Winter Wonderland is our January theme. I’m not into winter, probably because the days are so short and it’s dark and gloomy. We rarely have snow in Kentucky, so the winter sports are not very common here.
In my book Timeless, a contemporary Gothic romance, my heroine Beth does go sledding.
“Want to go sledding?”
His question came out of the blue, completely unexpected. “Sledding?” I asked in a stunned tone.
“A bunch of us are going to Dog Hill this afternoon. It will probably be crowded, but it is a lot of fun.”
“Sledding?” I repeated myself. It sounded fun, but going with Eric? I wasn’t sure about that….
Dog Hill in Louisville’s Cherokee Park never lost that name even after the city built a fenced dog area in another part of the park. Eric told me its history during our ride through streets now blackened with snowy slush. Baringer Hill, as it’s officially called, isn’t for the faint of heart on a snowy day. I stood at the top of it, looking down its long and steep incline wondering if I would chicken out.
“You’ll be in for a wild ride,” Eric said. “Are you up to it?”
If I’d wanted adventure, I was going to get it. The hill was crowded with teenagers and adults. A few children were sprinkled here and there, but this was definitely not a beginner’s hill….
Determined not to let my courage fail me, I took the sled, walked down the hill a little ways to where snow remained packed, dropped the plastic vehicle to the ground, and sat down cross-legged. I paddled with my gloved hands, digging my fingers into the snow, which had basically turned to ice.
The ride started slowly but picked up speed until I was soon flying down the bumpy slope. Cold wind stung my face. My blood rushed with exhilaration as I held on for dear life. All too soon, I was at the bottom, swerving to avoid a tree, and then toppled sideways as I skidded to a stop. After picking myself up and brushing myself off, I trekked up the hill.
The sled was surprisingly lightweight and easy to pull during my hike. Panting hard, I wondered about my sanity. It wasn’t often that I saw my life flash by me like I’d seen during that ride. Exciting, yes. Smart, no….
My own winter includes much calmer pursuits. One of the things I do is feed birds and watch them. This December a special bird showed up at my feeder. It was little and white. I’d never seen such a bird! My neighborhood FB group identified the little guy as a white zebra finch.
Zebra finches are not native to Kentucky and are kept in captivity. A white one is a mutation. The neighborhood group reported someone’s birds had escaped. My little white guest must have been one of them.
I felt that the little white finch must be good luck.
Beth from Nature’s Portraits by Beth came over to try to capture a photo of the little white bird. She visited my back yard for several days and captured some beautiful pictures. But she had no luck spotting the little white bird.
I do have some special wild birds that do look festive in the winter. The shrub is a winterberry bush, enjoyed by the cardinals, mockingbirds, and especially flocks of robins.
Cardinals are believed to be good luck. “Native American lore states if a cardinal is seen, it is believed that individual will have good luck within 12 days of the sighting.”
I must say I have plenty of good luck around my house with the little white bird and my yard full of cardinals. I look forward to 2021 being better than 2020!
You can follow Beth on FB at Nature’s Portraits by Beth. She sells her photographs, and you can find her email address on her page if you want to purchase a winter bird.