building snow people and things


I feel like a foreigner here. I have not written for a while, but I don’t want to think about that. I don’t have a picture for this post. I scroll through my photos and there’s only one that was taken with the intention of a blog post. This is not it.

I’ve been building snow people. I used to do that a lot, when I was six or ten or when my kids were six or ten. My kids aren’t little any more. When we were expecting Jordan, before the adoption was common knowledge, we built a snow family of six in our front yard. People thought we just got carried away or couldn’t count. No one expected there would be another Ayres arriving home in a few weeks.

That’s the thing about adopting older kids; things happen that no one ever expects. 

Luna, the new-ish puppy and my constant companion, loves the snow. She prefers to catch frisbees. She likes to dig for them in the drifts. She enjoys walking alongside of me and to “come close” for a lean-in belly rub and a soft wipe of her snout to catch icicles from her whiskers. After awhile she gets tired and lays in the snow, chewing on a frisbee with her tail wagging.

I plop down beside her. I have the best snow pants and boots and long underwear, and I’m not cold. Not even a little. I like to write messages with my mittened fingers in the fresh snow and draw fat stars and simple rainbows, because I think stars and rainbows should go together with wispy lines—like the ones I draw in my notebook every morning. I lean back and rub a snow angel into the white ground. I build a snow person and another. They are palm-sized and I hide them around the yard and flower gardens. They make me smile, even if everyone else is too busy to notice.

Perhaps I’ve learned to live the good life because I take time to swirl rainbows and rub snow angels and hide snow people. The truth is I’ve fought  for whimsy for a long time. I used to think whimsy was important for those around me. I wanted our kids to have space for magic, to take time to play and to laugh more. They needed to relax and overcome the hard starts to life. I thought love, whimsy and the promise of forever would be enough for them to make choices that were healthy and wise and sweet.

Now I build snow people and hide them because it makes me giggle when I come across one while I’m throwing a frisbee for a puppy who thinks I hung the moon. I wanted to hang the moon for my kiddos who were scraped by darkness when they were young and alone.

I wonder why I take time to stack snow people, but I’m not stacking words. I don’t let myself get away with the claim that it’s enough to write every morning in my journal, to write Instagram captions, or to write professionally. I know what I’m wondering, and I know it is time to face the truth.

Some people stop writing because they get busy. Other people stop writing because they don’t feel inspired. Some get bored. Some forget. Some believe they have nothing to write. Some think their stories don’t matter. 

Those aren’t my reasons.

Ruth Ayres Doesn’t Write when darkness closes in. I get overwhelmed with sorting out which stories are mine to tell and how to frame the kind-er truth.

The truth is there have been some things that have happened that are not very kind. When you adopt older kids, things happen that no one expects. They don’t always make the healthy and wise and sweet choice. They don’t always love you back in the way you thought it would go.

It’s more than serendipity that in the last twenty-four hours I have had many people reach out to me with the intent to thank me for the way my words have made their lives better. There is a fantastic group of writers who write and share their stories. They help me believe writing matters, and they don’t make me feel like a hypocrite when I don’t share a story.

I’m writing because of love.
I’m writing because love will overcome darkness.
I’m writing because love is enough. 

I stack words so we all have the gumption to shine…even when it is hard to find the kind-er truth.

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  1. Love does overcome darkness and love is enough. Your words have been a lighthouse for me. And have made this writing life a beacon for me.

  2. I love you for honest writing about the roller coaster of life. It is real and like most of us, we can identify.

    • Thank you for always reading and reminding me that it is universal. I try to find universal truth when I write.

  3. Ahh, Ruth, your writing builds a connection between hearts. Your words, your wisdom, your honesty feel human, deep, and touching. I appreciate that you come here, that you visit my blog, that you created SOS community, that you keep the Choice Literacy going. You spread writing love even when you yourself need a bit of silence. I understand. And I am so happy that I have seen and heard you through ZOOM. 🙂

    • I hadn’t thought about needing silence, but you are right. That’s what I needed. Thanks so much for reading & writing & connecting over the oceans.

  4. Happy Valentine’s Day, Ruth! Your stories sustain me and have made me write every week for almost a year now. I am forever grateful. When you wrote – Perhaps I’ve learned to live the good life because I take time to swirl rainbows and rub snow angels and hide snow people. The truth is I’ve fought for whimsy for a long time.- your words struck my heart. I feel so much like you do. Even though, I have no children, I’ve raised a rag-tag band of children (now adults) who needed my help, so I guess it isn’t so different.

    I love your honesty and your snow people. Our last snow, I wanted to make a snow fort with a snow person guarding it. I didn’t do it. BUT I WILL THE NEXT TIME!

    Thank you for writing. IT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE!

    • Thanks so much, Joanne! I do hope you will build in the snow the next chance you get. It’s good. Yes, we can love and help whether there are bloodlines or not. Just being present is an act of love!

  5. Dear Ruth: You cannot be a foreigner in your own land! Here in this magical realm you’ve created, you are always present… always. Your voice encourages even in the prompts. Like the breeze, lifting spirits. I feel the ache here. Even the snow-whimsy with a good and loving dog gives me an ache. And then I think about something I read recently, about the healing power of cold – applying ice to life. I sense that here also, in the stacking of snow people, in the stacking of words, in every star and rainbow, because you are creating either way and love is always enough. It swirls and shines in all you write. <3

    • You’re right…we cannot be foreigners in our own land. Thank you for the reminder. I needed it. Your response to my writing is a gift.