Above is the morning sun above the fog over Juan Tomas and the Estancia Valley.
We noticed something else as well. The light is changing. We are yet one week out from Groundhog's Day, which is the cross-quarter day between the Winter Soltice and the Vernal Equinox. The change in the quality of the light as well as the length of the day is becoming very noticable. The sun is rising about 20 degrees north of the winter solstice point.
Snow still covers the ground as it has for six weeks. But the light is stronger and is the unmistakable harbinger of the coming spring.
In the old calendar, next Saturday would be the beginning of spring. And we can feel it coming.
And the birds are singing in the mornings in the snowy woods now.
Next Saturday is also Tu B' Shevat--the Jewish New Year of Trees. I am planning a week of study surrounding that holiday culminating in a Tu B'Shevat Seder next Saturday afternoon. This is the first time in a number of years that I have felt excited about this minor holiday. I think that living up in the mountains now, and the real winter we are having, has contributed to my sense of the change of seasons.
One of the rewards of homeschooling is that we can turn aside to see the miracles that surround us everyday. We are not always hurrying. Hurrying to be "on time" according to someone else's schedule. When we were always hurrying due to being oversheduled, I am not sure we achieved more (which is the goal) and I know we often could not turn aside and see the great sights that lie right in front of us.
There is a midrash about the burning bush in Parashah Shemot. The midrash states that the burning bush had been present for anyone to see, but only Moses took the time to turn aside and "see" that the bush burned but was not consumed. If you think about it, noticing a bush on fire is something anyone might do. But it would take someone who had the patience to watch would see that it was not consumed.
I am so grateful we can take the time to notice the change in the light. The fog over the valley. Who knows if we will every see this sight again?