Posted in Autumn, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, WeekendCoffeeShare, Winter, Woods

If we were having coffee: Almost the Solstice edition

Winter green.
Winter green.

“Solstice:  from the Latin sol stetit meaning sun stood still.  For six days in the northern hemisphere’s December, the sun ceases its southerly crawl on the horizon and appears to rise and set in almost the same spot.  The ancients watched this quiet drama with drawn breath.  Would the sun begin to move again?  Would the light grow anew on the great wheel of life?  Would life itself continue?

… Since time out of mind humans have marked the externally vital crossing from dark to light.  For the perennial truth is this:  Without the sun, there is no life.  Green plants, those remarkable beings who are able to make their own food out of nothing but the sun’s light, are food for every other being on earth, all of whom, to stay alive, must eat either green plants or other beings who eat green plants.  Though we now light our world with bulbs and take for granted not only the external day but often even our food, we still make of the return of the sun’s light a joyful metaphor for social and personal renewal.”

~ Carolyn McVickar Edwards, The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice

Decorating the woods.
Decorating the woods.

If we were having coffee, tea, or some other beverage, I would be happy to see you again.  Come on in!  Hugs if you’re amenable to them.  Along with the usual assortment of beverages, I also have hot chocolate.  It is a hot chocolate kind of day.  A cold front swept in and replaced the warm, mild temperatures with cold and wind.  They say the winds might gust up to 30 mph today.  Our lows overnight were in the 30’s (20’s expected tonight) and the high’s today are in the mid-40’s.  A big switch from last week’s weather!  It won’t last.  We’ll be back up into the 70’s by Christmas Eve.

Fluffy head.
Fluffy head.

Let’s grab something to drink and settle ourselves in the living room where the wood stove is keeping things warm and toasty.  From there we can watch the trees swaying in the wind and any birds that might show up at the feeders.  Maybe this colder weather will finally bring the birds around.  I put out some snacks for us too, in case you’re feeling peckish.  Cheese, crackers, veggies, hummus, and pita bread.  M is roasting pecans and the first batch should be cool enough to eat soon.  He coats them in a sweet, spicy, and salty mixture of his own devising (I’m pretty sure it involved honey and cayenne pepper), and they are tasty.

More winter greenery. (Kale in the garden.)
More winter greenery. (Kale in the garden.)

How are you?  What have you been up to lately?  Are you ready for any holidays you might be celebrating soon?  Do you have any fun rituals or traditions to go along with those holidays?  Have you traveled anywhere or seen any new sights?  Visited any museums or eaten out at any good restaurants?  Have you taken any good walks or hikes?  Read any good books or watched any good movies?

Beautiful cauliflower.
Beautiful cauliflower.

If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would tell you that M and I are finally utilizing our Netflix subscription once again.  DVD’s have been sitting here waiting to be viewed while we continued to pay for the privilege.  I bet Netflix does a good business that way.  Or used to.  Many people probably stream now.

A coffee chat mandala.
A coffee chat mandala.

We watched The Last Waltz recently.  The film, a recording of the Canadian-American rock group The Band’s farewell concert which they called The Last Waltz, was originally released in 1978.  The DVD (along with a 4-CD box set) came out in 2002.  I was not familiar with The Band (I was more into Motown during their era) although, as it turns out, I recognize a lot of their music.  Their final concert included a lot of special guests (Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, and more) who also contributed to a fabulous concert.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and had a rockin’ good time watching and listening.

Just before sunset yesterday.
Just before sunset yesterday.

One of the things I’ve been doing with our Netflix subscription is occasionally getting a music-related film, either a musical or a filmed concert or a documentary about a musician or group.  I mix it up, from the old to the new.  We’ve watched documentaries about Katy Perry and the White Stripes, concerts by Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Weller, and others I don’t remember at the moment, along with a few musicals here and there.

A sunset visit to the dock (yesterday).
A sunset visit to the dock (yesterday).

As for books, I’m reading Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep.  I’m about half way through.  It will be a fast and entertaining read, as expected.  I haven’t finished Nothing to Grasp, an interesting little book about non-duality and being in the present that I should have finished by now, but I’ve been caught up in the world of fiction and spending some of my spare time drawing and coloring mandalas.  I will pick it up again soon.

A tiny moon in a big sky.
A tiny moon in a big sky.

If we were having coffee, tea, or some other beverage, I would tell you that a deputy from the sheriff’s office came out the other day to put the tree theft on record.  Based on M’s description of it, the deputy valued the tree at $300.  I was gobsmacked yet again (that’s happening a lot over one tree!).  $300 for a Christmas tree!  Maybe I should start growing trees so I can sell them for less.  Who can afford that?  Does it really cost that much to grow a tree?  Or to buy one?  If so, no wonder someone decided to help themselves to one of the trees in our meadow.

Soft and puffy.
Soft and puffy.

If we were having coffee or something else to drink, I would tell you that we had a beautiful sunset yesterday.  The clouds were incredible and beautiful, constantly changing as the cold wind whipped and churned them, tearing the heavy cloud cover apart and leaving wisps behind.  As the clouds moved across the sky, the moon behind them appeared to be racing with them.  It was almost dizzying to look at.

Racing the moon.
Racing the moon.

If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would tell you that we harvested the broccoli and cauliflower yesterday.  There was so much broccoli that we had to freeze a lot of it.  Freezing broccoli always reminds me of my old blog.  One of my most popular posts was Freezing Broccoli.  A few years later I followed that up with this post because people kept searching for how to freeze broccoli without blanching it (the answer to that is no, just NO, you can’t do that).  For those who didn’t know me at the old blog, I used to purchase about 10-15 lbs. of broccoli (for the remarkably low sum of $15-$17) from a farm down the road from us (in northeast Ohio) every year, and then spend 2-3 days blanching and freezing it.  If you’ve never seen 10-15 lbs. of broccoli, it’s a lot.  Enough to see you through the winter and at least half the spring.

We also harvested the broccoli leaves or greens, and had some of those for dinner last night.  In terms of taste, they reminded me a little rapini (or broccoli rabe) without the bitterness and collard greens without the yucky taste and tough texture.  I don’t like collard greens.  I’ve tried them and tried them and tried them, and it’s too bad I can’t acquire a taste for them because they are popular here on the Eastern Shore.

Dipping down behind the trees.
Dipping down behind the trees.

If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would tell you that we saw a rabbit run by this morning while we were eating breakfast.  He was really hauling butt across the front yard.  A few minutes later, a gorgeous red fox came strolling along, taking his time and stopping to enjoy the sun every now and then.  I should have grabbed the camera so I could show him or her to you, but I didn’t think of it.  That’s a good sign, by the way.  There have been periods of time when I’ve been so wrapped up in capturing what I see (or memories) that I failed to be in the moment and just enjoy it.

Beautiful reflections.
Beautiful reflections.

If we were having coffee, tea, or something else, I would tell you that except for the case of the stolen tree, it’s been a relatively quiet week.  I had my hair cut and the purple restored.  I have been working on Christmas gifts, making things rather than buying them.  This week will be a little busier.  There’s an appointment on Tuesday that will take a few hours, and some food preparations for a Christmas feast.  I will be cleaning house tomorrow.  It shouldn’t take that long to do since this is not a big house, but in case I get distracted by the great outdoors, I can finish on Monday.

Luscious colors.
Luscious colors.

If we were having coffee, tea, or some other beverage, I would say I’ve rambled on quite enough (perhaps too much!).  Thank you so much for visiting with me.  Hang around if you like.  Late autumn and winter sunsets are usually colorful, and maybe we’ll head down to the Point to watch the show this evening.  Sunset is at 4:45 PM.  We’ll probably have to leave about ten or fifteen minutes before that.  Bundle up.  It’s windy and cold.  We can warm up afterwards with the Pad Thai (vegan version) I’m making for dinner.  It will have a pleasant amount of spicy heat to it and four cups of the broccoli we picked yesterday.

Be good, be kind, be loving, be well.  Just Be.  🙂

A seat on the dock.
A seat on the dock.

This post is in response to Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare.  Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us.  I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.

weekendcoffeeshare

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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

23 thoughts on “If we were having coffee: Almost the Solstice edition

  1. I’m disappointed it will be 70 on Christmas Eve. Santa in shorts just isn’t right. 🙂

    I read two books yesterday: Embroideries by Marjane Sartrapi and Coreography by Corey Feldman. I read two of Sartrapi’s graphic novels before and enjoyed this one, too. She’s from Iran and it’s neat to see the ways things are different and also the same. As for Corey’s book, I loved him in The Goonies and The Lost Boys. It was a sad book with a bit of a happy ending. Both were quick reads. I still have to read 4 more to meet my Goodreads challenge by the end of the year. I so will get it done!

    Beautiful photos as always. Big fan of winter sunsets. Looking forward to it.

    Be well this week. Merry Christmas.
    ~Tara

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol, Tara! I have a picture of Santa in shorts. I have to agree with you. It just isn’t right. 🙂 Sounds like some interesting reading. I think I’ll come up a little short with my reading challenge this year. Plus Goodreads apparently isn’t picking up the books I’ve added as Read. Their end of year report claims I only read 10 books this year when it’s actually 34. That happens to me frequently there and I can’t figure out why some books will show when I add them and write reviews, etc., and others don’t.

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  2. I thank you for the coffee this morning, and I enjoyed your chatter. I think I have been using up all of my words when Kat and I sit in the afternoons and evenings, because I have little to contribute to the conversation today. The smell of the roasting pecans was especially delightful. I don’t know what smells will emanate from the kitchen at my house today – it’s Kat’s turn to cook today. I leave it in her capable hands, with pleasure.

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  3. I still can’t get over someone cutting down your tree on your property. I’m glad M reported it and a police report was written. I love the coffee mandala! I am hoping to get back to zentangle. It kind of went by the wayside when I got sick and had my surgery. But I just dug everything out and I want to start up again. Have a super week! Enjoy the time as much as you can!

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  4. Who steals a tree like that?! Geez…We once had someone reach over our six foot fence and cut the head off a gorgeous and massive sunflower…but a tree?!

    I’m a big Steven King fan but have not yet read Doctor Sleep. I cannot seem to get myself together enough to sit and enjoy a good book! It’s been way too long since I’ve finished a book I’ve started, but I may need to give it a go during my break this December 🙂

    Happy Solstice!

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  5. The photos are beautiful, as usual, and your snacks and dinner are all the things I love! Yummy! I roasted some pecans today–just enough to put in some Pecan Pie Truffles, plus extra for some salads. Blanching and freezing all that broccoli must be quite a job.
    I’m reading All the Light We Cannot See. It is so good!

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  6. Always a pleasure having coffee with you, Robin. Your delightful prose and gorgeous photos are such a treat. Love the mandala and am totally gobsmacked that someone stole one of your trees! Sheesh!
    I wish you a Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate and look forward to sharing another cuppa with you!

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  7. The beautiful photos just kept coming! Wow. I love the story of the solstice and your capture of the moon. I am an admirer of your gorgeous veggies as well. Isn’t it amazing what people will try to get out of doing? Blanching is so simple, too!

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  8. Beautiful post, Robin, and your sky photos are far more colorful than anything we have had. Here it is just cold and dark and colorless, but at least warmer weather is promised. I plan to spend Christmas morning in the garden 🙂 Happy solstice to you!

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  9. Happy Saturday Robin. Glad you got the last of the harvest in. Fresh stuff is good stuff. Never tried to eat the greens from the brocolli. Huh. When I worked at the community garden the broccoli was so beautiful..had lots of greens on it. We never harvested any of it. Guess we should have.

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  10. Love your pine cone and clever coffee mandalas, as well as your gorgeous sky photos. Nature is such a wonder. It sure was nippy out there today. The uneven temps have all of nature confused, a woman told me today that she heard on the news that some birds have started building nests! Which, of course, makes me feel terrible for what we’re doing to the creatures with whom we share this planet. Heaven help us!

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  11. Oh my gosh … The first sunset pic was my fav until I saw the next one … then the next one … then the next one … wow. Love them! One of the things I would tell you is that my holiday party is this weekend, and I know how much you enjoy them … .so get ready to pick a gift bag. Meanwhile, it’s been a mild December, but December is now telling us not to forget about the cold.

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  12. Enjoyed my coffee visit with you as always. I read your post and think oh I should do a blog post too and somehow it slips away from me! Your sunset pictures are lovely. As for me, I had 2 Christmas parties to attend this weekend, my girls are home from college, my house is a wreck, I haven’t started wrapping gifts yet, and I host the family dinner for Christmas. I’m exhausted thinking about it, lol!

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  13. A very interesting visit with you. The pictures are superb. Our weather is changeable and weird. My husband reminded me of the Solstice this morning. It will be nice to have more sunlight again. Merry Christmas and pray for PEACE throughout the world.

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  14. Thanks so much for the hot chocolate. I added some ice cream to it to cool it down. It’s so hot over here. I loved your sunset photos and your veggie shots. Just stunning. Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays xx Rowena

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  15. We will have rain for Solstice and Christmas this year, but I don’t mind. I have a number of Winter Solstice Readings to do tomorrow (heart singing and spirit soaring!) and then it’s back to Netflix and cooking up a storm. 😉 Two Netflix movies that I really enjoyed recently were “I Origins” and “Another Earth”. I’m not sure how old or well-known these movies are, but I found them both fascinating. Happy holidays, Robin! xx

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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