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A Monday meander: Happy Solstice

News from family.  (Taken by M the Younger and sent to me, where I heavily edited it so that the boys are not so readily identifiable.)

To go into the dark with a light
is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark,
go without sight.
And find
that the dark too
blooms and sings
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

~ Wendell Berry

In this upside down world. (Creek reflections.)

Frank recently posted about Tides (full disclosure: I collaborated with him on this post), and his post has had me thinking a lot about tides and the ebb and flow of water and life.  The ebb and flow of blogging has come to mind, too.  I feel as though I’m going out with the tide, traveling elsewhere for a little while before coming back in.  Or perhaps it’s slack tide, that period between the turning from high to low or low to high tide, when the water is still for just a few moments.  Whatever the case, I’ve lost my blogging mojo and might be taking a break.  I went with the word “might” because of how the brain works.  As soon as I say, “I’m taking a break,” my brain will respond with, “Oh no, no, no.  There is so much to write about!  And there are so many wonderful blogs to visit!!  Not yet, not yet.”  So, as things go, I might not be taking a break.  We’ll see.

Breaking down in the darkness.

Merry Solstice to you!  It’s gray and foggy this morning as I put together this post, the sunrise hidden behind the clouds.  On Friday, intending to post something on Saturday, I wrote this:

Sunrise was quiet and beautiful this morning.  Hints of pink and orange spreading across the sky.  One crow cawing.  I don’t know where his friends and family were.  Perhaps they were smart enough to wait for it to warm up a little before taking to the sky.   Even Lloyd’s rooster was silent.  There was a thin layer of ice on the top of the pond, frost on the lawn and in the meadow.  Ice and frost reflected back the pink and orange of the sky.  The sky-colors moved in all directions as the morning grew brighter.

As the Solstice approaches, the sun has gradually moved across the horizon and she now rises behind the trees at the back of the pond.  I’ve always found it interesting to follow the sunrise and sunset, to see where the sun would rise and land.  The angle of the light changes with the movement and it is, perhaps, that angle that changes the color of the light.  It seems oddly warmer in winter.  Certainly more colorful.

The glow of holly berries in the darkness.

I have been contemplating and pondering and wondering about my word or theme for the next year.  Today is the day I would usually announce it in some way, even if the announcement is entirely for myself.  I’ve been going around and around.  Bones was the first word to come up and it seemed full of all sorts of interesting possibilities.  I was fascinated (am still fascinated) with the anatomy portion of yoga teacher training.  I could spend the year with the anatomy coloring book going over the bones of the body.  The aim would be not to memorize but to get in touch with my own bones.  There is so much to learn, just there.

Another word has raised its head:


In case that isn’t clear enough to read:

Milk Thistle:  Forgiveness
Life has taught you to protect yourself, but sometimes you end up hurting yourself.  Milk Thistle helps you to let go, through the power of forgiveness, of all the self-imposed restrictions and defensive armor that is making it hard for you to open and receive all the love and abundance the universe has flowing toward you.

~ Lisa Estabrook, Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle Deck

It’s a pretty card, isn’t it?  All of the cards I’ve seen so far in this deck are pretty (my daughter-in-law gave me the deck as a gift).  Milk Thistle and Forgiveness are interesting choices for a wide range of reasons.

Thistle and Queen Anne’s Lace, taken this past summer when we were in NE Ohio.

I first became aware of thistle during a visit to Scotland.  Funny how I had to go far away to see something that grew near where I lived.  Sometimes that’s the way of things.  If interested, you can read a quick bit about thistle and its connection to Scotland here.  I began to notice thistle after we returned.  We were in southeast Ohio (Ohio Appalachia) at the time.  When we moved to northeast Ohio, I saw it on my walks during the summer and fall, growing at the edges of the fields.  The birds brought some to us in the area we planted and called the wildflower field.  Most of it was Canadian Thistle, but we did have some Milk Thistle as well.  Thistle attracted birds and butterflies so we didn’t do anything about it.  Just let it grow as it would.  It was in a space where we could afford to do that without worries.

Reaching out on a cloudy day.

We have talked, subtly, about forgiveness in Gita class.  More specifically, about self-forgiveness.  However, I can see how this word will create a spiral, moving in and out, from the personal (self-forgiveness) to outer relationships, from the small picture to the bigger picture.  Or if you prefer the tides I started with, it is a word that I believe will ebb and flow, that will have high tides, low tides, and maybe even slack tides.

Good nature and good sense must ever join
To err is human, to forgive, divine.

~ Alexander Pope

I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.

~ Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

Low tide at the Point.

The third thing to pop up was more of a theme than a word.  Don’t be a jerk is the blunt version.  The nicer way to put it is be kind or speak the good wordsSpeak the good words, you might recall, has been part of the teachings for The Art of Self Care (which, by the way, is open for registration, if you’re interested, and it starts in January).  I will be participating in the Art of Self Care again because it’s good stuff so be kind or speak the good words is already built in to the beginning of my year.  Still, it might not hurt to reinforce it.  The pandemic and isolation make me not so kind at times, and that not-so-kind gets thrown at someone I love dearly.  I realize this is probably true for many of us, that we snap from time to time.  However, it would be better all around, for everyone, if I adhere to the motto of Don’t be a jerk.  Being a jerk only adds to the overall stress.

One frosty morning.

So, the question of the day is:  Which word will it be?  Well, I don’t know.  Perhaps it doesn’t matter.  Perhaps the thing to do is to go with whatever comes up at any given time and see where that leads.

Solstice lights.

I reckon that’s enough from me for this week’s meander.  Thank you so much for visiting with me.  Rumor has it that there is more rain in the forecast for this evening so I’m not sure it’s worth the trip out to the Point.  Not that it’s very far, but it will be chilly and wet.  How about we meet out at the dock?  That will give us a good walk through the woods.  We can stop to feed the birds.  I’ve been leaving a little food out there every day for the birds and squirrels that might not have discovered the feeders yet.  Sunset is scheduled for 4:47 PM.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.  Or, as my mind likes to put it lately, don’t be a jerk.  ♥

Catching the sparkles.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,656)  A misty fog, hanging in the trees, softening up the landscape.  1,657)  Beethoven, my mockingbird friend, has been coming out to see me again.  I don’t know what he does throughout the summer.  Perhaps he’s busy with other friends during the warmer months.  1,658)  Fish tacos and rice for lunch.  1,659)  Skordalia, a Greek dip made with mashed potatoes and plenty of garlic.  I made it for our lunch/dinner yesterday.  M and I will probably have garlic breath forever, but it was so good.  1,660)  The Winter Solstice and the start of a new year.  

A winter gathering of frost.  (The frosty photos were taken a week or two ago.  It is too warm today for frost.)


Robin is... too many things to list, but here is a start: an artist and writer; a photographer and saunterer; a daughter and sister and granddaughter; a friend, a partner, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother; a gardener, a great and imaginative cook, and the creator of wonderful sandwiches.

30 thoughts on “A Monday meander: Happy Solstice

  1. I saw your collaboration with Frank. He’s a prime example of how a blogging break can work. Back with new direction and vigour. Can’t keep a good blogger down. 🙂 🙂 I waiver a lot too. I hadn’t associated it with tides but it’s a good analogy. I hover awhile and before I know it I’m posting again, in spite of myself, if you know what I mean. Anyway, I just stopped by to wish you happy meanderings in 2021, and a peaceful Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A lovely Solstice and reflective post, Robin. I know the feeling about blogging. I realized in 2016, when I took my site down completely early in the year, that I was the one pressuring me to write. It took losing my domain name (with a .com) and creating a new one with the same name (.net this time) later on to realize that I was my problem. I decided over the course of a few more months, that I would write, when I felt I had something to write about, to share or otherwise offer. Like life, there really is no hurry, save what we push ourselves to hurry for. Retreating is a gift we give to ourselves. I’ve even suspended my coaching practice. I simply need to be. To be with myself, my family (virtually) and to enjoy whatever creating I wish to do. It IS Winter now; a time of rest and retreat, and I am going to enjoy all of it – and safely. I wish you and yours a very happy, restful and safe holiday season, dear Robin. I look forward to reading what you write, whenever you post. Blessings to you, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Carrie. 🙂 My problem is not about writing/posting. I do have a lot I wish to write about (you should see my drafts folder and the notebook I keep with all kinds of thoughts and ideas!) and a lot of photos I wish to share. It’s funny but there are times I feel a kind of urgency to share or write, as if there is some message wanting to come out.

      My problem is the pressure I put on myself to reciprocate by visiting other blogs. It seems to me that this is a community with all the give and take of community, and I very much enjoy reading what others have to say or looking at their photographs or artwork. It doesn’t feel fair to keep posting here if I can’t find the time to visit others. Time really is the main obstacle. It’s hard to find enough of it to write up a post AND visit with others. I put together my posts at turtle speed and it can take up nearly a whole day for me to finish one. I prefer to do it that way because there are times it’s better not to be in a hurry to hit “publish.” It’s not that I sit here all day (I usually start a post early in the morning and then come back to it occasionally throughout the day), but it does take time to go through photos and decide which to use, then resize them, etc. It also takes time for me to visit others and comment because I truly do take the time to read, think about, savor, and enjoy what others have to show or tell. That’s true even when I don’t do more than click on the “Like” button to let them know I was there (I generally only use that when I don’t feel I have anything to contribute to the conversation that hasn’t already been said — that IS what blogging feels like to me… a conversation).

      I keep trying to find the balance, but it keeps escaping me. Now that I read what I just wrote, maybe there is no balance. Just the back and forth, as best I can, as best we all can. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robin, I appreciate your thoughtful, honest comment. Your posts are so well done, and it shows that you put so much time into each one. I enjoy all of them. I feel that blogging is like a conversation, too. 💖


  3. I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggled with blogging etc this year. I was away a lot of the second half of the year and only came back as I finally figured out what I want to do with my blog. (Still in process, but feeling better about a lot of what I’ve figured out.) Take a break if you need to, but do come back — I so enjoy all of your lovely photos and your generosity in sharing them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Tara. 🙂 My main problem is figuring out how to find time for everything. The days keep flying by. I’m glad you’ve got things figured out and that you’re back to blogging now.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You know, Robin, blogging breaks are GOOD (I’m taking one over the holidays). Sometimes, it’s better to curl inward for a bit so ideas and emotions can percolate; then, when they’re ready, we’ll have plenty to talk and write about. Whatever you decide is right for you, may you have a wonderful Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am smiling about your “don’t be a jerk” phrase. OK, now am laughing a bit. Have also been pondering if there’s a certain word that might be adopted during this upcoming year. The only one that appeared yesterday was “love” and that isn’t 100% sparking, even though love is always sparking. Bones feels very interesting, very elemental (not for me, but if you decide to use it.) I do think self-forgiveness paves the way for other-forgiveness, too. Happy Holy-days!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Holy-days to you, too, Kathy. And thank you. 🙂 Your comment made me laugh a bit. “Don’t be a jerk” tends to do that for me, which is one reason why it works so well (for me — I’m sure it’s not the same for everyone). It’s simple, to the point, and down to earth. I am pretty sure that phrase, along with forgiveness, will be part of an ongoing theme, at least for the next month or two. Who knows what might spark my interest after that? 😀


  6. Beautiful images and thoughtful prose. There is nothing wrong with taking a break if that is what you are called to do. Sometimes we try too hard and lose our joy in things. Best to step away for a bit to find what makes us tick than to turn our back unexplored.
    Until then, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You wrote this post a few days ago and I’m wondering if you have decided on a word yet. Maybe you just need an inspiring feeling to focus on, and not just one single word. I can’t quite imagine what it must have been like in the USA this year, although I suspect it has been a particularly trying year.
    When you spoke about possibly taking a blogging break, I realised that although I have taken several breaks, none were intentional. Life just got in the way. I also realised that even though I am currently posting every day, I never know as I begin each post exactly what I will say. I just go with the flow. Some days, the words do flow – some days they don’t. In the post I added today, I said nothing at all. I’m finding blogging easy and enjoyable now. I have no grand expectations of myself. Maybe that’s something you could consider doing – don’t set the bar so high – in other words, don’t commit to blogging or not. Just do what you feel like doing each day. It works for me, so I thought I’d mention it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Joanne, especially for your input. 🙂 I’m still figuring things out. This has been an ongoing challenge for a long time — mostly it’s about keeping up (with others, with comments, etc.).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know that feeling of wanting to keep up with other bloggers, so much! Then time gets away, and you fall behind. I think bloggers understand, we are all in the same situation. Maybe don’t be so hard on yourself – you are amazing, just the way you are. 🙂


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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