have yet to try that one out. Heheh. The whole area is pretty and offers such a variety of interesting things. I hope you will have a wonderful time!

    AZPLANTLADY~ I have never been to Solvang. Then again there are a lot of places I haven’t been. Heheh. I don’t know how it would be to live in a story book town. Maybe like working at Disneyland. After awhile it’s just a job or where you live. I like the magic of visiting. And I don’t have to string up any lights!

    BRENDA ~You got Brenda! It never feels like it could get any worse when it’s bad but somehow it can always manage to do so. I guess it’s just a turn on the old adage “Well at least we’ve got – some people don’t even have that.” Perspective is sometimes all we have to work with.

    CATHERINE~ Well, it’s Tuesday as I write this reply and the ice is starting to melt but there are still a few inches of it. I am going to skip the morning skate for awhile now. That water is so cold I can’t imagine how awful it would have been to actually fall in.
    The girls would love it at Christmas as I am sure you would. It really is magical at this time of year. My only regret this time was that we went before there was a good snowing but then that did make the pass much easier to cross. Either way it’s worth the trip.

    TATYANA~ Yes, 13 degrees. LOL We live at a bit of elevation so we always get colder than the lower areas. We also get snow when the weatherman calls for snow at the higher elevations. When he says the “foothills” we’re doomed.

  10. What a lovely little town. Is it the 'real' Snowden? Thanks for showing this to us. It looks like a magical place.
    And, your 13 degrees...when I'm feeling sorry for myself because it's 'so cold', I talk to our daughter, in North Dakota. Gives a whole new meaning to cold. I just checked the weather there. It's warmed up to a toasty -5.
    Be careful on that ice.

  11. I just went to Fairyland with you. I love how you captured the place, all lighted up. Seeing the lights against the white snow gives me a magical feeling. Why, I even see snow falling here. What a wonderful place to spend Christmas! Have a blessed Christmas, LeSan.

  12. Your town is beautiful!!

    I'm curious, though, why do you need to get to your fish? Around here they hibernate in winter.

  13. LINDA PATCHWORK~ North Dakota -5? She wins! LOL I lived there one winter as a child--on a reindeer farm no less. I was pretty young but that sort of thing sticks with you. And it was darn cold! Notice how it was only one winter?
    I loved your Christmas decoration post. Your place looks so warm and inviting. Thanks for stopping by mine today. Merry Christmas Linda!

    AUTUMN BELLE~ I am so happy you were able to enjoy our little real life Christmas town. I love it there in winter. I agree, it is very magical and it is like being a kid again, full of wonder at every turn. Thank you for coming along. I was very glad to have you. :-) May you also have a wonderful and blessed Christmas.

    EILEEN~ Thank you for letting me share our town with you. I have always wanted to take others along when I go there. It is such a beautiful place in winter with the Christmas decoration.
    The fish? It isn't so much that I need to get to the fish which do hibernate like yours, it's that I need to open some holes in the ice so the gasses can be released. Even in winter any plant stuffs that are in the pond are going to be breaking down and releasing gas that is toxic to the fish. It also allows fresh air to get in. Melting some every day kept at least those spots from becoming so thick with ice.
    Have a wonderful Christmas Eileen!

  14. I read somewhere that you live for comments, so here I am. :) More seriously, the pix are gorgeous and warmed my heart. Thank you.

  15. LeSan, What an enchanting village scene... for a moment or two i thought I was peering into 'your little village' ... only the cotton snow was missing! Magical wonderland ... nicely lit up... all the perspectives ... you went out of your way for us in that 2*! Thank you for a wondrous tour. The mountains in the background dwarf the tiny town. Really Beautiful photography! Your dripping icicles are amazing ... brrr! It is 10* here today! Happy Holiday Prepping! Carol

  16. You always blow me away with your photos. I think, did she take these? You have a way of capturing the feel of a place and the pictures you post on this blog come to life for me. Awesome.

  17. Be careful on that ice! You could hurt yourself!

    Oh, yes, wonderful pictures, and Merry, merry to you and yours!

    It is about 35 degrees here, on it's way to 65 degrees or so. I am freezing.

    A reindeer farm?

  18. We've hit below zero here a few times. 13 sounds balmy :-) Seriously, with weather in 30s lately, I feel like I am thawing out.

    Leavenworth makes me think of those miniature Christmas villages. Maybe they based them on that town. What a place to get happily lost in!

  19. LeSan your pictures of Leavenworth are wonderful (as are all of your pics - I explored a few posts since I'm new to your blog).
    Some friends from grade school, I still keep in contact with, and I spent a weekend there doing all of the touristy things. It was so much fun.

  20. NATHALIE MVONDO~ Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. That was incredibly sweet of you! Thank you very much for making me smile.

    CAROL~ I have been noticing it most profoundly this year just how my little village mimics the areas that I love to visit. It certainly could be the table top village in those pictures. When I was a little girl I imagined myself living inside those little villages so it is a special delight to me to find out that even though I am a uh…bit on the mature side, I am finally living in one of those little villages. I’m very glad you enjoyed the visit!

    TERRY LYNN~ I take that as a very high compliment from someone who see such awe inspiring beauty every day. Thank you for popping over for a visit Terry. I know you must be very busy with all the amazing successes you have been having lately. Frankly girl you have to start failing a little bit here… I can’t keep up with the cupcake celebrations much longer. I’m getting big as a house! LOL
    So happy for you!!!

    JANIE~ Luckily for me the ice melted before I could get any silly ideas about getting the skates out. That is the last place I wanted to find myself floating around in!
    It has warmed up quite nicely lately and we are in the high forties. Suntan weather. Heheh
    Oh, and yes, reindeer. Never did get to see the big guy though or his little holiday militia.

    JEWEL~ It never stays in a deep freeze for long here. Just enough for us to start whining then it lets up so we look like a bunch of pansies. It does that with the snow too. We whine a lot about that stuff. LOL
    I love those villages and getting lost in myself while I’m there. For me it’s a perfect fantasy place.

    RAIN GARDENER~ Oh welcome! I am so happy that you came by. Thank you for the kind comments about the pictures. I have a decent little camera that lets me get away with just pointing and shooting. If I had to do it like a real photographer I think you would all be seeing a lot more text. Heheh.
    You said that you spent a weekend in Leavenworth. What season did you visit in? It is a wonderful place year round but I think winter is my favorite there.