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?