In Contemplation of 2017

Winter vacation is over, and we are slowly starting to get back to our normal day-to-day. The remaining holiday decorations have come down (save for the door wreath – I usually leave that up a while longer). Cleaning and cleansing of the house, while planned for earlier in the month have been a bit of a slog. I guess the blahs are stronger this year than I had previously assumed. There are still a few things to do before I pull out the smudge.

In my mind, I feel like I’m juggling a hundred paths forward, with no idea which ones to choose to follow. New adventures, both physical and spiritual are on the horizon for me. This new blog is likely where I will be keeping my free thoughts, crafts, and practises. The old blog is being retired after a long, and fruitful run.

Over the holidays, I received the unexpected gift of a Casio keyboard, so after years of wishing and wanting, I am finally learning to play piano (or “keys” if you prefer). It’s going well, so far. I think I have an aptitude for it, so long as my achy arthritic fingers want to cooperate.

The practical life of a mom resumes, slow and steady. After a month of cookies, goodies, and snacks, I feel like I’m re-learing how to cook nutritious meals. The kid is back in school, and I’m trying to fit errands around a strange mid-day class time while still finding the energy to be up and awake past 6pm.

I always have the urge to add more to my plate than I really need – things like a new fitness regime or a new diet are all very popular resolutions for the new year. I have decided not to do that this year. I walk the kid to school every day, and I hope to hit the treadmill at least once on the weekends (if we don’t end up going anywhere), but aside from that, I am keeping with a moderation diet. Eat what makes me feel good. Eat as much as I need to satisfy my hunger – no more, no less. Get out in the sunshine. Meditate. Smile more. Enjoy life outside of the computer screen.

I am considering a blog challenge to help fill things out a bit here. I haven’t decided whether I will do that or not yet. I am sure that I will have plenty to write about without the need for fodder, but some of them can be fun – providing, of course, that the prompts are well thought out and not terribly repetitive.

I’ve also had the urge to finally get moving on creating a Book of Shadows. Funds have always held me back from actually getting started. This year, I think I will be able to manage funding a post-bound leather BOS. It’s something I’ve been wanting for well over ten years. I think I deserve to treat myself to something that is just for me. I always start to balk at large purchases that I can’t say that I need, but I’m not getting younger, and I would like to have the book finished before my kids graduate school.

And then there are the devotional dolls. That has been moving slowly, but forward. I need a quiet day to get started on the sculpt. I think I will get back to that in the next few weeks.

I have also hopped on the adult colouring bandwagon as a way to keep my hands busy without actually doing anything productive. I find it to be deeply satisfying. I think I have spent far too long with the ‘Monetizing Your Hobbies’ monkey on my back. I hate it, and I am falling in love with doing something that can’t possibly make any money. There is a divine thrill to doing something that really is just for me. This is something that I will definitely be doing more of in 2017.

Like many others, I am optimistic about this new year, though that optimism comes with trepidation. I worry for my American friends. Their path will be a rocky one, but I have come to realize that my role is to focus on my own Craft. And be ready. Je suis prĂȘt.

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The Sparkly Season

December has dawned and winter is upon us. I finally got my snow, though you could barely guess looking out the window this morning. Sometimes, I like it that way. It makes the shared experience of early winter snow special since there is no evidence in the light of a crisp clear winter morning to remember the previous day’s soft mauve magic. If you weren’t there to feel the flakes on your nose and eyelashes, then you missed it.

I don’t think I can fully express the uplifting of spirit I felt on Wednesday night when I looked out the window to see that it was finally snowing. All the stress that had been piling up through the month of November just lifted away. I don’t know what it is about the first snows. They just make the world seem so magical. That greyish pink sky, the muffled quiet that no one dare break – hot drinks and shy smiles, people huddled in front of fireplaces chatting about nothing of substance – sometimes I think that living in a country like Norway or Iceland would be like having the Sparkly Season all year.

I have been reading up on Iceland, since I hope to vacation there next year – apparently it is quite different from Canada. The description of the differences make me think that it is a country of introverts. From Jolabokaflod (Christmas Book Flood), where people buy up dozens of books to give as gifts for the tradition of spending Christmas eve reading, to the custom of not talking to people when you see that they are out with family or friends (because intruding on their time is considered rude), I think that the hermit in me could be very happy there.

In Norway an entire culture has sprung up around the procuring and burning of firewood. People spend hours searching for the right trees, chopping them down, bringing them home, and creating the firewood piles that will keep their families warm through the long winters. People use the time they spend chopping wood as a sort of meditation and exercise.

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When I was a kid, I hated stacking firewood – well, less the stacking, because the puzzler in me does get a little addicted to that part – it was more the dirtying of my clothes and the slivers. Being an adult whose hands finally do fit into work gloves, and who knows how to dress for that sort of work, I can definitely see the appeal in it. Especially now that I am the proud owner of arthritic shoulders, I think that wood chopping would be a pretty good exercise for me over all. Yet another reason for “wood burning fireplace” to be on my new home wish list.

Winter makes me want to burrow under blankets with a warm cup of something tasty and just snooze and rest until spring. Unfortunately, I have errands to run, and plans to make for the last couple weeks of school, so hibernating will have to wait. Until then, I am going to fill up my cup repeatedly, and wish for more snow.

FIRST!

Like anyone else is going to be writing the first post. This is mostly for layout purposes. It is a bit of a tradition for me that my first post on a new blog contain nothing of substance. Can’t change it now.