Chapel in the Woods- (nearly) Wordless Wednesday

The tiny chapel in the woods behind our house in Germany:  I find myself missing it today in the metropolitan hum of suburban DC with the tiniest of snow flurries falling. What I wouldn’t give for a German Christmas Market, a dusting of snow, and a tiny chapel behind my stone house.

Wishing you each a season that is merry and bright!

tinychapel Ramstein

The Rheinland in March: In Like a Lion

DSC_0826
Tuesday morning: the snowy view over the hills around my house.

March has certainly come in like a lion to my corner of Germany.  This past week saw snow showers almost every day.  Each morning we’d wake up to a dusting, or much more (especially in the hills around us), and my kids would cross their fingers as I checked to see if their school would start late.  No such DSC_0798luck for them.

The snow here is beautiful, and the way it sits on the feathery branches of the spruce and fir trees gives this area a fairy tale appearance.  This is the view we dreamed of at Christmas, when the weather was just shy of balmy.  But winter did finally come to us.

After a significant snow on Tuesday, we had a sunny day Wednesday, and, as I walked my dog that afternoon, I was reminded of a quote from Charles Dickens:  “It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” 

So that’s where we stand now.  The last patches of snow have melted in my yard, although I can still see some snowy fields on the surrounding hills.  Next week the forecast promises 50 degrees in the afternoons.

I think the lion has roared his fill and is turning to leave.  I’ll be glad to see March go out like a lamb.

 

Sleigh Bells Ring . . . Are You Still Listening?

DSC_0323

I’m having trouble giving up Christmas.  I am a bit tired of the chocolate and the mulled wine, true enough.  Some decorations have been put away–a scattered few that were beginning to irritate me.  But the tree is still up, as is the advent wreath on our table, despite its dessicated state (it will soon go up in flames as I light the candles, or possibly dissapear in a poof of dust at the slightest touch).  It’s time to put these things away . . . in a few more days.

There is a reason for this lingering, beyond the turtle’s pace at which I do any housekeeping chores.  You see, Christmas here was a relatively balmy affair.  We had prayed fervently for snow, offered the Supreme Being our very best behavior in trade for some glorious downy flakes.  But it was an offer He knew we couldn’t make good on to any high standard, and the snow never came.  Nor the cold.

So I held out for snow before I was willing to give up the season.

This is probably my final Christmas in Germany, so I have no qualms bending the calendar to suit my needs.  I need a picturesque German Christmas.

This weekend, it’s here.  Not in copious billows or drifting banks, but we do have swirls of flakes and dusted lawns.  And Christmas tree lights to read by.  It is enough.

DSC_0647 - Copy
A dusting of snow out the window.

Or almost enough.

If you hear a low rumbling, a curmudgeonly grumbling, tonight–a barely perceptible shaking of the ground underfoot– I suspect it’s my family, annoyed with me as I present a steaming hot Guiness Gingerbread* and pop in a dvd of “Elf.”  By tomorrow, they will all be willing participants in a big Christmas clean up.

 

*Guiness Gingerbread, aka fantastic stuff:  recipe from Nigella Lawson at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/guinness-gingerbread-recipe.html