Monday, November 29, 2010

Stillness: Red, green and sparkle

by June
One of the reasons we ended up in Maine was winter. The snow fell, and it fell deeply, and a body had no choice but to huddle inside by the fire between bracing forays to haul in firewood or to ski through the fragrant woods.

 For me, winter was time to quiet down and think. It was time to read, time to create.

It's not that it doesn't snow anymore. It does. But for the past few years, winter hasn't tiptoed in around Thanksgiving with a deep, hushed snowfall that transforms the landscape for a whole season. The snows do eventually come—but often with sleet or ice or rain. Then it all melts. Going out for firewood, even in February, we track mud into the house.

As long as the ground remains bare, the gardener in me feels compelled to keep tending our ambitions for our place. But I'm worn out. At Thanksgiving dinner, I heard myself going on and on and on about how all I wanted to do over the long weekend was read. Julia Glass's new novel, The Widower's Tale, was practically glowing on my nightstand, and all I could think about was curling up with it.

But it never happened. 

Instead, I laid out the new orchard and hauled compost to prepare the ground for the new trees. I added more mulch to the blueberry plants. I cleared some brush. It's all good work. Yet I long for the good work that comes of growing still and listening to the thoughts that whisper around the sound of the crackling fire.

That book is still waiting for me. And even as we hurtle into the season of merrymaking (emphasis on making), I am promising myself a gift of stillness—whether the snows come or not.

What are you promising yourself this season?


J.G. said...

More time reading, just like you! I love the "excuse" to stay in that winter offers. If it wasn't for New Hampshire snows a few years back, all my photos would still be in boxes.

The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Put me down on the reading list too. I have a PILE of them by my bedside (don't even ask about the magazines! Oy!). I did start The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and I'm loving it but by 10pm I'm falling asleep with it on my chest every night. I have a few days off coming up, but I've got so many crafts to finish up that I doubt I'll have time to do much reading. Here's hoping for a snow-in!!

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I think stillness, a good book, and a cozy fire sound perfect at the moment. I'm looking forward to that, but have a few chores out of doors to tend to first. I hope we can both find some calm and quiet over the holiday season.

Amanda said...

Ooh, I love Julia Glass - will have to look out for that one!

You definitely need to make that time to read and sit. Otherwise bodies have a nasty habit of getting sick and forcing you to...

meemsnyc said...

I've been trying to get everything done before our first snow. Race against time. Those ice crystals look cool on the buds.

Stone Art's Blog said...

Lovely photos

Commonweeder said...

I also long for the stillness of winter on our hill, but I am planning to do more writing. In the meantime I hope you'll visit me where I am having a celebratory Giveaway.

Jennifer said...

It is barely December and I long for the warmth of summer! ;-) Loved the photos they are truly beautiful!

Kris said...

Old man winter waved at us in passing a couple of times in November, then moved in lock stock and barrel on December 1st. Though I have a good supply of both firewood and books (a great combination), I'm still in outdoor withdrawal, too antsy to settle down for quieter winter pursuits yet. So I pace - stare out at the gardens - and feel like an uncomfortable visitor in my own house.

Tom @ Tall Clover Farm said...

Fine, fine photos June, perfect for my coffee break and my pondering of to-dos. Your photos are for my to-enjoy list. Happy New Year from the Pacific Northwest!

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