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A Monday meander: Winter tales

Sunday morning jewels.

Nature, too, supports our personal blossoming (if we have any quiet exposure to her) through her spontaneities, through her beauty, power, and mirroring, through her dazzling variety of species and habitats, and by way of the wind, Moon, Sun, stars, and galaxies.

~ Bill Plotkin, Nature and the Human Soul

As Carl Jung repeatedly declared, our goal is wholeness, not perfection. People living soulcentrically are not untroubled or unchallenged. They are not beyond experiencing times of confusion, mistakes, and tragedies. They have by no means healed all their wounds. They are simply on a path to wholeness, to becoming fully human- with all the inevitable defects and distresses inherent in any human story and with all the promise held by our uniquely human imagination.

~ more from Bill Plotkin

Heron on ice and snow.

Snow arrived here yesterday and stayed for several hours before turning to rain.  We had almost a full day of quietude, when the hush of snow blankets the world.  We had almost a full day of hiking and playing in the snow.  About the time there was enough snow to break out my (cross-country) skis from their long slumber, the rain began and that was the end of that.

Early in the day.

It began oh-so lightly, a few flakes falling here and there.  The trees were given a light dusting and in time, the snowfall grew heavier and heavier until it became almost a white-out.

There is magic here.

For me, the most important and meaningful things that have happened in my life have been the impossible things.

I know that when the most beautiful things have happened, I’ve had this sense of being pulled backwards through a door right behind me. In those moments all my plans, all my intentions, all my visualizations, all my wantings and desires and wishes don’t really count for anything because there’s something else that’s greater that’s in charge of us. Yet we are afraid of trusting that… and this is the problem.

So how can we handle this greater reality of inspiration, of the divine and the sacred, which we have pushed aside so much in our culture? It’s fine today to talk about Yogic philosophies or Buddhist deities, but what about the raw sacredness that gives us dreams in the night, that makes us behave unpredictably? What if all of that is the sacred?

When we deny the sacred we cannot handle ecstasy. We live in a totally fabricated artificial existence, and if we get a smell, a sniff, a hint of real ecstasy, we are afraid that it might destroy us. And that is a huge problem psychologically and collectively for us.

~ Peter Kingsley

The trees are hidden behind a veil of snow (just as our joy can be hidden behind a veil of illusion).

I have this amazing relationship with snow, ice, and the winds of winter.  Maybe it’s because I was born in December.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that winter contains incredible amounts of magic.  That is probably true of every season.  I can only be sure about winter because winter is the season I relate to as if it is my home.  There is a dance and rhythm to the season, to the snows and winds.

Redbud in winter.

Part of the grief I feel over climate change is the loss of winter as I’ve known it.  Oh, I know that weather patterns change from year to year, place to place.  This is different.  This is the change that has happened over the last two decades as I’ve seen it around a pond in NE Ohio.  (For those wondering, I can still keep an eye on the pond via my youngest son and his family who are renting the house and property from us.)  This is a pond that used to be solidly frozen by Imbolc — the (approximately) halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox — that barely has a scrim of ice on it this year (or last year at this time or the year before that).  This is decreased snowfall, year after year after year, from over one hundred inches of snow to barely a dusting.  It’s also the change I’ve seen here on the Eastern Shore in the eight years we’ve lived in this area.  Higher than usual tides, more sunny day flooding, the death of loblolly pines.  The overall patterns have changed.  In other words, the bigger picture is different rather than just a mild winter here and there.

Let’s go into the woods.

This evening is the beginning of the celebration of Imbolc, celebrated from sundown tonight until sundown tomorrow.  It is a festival that marks the beginning of spring even as we’re in the midst of winter, and was at one time widely observed in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.  I’ve been exploring my roots/ancestors, most of whom come from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England (with a little peppering of Swedish and Eastern European thrown in), and the Mandala Magic course I’m taking moves through the Wheel of the Year (beginning with the Winter Solstice).  I’m thinking about doing something to mark the occasion.  To celebrate.  There are still many reasons to do so.  As Wendell Berry put it in a discussion with climate activist Tim DeChristopher:

That’s my argument in favor of this world, against the determinists. I depend on what I know of human goodness, but also on the flowers and the butterflies and the birds. The otters and the swallows — a lot of their life is just spent having a hell of a good time. The animals, so far as I can understand them, have a great deal to say in favor of life. It’s a good world, still.

Snow-covered myrtle.

I, too, depend on the flowers, the butterflies, the birds, and the snow and ice and beauty of winter, however it shows up.

Snow nestled in the branch of a cedar.

Before I wrap this up, here’s a little joy (a video of the song “This Joy” by the Resistance Revival Chorus).

Thank you for stopping by today and visiting with me.  The low that is spinning around might bring us more snow this evening.  At the very least, it will bring us clouds.  I mention this because it is unlikely we will see much of anything at sunset other than a darkening of the sky.  Sunset is scheduled for 5:26 PM.  I’ll meet you out at the dock if it looks as though there is something to see.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.  ♥

Meandering through the woods on a snowy day.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,711)  Snow days.  1,712)  Monkey bread.  M has been baking again, and the monkey bread is such a treat.  1,713)  Morning practice of movement, chant, and meditation.  1,714)  Celebrating winter.  1,715)  The possibility of another round of snow.

In the branches.  (I could fix the blue tones, but I kind of like them.)


Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, yoga teacher, sometime poet, wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She shares her daily walks and meanders, a lot of quotes, some of her artwork, and a lot of her photography here on Ye Olde Blogge. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are (still!) in the midst of renovating the house and cleaning up the 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.

21 thoughts on “A Monday meander: Winter tales

  1. I had two walks in the snow yesterday–lovely. And today we had sleet and then fine snow started up again. I just checked on my niece in NYC, who was at work today (idiot private business owner) but is not home safe. I kind of like this bit of winter we’re getting. And I completely understand you finding winter magical, although for me, that will always be summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you were able to get out and enjoy the snow, Lisa. We had a light dusting today, but it didn’t amount to much or stick around for very long. I am thankful I got out when I did and while it lasted. Summer seems to be the magic time for many people, maybe even most. I think I’d enjoy summer more if I lived much farther north (up in Maine or Nova Scotia would be nice). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Storm total was 14″ … luckily, it stayed below freezing, so it was nice and fluffy, easy to shovel. We still getting flurries, but it shouldn’t amount to much. Glad we weren’t in PA – three feet is a bit much!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think I wouldn’t mind three feet, but we don’t have to shovel. It’s going to be in the 50’s by the end of the week so any snow that might have survived the rain will melt. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I always love your meanders. They relax me. It’s easy to read and feel like I’m right there with you, experiencing the same things. And the pictures are wonderful! I especially like the one with the path into the woods.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “When we deny the sacred we cannot handle ecstasy.” That struck me — so true. We had blizzard conditions with our 10 inches of snow yesterday so we didn’t go out. Sorry you didn’t get to use your skis. 😦 Our storm ended in freezing rain and we’ve seen a few neighbors slipping and sliding this morning. Your pictures are full of magic! I share your sense of loss of winter as we’ve known it… We haven’t had a snow that didn’t end with rain and ice in years. Many Imbolc blessings to you, Robin. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, this post really landed with me. Climate change is the scary and real. I lived in Yellowstone in mid-80’s through the early 90’s. Cross Country skiing was a way to see the beauty of the snowscape. Now I read about how the lack of snow is impacting everything there including bears coming out of dens in winter.

    Next year I will have a celebration of Imbolc. Wendell Berry is a wise Kentuckian and sage. The image of the heron on ice made this heron stalker’s day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Snow brings a quiet solitude to a scene that pleases my soul. I like all your photos, especially the first one. I agree with Jung, we need to focus on being whole, especially in our very broken world.


  6. Beautiful photos, Robin.
    It does look pretty outside, but this is like the storm that won’t end–we’re still getting flurries!
    I was also born in December, but I don’t have a special relationship with winter. 😀


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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