I’m meeting with my web guru tomorrow to move all of this blog to the new website and to conquer the world of MailChimp so that newsletters from me can at last re-commence. In the meantime, in this week between, I’m reposting a few Facebook thoughts for those of you who aren’t there.
I have mostly been baking and delivering apple butter today but have spent enough time here to feel the sense of some folks being overwhelmed by the season, awash in personal and cultural grief, trying to claw some joy from this season of returning light. I sat at my altar at mid-day, simply sat with a single candle burning. I counted from ten to one in Gaeilge, to see if I could. Then I dreamed a bit. In that dream, you were heavy but resilient. You were working to ground and to keep yourself and those you love shielded. You were paging through a seed catalogue and making a list. You were smiling, though the world holds chaos. You were confident, even as you kenned that the challenges would continue into the “new” year. You were strong, and loving, and whole. You were ready. We are ready. Let us together weave this new world, even as we midwife the old one through its transition.
In spite of the dour pronouncement of the “meteorologist” who is dressed like a sex worker, many of us don’t consider the Winter Solstice to be the beginning of Winter. Since Winter started for us at Samhaintide, we are looking at Midwinter. Just so’s you know.
Of course, I am contemplating the Wren Boys of Boxing Day and I am wondering what Wren Women would get up to. Thinking, thinking…obviously today, this Wren Woman is going to be sewing a shroud. But in 2016, when the Wren Women take to the high roads and by-roads, what shall we be doing?
I insist on six more weeks of luxurious endarkenment. I’m not coming out of my cave until Imbolc.
Here in this blustery day, sit in silence for a few minutes (if you can) and listen to your breath. Let the wind spin the hamster-thoughts from your head and down the road. There is sorrow in the world, in your world. There is fury there, too. But this old Earth has seen so much violence and fury and sorrow. For today, I invite you to let it go and focus on the small and tangible graces before you. As Oriana proposed yesterday, practice kindness. Kindness to the Stranger. Kindness to the Other. Kindness to your Family, especially the ones who misunderstand and disrespect you. Kindness to the Earth. And give the Divines a break. For today, do your work, do it well, sleep the sleep of the just.
Last night, in celebration of homeliness, I sat in a comfy chair, with a good light shining over my left shoulder and I read a book. The first chapter of “Linnets and Valerians” to be exact. There was some soft old jazz on the radio. The house was quiet.
I worked for about fifteen years in a bookshop. Those of you who are avid readers may think that is a dream job and in many ways it was. But not in the way you might think. It made me stop reading for pleasure.
I taught myself to speed-read many of the new arrivals so that I could give our customers a sense of what they were getting. They trusted us to steer them towards books they’d like and away from ones that weren’t to their taste. They knew we knew what they liked, our regular customers. And we did.
It started with fiction. I found I couldn’t read it for fun, not even authors I really liked. Non-fiction was safe for a while because most of our customers were looking for recommendations on fiction. But after a decade, all reading was work. I could write reviews–good and thorough reviews–quickly and efficiently, though I had spent little time with what makes reading a book an experience of beauty and power.
I haven’t worked in the shop since 2012 and I easily got back my ability to read non-fiction. It helps in my own work, of course, so I enjoy it as well as benefitting from ingesting the materials.
So my homely goal for now is to re-learn the pleasure of reading a good story, of getting lost in strong characters that become people I know.
Soft jazz, a good light, a well-loved old book-friend. I think I can do this.
homely—simple, but cozy and comfortable, as in one’s own home; simple and unpretentious (Oxford Dictionary), plain or ordinary, but pleasant
I have returned home from nearly a week away, not entirely unpacked, looking forward to routine reasserting itself in the morning. The satisfying click of the electric kettle means there will soon be a cuppa nettle tea, and a shortbread cookie. The thought of sleeping in my own bed tonight holds me in thrall as I mark the hours until bedtime.
My mail—yes, we still get mail hereabouts—held two cards from friends, a book that was expected and a small sturdy box that holds black drawing salve from a colleague in Missouri.
Sometimes I feign confusion on complicated social or political issues by stating flatly—I’m a simple country woman. I am going to spend some time reveling in that as Winter spreads Her wings over us and the dear land. I will do some sampling of new things as I return to old neglected favorites like spinning, canning, learning Gaeilge, playing the fiddle badly, painting with watercolor paints
I am going to live and celebrate quite a homely life for these few weeks. A life simply and joyfully lived.
Here are some words I am considering, in addition to “homely”:
A book to consider reading is Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge. Call you local bookshop and surprise them by ordering it. Also, A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. They’ll have that one in stock for the holidays.
A review of L & V
What if you chose to be proactive in this Tower Time of ours? What if we–each of us–simply said, enough is enough? There’s a truism in the non-profit world about tackling a big, complicated problem–“how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Let’s take a bite, together, to secure our resilience in these chaotic times. A tiny step into freedom from fear, a wee dance-step into the circle we all long to create. Today, right now, I am going to my altar (in the middle of the day!) and am saying a word or two to Themselves. Time to fly, sisters and brothers. We have been too long looking down, fearing the day. We don’t have time to dillydally or fret about things we can’t fix. Time to figure out what needs fixing and see if we have the tools to do it. I suspect we do. Shall we?