This winter has been a harsh one thus far, to say the least. Rather than resist it, the best tactic for coping might in fact be facing it head on. Provided that February 2 does not fall into dangerous windchill temps in your neck of the woods, I recommend a meditation by skiing. Cross-country, that is. I will never forget the Saturday afternoon back in high school that I cross-country skied to my best friend's house across a barren cornfield. The weather conditions were ideal. The sun was out and making the snow on the ground glisten. It was warm enough that I could eventually unbutton my long overcoat. I was listening to Pink Floyd's, "Dark Side of the Moon," on my walkman. If that dates me, I don't care. The experience was paradisiacal.
Rufus, the shih tzu puppy, was so excited he could barely keep still. Even though he tried to stay calm, his tail seemed to have a mind of its own. It wagged furiously as he danced around and around Mama's legs.
“OK, little boy, settle down,” she said, as she read over again the piece of paper in her hand.
I'm currently getting into the Yule spirit by reading a new Llewellyn title. The book The Old Magic of Christmas by Linda Raedisch is a collection of Christmas traditions that many of us may not be familiar with. Creatures such as elves, gnomes, and werewolves roam the wintry landscape and leap off the pages. Goddesses and witches also make appearances, which has helped me to look at the Christmas season in a new light.
Yes, this book focuses on historical Christmas traditions, but Raedisch posits that many of these traditions and tales have their origin in Europe's pre-Christian past. I'm inclined to agree. This book really does explore the "old magic" of the season. For instance, there is an interesting tension between the feminine aspect of death and birth in many of the folk customs that are described. Much like the traditional Halloween, there is the juxtaposition of the crone witch with the young woman who tries her hand at fortunetelling for fertility, luck, and husband-seeking.
The deciduous trees stand, bare and apparently lifeless through the winter months. The popular take on this, is that they are sleeping. It is a perspective which depends on paying no attention or thought to what the trees are really doing. Those bare branches are a misleading focus.
As the darkness approaches, I find myself thinking more and more about courage. What is courage? Personally, I think courage is so subjective – there is no one definition that would suit everyone. Yet I shall give it a go in any case.
The dictionary defines courage as: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. I would posit that courage is the quality of mind/spirit that enables a person to face difficulties, etc in spite of fear. It is just not true that the brave know no fear – I believe that they simply get on with it. There is no such thing as a fearless person, unless that person has not the mental capacity for it, having suffered physical brain or emotional trauma.
Often when I sit down to draw or paint, I don’t have a preconceived plan. I just want to start putting something down on the paper; maybe a few lines with a pencil, maybe just wild strokes of color.
This time, though I had something specific in mind. In fact, I’ve had it in mind for a while now. I’ve even made a few attempts in recent weeks, but each time there has been a disconnect between my head and my hand. I want to portray the Goddess in winter, but instead I keep filling my paper with the hot and bright colors of summer.
As I sit here, writing this, the rain taps at the window, the wind howling down the street, carrying with it the scent of winter and the first of the autumn leaves. The sky is fast moving and furious – low dark grey clouds set amidst a backdrop of pure white/grey.The central heating has been turned on.The apples are juicy on the trees.The starlings are flocking together. Welcome, Autumn.
My favourite season – as you may have guessed. From bright, sunny days where the sun shows the last of its strength, to watery, wind-filled days like these, it is a season of change like no other.Quick, altogether too quickly, it is over, at least the Fall is, when the leaves change and drop to the ground.After that, it seems Winter is here – only allowing Autumn a brief time of grace to shine in her beauty before all is blanketed under the dreamy cold slumber of Winter.