I know this sounds odd, but I feel I have completely missed winter. We have had an unusually mild winter here in the midwest. That fact along with a very busy schedule (holidays, travel, and the hours upon hours preparing for each, not to mention work men galore), have left me out of balance and out of sorts. I love the dark, gray sky and howling winds of January. They speak to me of candles and fires, cups of tea and long hours of contemplation and stacks of books to read. Time to hibernate and a built~in excuse to do so.
The sun shines it's light into every nook and cranny and illuminates the shadows, demanding projects and activity and schedules and to~do lists. Day light savings time brings a smile to most faces. Not mine. Dusky evenings and a morning slow to open are much more in tune with my inner workings.
Hopefully we have a few more dreary, gray days to come. Days I will cherish and use to full advantage with a calendar wiped clean of commitments and pot of tea to keep me company. Then I will be able to greet Spring with the appropriate grateful attitude that is due her sun~filled, breezy days.
The tree is down and my Kuan Yin fountain has again taken up residence. There's lots of Christmas still about but getting the tree down is always the first milestone. It is sad to see it go and yet we would not be as enchanted with it if we had more time together. Such is life.
My husband, son and I saw War Horse last evening. I cried through the entire movie. I went to bed with a headache from the weeping and it still lingers long into the afternoon. Such is life.
I was reading one of my favorite books for the umpteenth time this morning and the following except jumped from the page.
It is a gray and rainy day in Chicago. The house is full of workers and tarps. The perfect excuse to put off any further Christmas decorating. I do NOT want to fall down the stairs with my ankles tangled in painters cloths and broken family treasures strewn about. A perfect day for a cup of tea cozied up by the fire with candles flickering and piles and piles of favorite books. Thank you God!
I am officially on holiday. My family members and various assorted friends are off to LA for six days and I have the luxury of doing exactly as I please. Last summer was my first experience of solitude in over 25 years. I thought I would enjoy it, embrace it, and luxurate in it. I was sadly mistaken. Lots of emotions bubbled to the surface and demanded their day in the sun.
This year seems very different. Of course the difference may just be six days versus two weeks, but the shock of last years "vacation" has led me to be a little more open to whatever chooses to come my way.
So far, so good. I have a pile of books to read and I have already finished three! Staying up into the wee hours of the morning doesn't worry me when I can sleep in and I have no one to bother about my fussy mood. Of course this is fun because it is a novelty. As much as I crave silence and solitude, I wouldn't trade one second of my noisy, crazy bunch.......and I miss them already!
I haven't had much time for art as of late. I learned a long time ago what I need to feel content in my life and that is plenty of time to focus on the things at hand, each in its' own season. I did have a long Saturday afternoon to myself a few weeks ago and I decided to bite the bullet and glue some of my precious antique papers into a journal. The thought of glueing them into "art" or "journal pages" was still much too scarey for me but a beautiful hand made journal was just the right place to start. I am not ready to add much paint or ink yet, but slowly, one step at a time, I will reach beyond my comfort zone.
I am constantly intrigued and often delighted by the intricate way our challenges and lessons are woven into even the most seemingly inconsequential nooks of our everyday lives.
This week has been filled with many reminders to slow down and smell the roses. My tree went out yet again. I didn't over react but I did feel like burying my head in my hands and having a good cry. It was the cord again and I spent much of Monday running from store to store trying to find another. I didn't think to buy extra when this happened a few weeks ago. At least I did not ignore that small voice in my head warning me to "buy an extra". I didn't hear the voice at all. Too much noise I guess.
My radio engineer gave me a few suggestions and they worked. The fuse was blown on the cord. Since I had bought three new ones this time, I had lots of extra fuses and the fix was easy.......no ornaments had to be removed! A glittering, twinkling tree sits in our family room once a again. And I learned a thing or two about electricity and fuses.
A deep breath was needed again a few moments later as the huge and heavy shelf in our antique armoire crashed under the weight of books, Santas and nutcrackers. I wiggled out of that one to find a crack snaking it's merry way up the large window over our kitchen sink. I really had to giggle. Mercury Retrograde has usually been quite gentle with me as I try to heed the call for taking things slow and easy as much as possible. But there are always more opportunities to return to our journey and remember our purpose. If we dare to think we have "arrived" we are kindly greeted with lessons galore and lots more room for practice. As I cuddled deep into my cozy warm bed last night, at last alone with my beloved books, the words of Michael Meade lulled me into dream-time.
Yet in the dark times,
recycling and reweaving, remembering and recreating
become more valuable than
simplistic beliefs in perfection,
endless progress and pointless growth.
Thank you Mercury Retrograde, thank you for your timely message.
This is a collage I made with the scraps that were left on my work table. The top of a bottle of wine, a piece of french text and two torn scraps of papers in exactly the shape I found them patiently awaiting their next mission. Most probably, the waste basket. The background is in itself "scrap" paper. It was a discard used to clean my paint brush. We who are afflicted with the love of papers of all sorts may not find this out of the ordinary in any way but many of my "normal" friends are quite puzzled with the kind of "waste" I collect on a daily basis. Who's to say what is worthy of keeping and what is not? We are each our own master in those respects.
In my morning meditations and readings I found this little gem who's gentle grace will color the rest of my day, (with lots of practice, of course):
What if we set out every morning with curiosity,
with the intention to notice
as many opportunities as possible?
Would it not be like reading the world
as a holy book~a Lectio Divina of sorts,
that ancient practice of spiritual reading?
Every day we could be pouring over
the unfolding of new and possible worlds.
There are innumerable, small opportunities
to be helpful, attentive or kind.
Taking up these opportunities,
would we not come to know that we are
a living part of the infinite story?
A living part of the infinite story. Could a simple life be much grander than that? "Scraps" and all. Each a necessary part of the whole.