Monthly Archives: January 2013

the journey

I checked the almanac yesterday and realized that soon it will be Groundhog’s Day. I can’t seem to overcome this feeling anxiety caused by the rapidness of life. Wasn’t it just Christmas?
I love this time of year – this little pocket of time that is a teaser to spring, at least down here in the Deep South. First, there is Groundhog’s Day and then Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day capped off with St Patrick’s Day. I suppose I am fond of these days because the retailers haven’t yet found too many ways to commercialize them – they are certainly working on it but it’s still in moderation.
I, as I have mentioned before, had a wonderful mother and one of the wondrous things about her was her earthiness – her ability and desire to make do and to create from found objects. Preparing for a holiday was never about a trip to Hobby Lobby – it was a scavenger hunt through seldom used drawers and cupboards and a possible trip through the woods – gathering things to create. I try to remember the “things” she made but I cannot – I just remember the journey.
 In saying that, I think of the money spent on all of those “things” (made in China) that serve little purpose because there was no journey attached to them. It is cliché to write about the “journey” – like most things in our culture, it has become a catch phrase and becoming quickly overused and abused but I dare to use it here, for I speak of the physical journey – the walks through the woods, the rummaging through the house and never, the trip to town. I place so much value in that example – I regret to say that I have not always followed in her conservative footsteps but I have never forgotten the lesson and I use this post to share it with you.Perhaps it will motivate you to think more of your natural resources and to tap into your creativity – it’s there for you to enjoy and share. 

The Full Wolf Moon will rise this Saturday night and this cold and unhurried month of January will end soon after. The almanac is forecasting a chilly start to February in my area and as uncomfortable as cold weather is, it has purpose.
b u
p s

an opportunity

It seems January is having its way with the country this year. I can’t recall being “housed in” for this long.I am trying to make good use of this time away from the garden, away from the lawnmower and all the outside things that take my time in summer. I have become reacquainted with my inside space and at the beginning of this hibernation period, I was a bit overwhelmed – so much was out of sorts (I may have mentioned, on occasion, the little cobwebs that have taken residence here while I was not looking).

But then, I managed to see it for what it was, a winter wonderland of piddling when I’m restless and carrying my broom around sweeping here and there and stopping to piddle some more, and time in the kitchen to sort bowls and dishes and go through my spice cabinet to replace and sometimes, discard – all of this while a winter soup is on the stove and a fire is keeping the kitchen warm and me company.

 
Anyway, when I put all of that “confusion” and disorder in this amber light of hearth and home, my anxiety disappears and my attitude became something more palatable – it became an opportunity to nest. I don’t have a hit list or any lofty expectations – just time spent wandering around in here landing in an interesting corner and tidying up a bit, while Mother Nature makes her wintery mess outside – a muddle of twigs and branches and decay I will happily tend to this spring as I leave the indoors to fend for itself until winter arrives once again.

 

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.

Edith Sitwell

b u
p s

It’s somewhat of an odd morning to go along with this odd week – a week of extreme weather and breaks from routine. While I certainly loved the break, the darkness outside is seeping inside! I need the sunshine.

I ran through some older posts, specifically some winter posts just to remind myself what was going on a few years earlier. I found something from February of 2009 that I thought might be good to repost in this dark nest of winter. It is something from Dr. Weil – someone I have followed for a long time and love to quote from. Anyway, perhaps it is something you might enjoy on the mid-January day. I suppose it could be viewed as bit cliché and possibly overdone diction but then again, what could ever be wrong with reading something positive.

 

Creating a Sanctuary – Dr. Andrew Weil

Your home – whether big, small, or somewhere in between – should be your sanctuary, a place where stress is left at the door and your soul is nurtured. For a more comforting environment, gradually implement the following changes into your home:

      Bring the outdoors in. Cut flowers and blooming bulbs, or pieces of wood, rocks and other natural elements can create a feeling of nature indoors.

      Bring green plants into your home, especially varieties that filter indoor pollutants. According to the Foliage for Clean Air Council, these include Gerbera daisies, Boston ferns, English ivy, chrysanthemums, Areca palms, spider plants and golden pothos. The Council recommends having two plants for every 100 square feet.

      Paint a room to correlate with how you want to feel while in that room. For instance, blue and green promote a relaxed feeling and may be good for the bedroom.

      Surround your senses with beauty. Artwork, fragrance, smooth textures and calming sounds all provide a pleasant environment in which to relax.

      Set aside a room or area for peace and calm. A place for spiritual reflection and meditation can provide shelter from noise and distraction.

      Clean out the clutter. A low-maintenance home is refreshing after a day of hectic meetings, errands and chores. Fewer items can mean less frustration.

      Create an atmosphere of love. Display handmade or meaningful gifts from loved ones and photos of family and friends.

      Allow natural light to flow into your home. To take advantage of the sun’s cycle without heating up your home, hang linen curtains (organic cotton, if possible) on windows that face north or south. If you have a nice garden or view from a window or two, keep those windows uncovered as much as possible when you are home. Read a book instead of watching television, or listen to music. If you desire or enjoy background noise, consider installing a small fountain to provide a soothing hum.

 

Hope there’s something here that might inspire you to brighten your winter day.

 

 

And this I post because I like it – a lot!

“My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.”

Pablo Picasso

winter

 
I drug the Christmas tree to the burning pile this morning.It is a guilty pleasure I suppose, to burn my very dead tree, but I recycle so much I need more than my allotted one roadside can and I compost nearly everything so, I burn my tree. I will sit there on a winter afternoon in January and I watch the fire while giving it a fond farewell. Anyway, along the way to its final resting place icicles fell from its branches. They are  there in the winter grass and I know, that this spring, when I cut the grass these fragments of this Christmas’ adornments will catch the light of the warm spring sun and glisten; I will see them and think of now. I will remember this Christmas. So, I leave them where they are and I say adieu to this holiday season and a fond farewell to the tree that occupied a special place our home for a while. 

 
I have not been outside in a few days so I explored a bit to see what winter had done. It has brought visitors from the North – small warblers camouflaged in the winter grass that seem to make the ground move as they do, it was enchanting to see them once again. And the starkness of the woods helped me to see through and be thankful for the lushness of summer but enjoying this moment to “look within”. The rabbits are there hiding in their holes and now and then darting about looking for food, sometimes I see their backsides – their cottontails – bounding about and I naturally think of Peter! And the raccoons come out at night, looking for food and threatening the smaller animals, I know that because of my diminished chicken population (sometimes I forget to close the door to the coop). Winter is challenging for animals and people.
I did find more camellias near the woods. I thought they were over by now but there are some left – almost a revitalization. Anyway, I picked a few for inside and one smaller one especially to sit in a Christmas present, a tiny pot Elizabeth made for me in her pottery class, one of my most treasured Christmas gifts. Even in winter there is beauty to bring inside.
LSU 1974
I suppose that is what I’m trying to say with this post, trying to remind you how each season has its purpose and its beauty – just as each season of our lives has its. Like spring and summer, our beauty and purpose is very much apparent in our youth but as we continue, like winter, the landscape becomes a bit more puzzling and our purpose must be redefined. As an art student I painted old, weathered faces – I had a fascination with and regard for the miles of life that were evident – years and years of wisdom, wisdom that needed a place to be. We all have purpose always, in each season of our lives. Just like the woods in winter, as time goes on, time gives us more opportunity to look within and redefine.
 Read the poem beneath and the first time you read it, think of it literally, think of the seasons, and them read it again and think of it figuratively and substitute the seasons of nature for the seasons of your life…
 
There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.Ruth Stout
 
 
b u
p s

 

I drug the Christmas tree to the burning pile this morning.  It is a guilty pleasure I suppose, to burn my very dead tree, but I recycle so much I need more than my allotted one roadside can and I compost nearly everything so, I burn my tree. I will sit there on a winter afternoon in January and I watch the fire while giving it a fond farewell. Anyway, along the way to its final resting place icicles fell from its branches. They are now there in the winter grass and I know, that this spring, when I cut the grass these fragments of this Christmas’ adornments will catch the light of the warm spring sun and glisten; I will see them and think of now. I will remember this Christmas. So, I leave them where they are and I say adieu to this holiday season and a fond farewell to the tree that occupied a special place our home for a while.

 I have not been outside in a few days so I explored a bit to see what winter had done. It has brought visitors from the North – small warblers camouflaged in the winter grass that seem to make the ground move as they do,  it was enchanting to see them once again. And the starkness of the woods helped me to see through and be thankful for the lushness of summer but enjoying this moment to “look within”. The rabbits are there hiding in their holes and now and then darting about looking for food, sometimes I see their backsides – their cottontails – bounding about and I naturally think of Peter! And the raccoons come out at night, looking for food and threatening the smaller animals, I know that because of my diminished chicken population (sometimes I forget to close the door to the coop). Winter is challenging for animals and people.

  I did find more camellias near the woods. I thought they were over by now but there are some left – almost a revitalization. Anyway, I picked a few for inside and one smaller one especially to sit in a Christmas present, a tiny pot Elizabeth made for me in her pottery class, one of my most treasured Christmas gifts. Even in winter there is beauty to bring inside.

 I suppose that is what I’m trying to say with this post, trying to remind you how each season has its purpose and its beauty – just as each season of our lives has its. Our beauty and purpose is very much apparent in our youth but as we continue, like winter, the landscape becomes a bit more puzzling and our purpose must be redefined. As an art student I painted old, weathered faces – I had a fascination with and regard for the miles of life that were evident  – years and years of wisdom, wisdom that needed a place to be. We all have purpose always, in each season of our lives. Just like the woods in winter, as time goes on, time gives us more opportunity to look within and redefine. Read the poem beneath and the first time you read it, think of it literally, think of the seasons, and them read it again and think of it figuratively and substitute the seasons of nature for the seasons of your life…

There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.  Ruth Stout