once upon a winter….



I’ve been walking around in the woods.
A  lot.
Just tramping across the land on trails
because I can
and my heart is calling me.

My wintertime projects wonder what’s up with me,
where I go each day
and why I leave them unattended,
especially since I prattled on all year
about how much I couldn’t wait to hug their necks
once the hours turned gentle.

The walls still waiting for their fresh paint,
especially the ones I promised to un-paint,
seem to greet me with their hands on their hips
each time I burst through the door
with pink cheeks and dirty boots,
the dogs lapping water noisily and trailing dried grass and mud.


I get it.
They’re in a funk over being neglected.
But  I lop off some sweet orange branches blooming crazy early
and set them around in mason jars
and how perfect is that?
And the blackbird feathers I’m clutching in my hand
I tuck into a pretty ceramic pot
and isn’t that just glorious?

And I need just a little while longer to work it out with my guitar
what I heard the wind whispering
and how warm the sun felt on my face
and how the water was going in every sort of burble and shoosh
you can imagine out there
and how I’m punch drunk in love with the wildness of it all.


And it tickles like jazz to sit down and journal out my heart
on the one little bell I make at each day’s end,
just one sweet bite
with little room for words
and I did paint a bouquet of sticks one day
when an ice storm shut me in.
Yes, the walls still wait for their miracles
and the bathrooms and floors
and I’ll need to sleep with a heating pad again tonight

But can I tell you
that never has a winter ever
held more magic for me
and I’m holding it dear
like a snowflake in my hand.


“We have only this moment,
sparkling like a star in our hand
-and melting like a snowflake.”
-Marie B. Ray


  1. Nancy on February 10, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    I am so glad this winter season has brought you so much joy with all your walks in the woods….The painting, etc. will wait and be there when you return but for this season it seems the woods are calling you and providing a much needed peace……

    Love this post girlfiend…..

  2. Julia Bourque on February 10, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Jennifer, I so like how you pay close attention to your heart’s desires and that you follow where it dictate . It’s true, we have only this moment…I remember my walks in the wood in the spring when I was young, gathering some mossy garlands, finding some little wild flowers, to decorate the image of the Virgin Mary for the month of May. I hadn’t thought of this in years. Somehow I find your blog a rich ground to remember things from my childhood that I had forgotten. You bring out the child in me.

    The river rocks are calling my name but we just got through a severe snow storm so spring is still 38 days away for us. But Hope reigns eternal like your little bell is showing me.
    Warm hugs,

    I love that picture of the colorful rocks. I would want to bring them home in a jar.

  3. Barbara Koob on February 10, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    OH Jennifer…. I love you! You are such a special dear. I love your art and your words. I even love those winter walks. Miss you. Hope that someday we can meet again in person.

  4. rachel awes on February 11, 2013 at 5:53 am

    i love such a walk, dear one.
    your photos are gorgeous.

  5. Deborah on February 11, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I am in love with those painted branches! And I may have to take that idea and run with it….
    What’s inspiring is how you follow the urges of your creative heart and leave those bathroom walls ’til later. A woman after my own heart…. 🙂

  6. Bren on February 11, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Sounds to me like you’re doing all the right things, the necessary things for soul health 🙂 There will always be ‘the projects’ waiting in the wings, but those aren’t the things that hold value for us 🙂

  7. Mary on February 11, 2013 at 9:09 am

    You know, those walls and things will keep waiting…sometimes our hearts have waited long enough and can wait no longer…your beloved calls…follow!


  8. Lindsay on February 11, 2013 at 11:41 am

    The sticks are gorgeous! I can imagine how much patience you must have to paint them one by one. Winter looks so wonderful every time I read your poetry. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  9. Michele Bergh on February 11, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I love how the winter has served you. Your creative way of dealing with all it brings is inspiring. Love your sticks 🙂

  10. Lynn on February 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm


  11. Barbara on February 11, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I could see those projects standing there with hands on hips and a stern look. You make me smile, Jen. I’m so glad you’re finding magic in the winter, and I hope you can continue to embrace it!

  12. Maery Rose on February 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    How could you resist such a trail? It sounds like you are filling the well with good stuff. I wish I could get out there with you and walk out the places I feel stuck. A good walk always helps with that.

  13. leslie on February 12, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    i would love to walk those paths with you (and the dogs, of course!) especially when the path follows a mountain stream. mountain streams are some of my very favorite things.

  14. kathryn on February 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    i would be doing exactly what you’re doing…those walls can wait…just ask mine…it’s been 4 long years ago that they needed some sprucing up!!

  15. Wanda on February 12, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    There is sheer beauty in your words and photos. Those polka dot branches are too cute.

  16. Maggie Mallard on February 12, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    Just wrote you a long comment on how I love your post tonight. It gave me an error when I hit post so not sure if it went through are not.
    So I will send you an email too. But I did want you to know your lovely note cards and print arrived safely. My heart burst with joy when I opened and saw the beauty of your work first hand.
    Jennifer your gift for words and creating art is truly a Blessing.
    You made me smile tonight with the painted sprigs. Now of course I want them for my table when I move to Georgetown. Like I mentioned I am only taking happy things with me.

    Wonderful that you are embracing this time in your life and going for these walks. I hear it in your writing how it inspires and lifts you.

    You are a dear and I am so glad I have you in my life

  17. Petra on February 13, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    The painted branches look perfect, bringing smile and warmth, and I love the shiny stones in the water. Happy walking, Jennifer! 🙂

  18. Susan on February 13, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Walkin’ is good for so many things! Gorgeous images & happy words that you’ve shared here … I hope your winter fun continues!

  19. Cathy on February 14, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I really enjoyed walking around the woods with you thinking about my life and where my next journey will be. Thanks as always for the beautiful words that inspire us.
    Love to you.

  20. Kathy Anne on February 14, 2013 at 10:53 am

    We are on the same wavelength, soul hike sister. After posting about soul hiking, I stumbled onto yours this morning. So glad to know I’m not alone in my ways. Pictures are waiting to be hung on my walls and my recycling bin is full. Off to my secret path. Xo, k

  21. She Who Carries Camera on February 15, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Oh, how I LOVE those painted twigs! I think I may need to collect some myself!

  22. erin leigh on February 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

    i love this jennifer. I have missed your beautiful images and words. Where do you live?!?! It’s absolutely beautiful! xoxoxo e

  23. Lori on February 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Love this blog….just love it!! It screams life…….

  24. missing moments on February 15, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    So enjoyed that winter walk with you!

  25. jeanie on February 16, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Your woods are so beautiful and your sky so blue — of COURSE you want to be out there. Because inspiration lives out there, and those “neglected” projects will be all the more better for the time spent in nature.

    And on another note your pretty sticks have inspired me to collect a few and see what happens! Will they be an unfinished project or something that makes me smile and says, I love these!

  26. Suzanne McRae on February 16, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Your winter makes me look forward to our spring when the snow will have melted.
    I loved reading about your winter and how you have put so much on hold as you take care of your soul’s needs. So inspiring. Lovely photos Jennifer. xo

  27. S. Etole on February 17, 2013 at 6:19 am

    So much magic awaits in the woods waiting to be discovered.

  28. Marcie on February 17, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Such a gorgeous celebration of THIS moment..of embracing it for all it is. Beautiful sentiment here!

  29. Connie Smiley on February 18, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    What joy! Good choice, making you and the dogs happy. The walls can wait. Go in peace.

  30. Relyn on February 22, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    I love your super-fun painted branches. This makes me want to create a class project and see what my kids come up with.

  31. Dagmar on February 23, 2013 at 1:16 am

    Hey hey Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for your sweet words on my blog the other day.
    Tears were only to be found on my cheeks when I read them.
    I’m sending love and hugs out to you.
    This is all my healing proces and I’m so gladd you’re in it for me.

    I LOVE your magical photo’s and seeing you sliding down that hill makes me smile big time. Feeling like little young ones again always makes one happy.
    But do I spot blossom? What a shame….as much as I love the fact that it’s covered in the white ‘cream’ as you name it….hope you’ll have the sweets for the fruit of them next spring.
    Happy weekend my friend.

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