Pausing to Rest


As I tipped the trash bag into the hopper and let the lid fall, I paused on my shuffle back to the house over the icy drive and just stood still. I let the silence of the winter night, the temperature rapidly dropping, settle over me and just…rested in it for a long moment.

Have you ever listened to the world freeze over? I did. I could hear the creak of branches under the weight of the freezing snow and the muted boom of expanding ice birthing cracks and potential potholes in the streets. My eyelashes sparkled with shimmering snowflakes that fluttered to spangle the black of my sweater as they swirled and winked in the arc of light cast by the fixture beside the backdoor.

I remembered a night similar to this, almost twenty years ago, when I tripped merrily home from a campus formal. I recalled the dusting of snow on the sidewalk glinting like fairy dust under my feet and the hem of my gown in the blue moonlight and how beautiful I felt in that moment. Smiling at the memory, I just stood there, drinking the peace of a winter night, its stillness, its deep, slow breathing, and its call to rest.

Then the single-digit-chill wind decided I needed a nudge back to reality and gusted up to cajole me on into the house. “Before the cold catches up to you…” it seemed to whisper, dusting one last sparkle of snowflakes over me before I turned to go inside.

A moment’s rest can be just what you need, especially when it leaves you with a pleasant little shiver.

The Work of the Dark


“Winter reminds us that everyone and everything needs some quiet time.” – Katrina Mayer

Tonight will be the longest night of the year. The long dark while the world makes its turn and tilt towards the light again. Winterdark. I always feel as though I want to mark this night, the beginning of Winter but, at the same time, the eventual advent of Spring and green and warmth. I have no Yule log, my greenery isn’t real. How can I mark the beginning of Winterdark? Moreover, some might ask, why would I want to?

I want to because there is work to be done in the dark, in the cold, and in the barrenness that Winter brings. I have been reading a great deal about the work of Winter. The need for the silence, the stillness, and the bleakness of the season. As a woman raised in perpetual light (ie, the Caribbean) for the first half of my life, this weighs heaviest on me about Winter of all its traits: the darkness. Rising in the dark, driving to work in the dark, being inside during whatever wan light comes during the day, and then, if I stay too late, driving home in the darkness once again. It is often very hard to think of that darkness, that silence, that bleakness as necessary, never mind thinking of it as good. But it is good. 

Just like the trees, the grass, and other plants, we need a pause in life. Growth cannot be continuous; rest is needed. Winterdark is a time for slowing, for pausing, for quieting down. Life doesn’t stop, of course, no. Not at all, but the long dark can remind us of our need for slowness, for catching our breath, and letting our pulse relax for a bit. I am not the best at slowing, pausing, and resting. The past few weeks have been a flurry of must-do’s in order to finish the school semester and all that comes with it before I left the building yesterday. And then there was the Christmas and birthday prep and officially moving my daughter into her new room upstairs. No…I don’t do “slowing down” very well. But I want to.

This Winter, I want to re-learn how to rest and how to embrace the slow and the quiet. I want to learn the work of Winter, the work of the dark, and the restorative properties of dormancy. I want to re-learn quiet. I want to re-learn care. I want to re-learn peace. Beginning tonight with Winterdark, I want to reclaim this season.

Tonight, after the bustle of the day, I will sit, bundled and warm, with husband, mother, and daughter. Then, later, with book and journal and pen. I will sit in the glow of my Christmas tree when the house is finally calm and quiet. I will reclaim and embrace silence and stillness, the work of Winter and the long dark as they begin.

Will you join me?


Moments in Magical Modernity: V


V.

Winter can be hard on beings who draw their power from the warmer aspects of Nature but many have developed coping mechanisms akin to those who deal with SAD. Dryads’ homes are often filled with warm light and UV lamps/bulbs to help warm them through the months. The satyr-run brewery has daily specials on warm, sit-in-your-belly meads and ales throughout the entirety of the winter season. And the Hollow keeps its summer-stoke fireplace going constantly; you’ll even see some dryads start to blossom under its enchanted light.

The world needs Winter, Nature its rest, and, with it, Winter brings its own particular brand of Magic. Frostlings and winterbroods make sure the sidewalks stay safe and those who work at the local DOT make sure roads stay passable and clear with a little charm here and a special mixture there  (not salt, though. We did away with that a long time ago. Too corrosive and harmful.) They do not tamper with the Weather itself but rather merely mitigate its results. Ponds freeze solid for skating. There’s an extra diamine shimmer on the morning and moonlit snowfalls, courtesy of local creative frost fairies. Holiday pictures taken out of doors are always perfect if set up/arranged ahead of time. Snowflakes stay frozen in mittened hands long enough for their myriad shapes to be inspected. Sleds whoosh along only to avoid obstacles and thunk safely into snowbanks. Fairies’ wings sparkle with snowdust, that subtle, delicate shimmer that is all but undetectable without the sun filtering through the sky just so on an icy day.

macro-snowflake

Jessamin, the frost fairy barista, always perks up immensely and helps Kingsley whip up all kinds of wintry treats and special drinks for the Hollow. A favorite is the Winter Apple—a spiced cider that starts warm and then, at some point between tongue and tummy, gives you the most delicious sweetness of a late fall apple just touched through with frosty cold. You can positively see the bright red of the apple glowing beneath its icy dusting.

In the winter, Sophie always comes around more often and stays for longer despite her always-busy schedule, basking in the hominess of the Hollow and its rejuvenating warmth. Humans like her linger longer over their coffees and pastries, slowing down a bit from the frenzy of life. They seem to take in more, feel like they notice and think more. In Winter, the world grows slower, steadier, for human and magical being alike. But Winter is not without its own brand of Magic, if one will simply slow down with it enough to see its beauty.

 

4205264702_0d21daf7bc_z

The Truth on Earth, Not in the Air


It’s April and it smells like Christmas outside. It’s that cold, shimmering scent, one that promises things to come. I suppose, in that sense, Christmas and spring are similar in nature. Almost like the world is holding its breath, waiting for something. The air is cold and crisp, too much so for April for my tastes, but this is Indiana, after all. The grass is green, the trees are starting to shed their buds and press forth with leaves, albeit reluctantly, and so nature assures us of what the weather would belie:

Winter is done.

Spring is coming.

1001-1239501702fh1t

Winter Whispers 


The world is feathering around me, turning my cozy home into a silent scene in a snow globe. The frost frames the window pane, turning it into an artistic trope. The wind has plastered the sides of my little cottage in snow, and I can still see the trees outside tremble in its icy grip. The cold has become absolute, bespoken by its aura radiating from the panes like a pulse. 

Winter has arrived properly enough, fluffed its feathers, and settled in for its stay. Just how long it will sit upon the nest of the earth remains to be seen.  

Winter Whispers


cute-girl-hai-snow-winter-Favim.com-355943Stepping outside, her feet meet diamonds on the sidewalk, the snowglobe world silently having been turned upside down as she had worked. The turn seems to have met its zenith as the flakes fall fast and thick and heavy. The stark white feathers flutter against her eyelashes and brush her cheeks cunningly, leaving a flushing pink behind as warmth rushes up to her skin after their cold kisses. Pulling her scarf tight, she glances up at the slate-grey sky, which just seems to smile at her in the form of a cold breeze lifting the curls of her hair for a brief moment, and a few snowy zephyrs leap up from the thickening drifts to play and nip at her ankles as she starts to make her way home. But she deviates today, her feet carrying her from path to park; such an even as the first snow deserves the respect of observation. Soon, her steps go from diamond-dusted to a pleasant crunch not unlike that first bite into perfect gingerbread. The wind flirts saucily with the hem of her coat and that of her skirtsnowy legs underneath it, caressing her legs with frosty fingers as though whispering her own beatuy back to her.

The world seems to grow quieter amidst the silence of the snowfall, the flakes interlocking their unique lattices together to form heavy white carpet that softens the cacaphony of the world. The hum and buzz and bustle seem to fall away, dampened by wintry ethereality, as if they cannot bear to disrupt such a transformation. A transformation that borders on the divine, with her as its single witness.

She has always loved winter, the long sleep of nature. Everything must take its rest, even the world itself in its turn. She loves the promise that lies in bare branches and blanched grass, to imagine what nature has in store for its next act in her lifetime. Even more so than that, winter teaches her to revel in the what is and the now. In this moment, not the looking forward or the glancing behind.

And so she walks in snowy footsteps, the world gone silent around and above her. Winter recognizes Her worshipper, a lady of Her court, and sends icy diamonds to adorn her hair and cloak her shoulders for this, the overture to Winter’s first whisper.

girl-in-the-snow

Nightlight Snowfall


I wish I could show you the snow from my window. Few things are as beautiful to me as a nighttime snowfall.The flakes are big and fat, kissing the window-pane as I sit on the other side.They shake, shiver, and fall in the purple-white glow of the street light across the street, like feathers shaken loose from a heavenly pillow. Silent, it covers the world like softest blanket, greeting morning light with airy brightness. It is peace personified, and so, for a moment, I sit and watch.