Things I Discovered in January

January is the time for fresh starts and clean slates. The whole New Year spreads out before me and I wonder what will I do with it? What will it do with me?

I can't know just yet, but I can chronicle my discoveries month by month in community with other writers gathered by Emily P. Freeman.

These seemingly random thoughts are little discoveries that somehow caught my attention. I don't yet know what I might do with them if anything, but their little flicker of light has made me pause, made me grin with a curlique wisp of a smile, fires I may not realize have been kindled.

Good for the snowy season.

Here are a few things I discovered in January.

  1. Unhurried is the word I was in a hurry for.

I wiped off the chalkboard in the kitchen. It is a jet black rectangle of space in an wide wood frame that now sits empty, yet full of possibilities. It sat empty for a while, longer than I wanted. But then, I'm always in a hurry.

I may write "unhurried" in that space. But for now I am waiting. Just letting that space be quiet. You'll have to remind me. Apparently, I'm in an all-fired hurry. I need reminders.

To keep the discovery process keen, I decided I will write what I learned about being unhurried at the beginning of each month in 2016. Guess what? I have already written and posted the one for February.

Good grief! I just now realized that. As I said, I need reminders.

2.mark twain means safe passage

In my word gathering this month I collected galvanized, zany and mark twain. This month I gathered words I like the sound of, but whose meaning I thought I knew.

You may know Mark Twain as the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, author of the classics Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

But did you know he got his name straight off the steamboat he worked on as a boy? You probably did, but that was news to me. A riverboat measured the depths for safe cruising by dropping a knotted rope weighted at the end. Each knot was a fathom, six feet. The men would yell "mark twain" to mean two marks or two fathoms, safe passage for a boat on the Mississippi River. I guess Langhorne just didn't have the proper ring to it.

Every so often, I go back to classics like To Kill a Mockingbird or any Jane Austen. It might be time to read a little Mark Twain. Words like these make me want to discover more of his writings.

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
Mark Twain

I am off to the library!

3.Pygmy Owls have the Artist's touch.

We walked out of the cabin early on a Saturday morning to find a tiny, ivory and brown-flecked owl laying on the porch steps. He was intricate, perfectly crafted with such loving, tender detail like a little professor sporting a tweed vest. I half expected to find a pair of spectacles nearby broken in his fall.

I had never seen any owl up close, but this one mesmerized us with his petite size and swiss dot feathers. I could see right away, he was not a Spotted Owl so much in the news or nearly the size of the great Snowy Owl and he did not have the wild tufted eyebrows of Owl in Winnie the Pooh. After a quick Google search, we decided this little guy might be a Northern Pygmy Owl and had his eyes been open, they would have been amber yellow.

Photo by Monica Conlin.

We don't know what happened to end his life but for at least one snowy night, his last, he made his home on the rafters near our side door. He left us with thoughts of spectacular feathers and being under God's wing, beautiful reminders of the intricacies of God's loving detail.

What did you discover in January?