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A Monday meander: Winter and words

Winter fairy lights in the meadow.

The English language is a magnificent sponge. I love the English language. I’m glad that I speak it. But for all that, it has a lot of holes. In Greek, there’s a word, “lachesism” which is the hunger for disaster. You know, when you see a thunderstorm on the horizon and you just find yourself rooting for the storm. In Mandarin, they have a word “yù yī” — I’m not pronouncing that correctly — which means the longing to feel intensely again the way you did when you were a kid. In Polish, they have a word “jouska” which is the kind of hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head. And finally, in German, of course in German, they have a word called “zielschmerz” which is the dread of getting what you want.

~ John Koenig

If we were not here— the show would play to an empty house, as do all those falling stars which fall in the daytime. That is why I take walks: to keep an eye on things.

~ Annie Dillard

Pretty sparkle and bokeh.

It’s almost that time of year again.  A lot of the newsletters I receive via email are chattering about picking out your word of the year.  Some provide free worksheets or videos to help you pick out a word.  Some offer, for a price or free, workshops on how to do it.  You can even use the Word of the Year Generator.

I did give the generator a go and it was interesting what came up.  TEACH is the word the generator decided I need for this year.  Not understanding that exactly, or maybe it’s that I don’t have a desire to teach, I gave it another go and the second word I received was BEAUTY.  How interesting those two words are if I pair them together:  TEACH BEAUTY.  It’s the essence of my blog, in a sense.  My reason for blogging.  To show, to tell, and maybe to teach, beauty.  To share how much there is to see if we take the time to look.

A nest in almost-winter.

Workshops, worksheets, and generators aside, the word that has come to mind for me is HOME.  I’m not yet sure of the why’s of it.  Just that it’s in the running as my word for next year.  I still have time to think about it.  As you might recall, I begin my year on the Winter Solstice.  That gives me more than a week to mull and make a decision.

Sweet gum and bokeh.

My word for this year was (is, still) LOVE.  It has been a hard word at times but mostly, it’s been soft, gentle, a caress of the heart and mind during difficulties.  Looking at the etymology of the word, I’ve found that one possible source of the word is lubo, source also of Old High German liubi “joy.”  It’s easy to see how love and joy are connected even when love is challenging.

Hanging the decorations.

Since I last wrote, I’ve completed another turn around the sun.  I’ve been singing the Beatles song, “When I’m Sixty-Four.”  With good reason.  I am now sixty-four.  It didn’t take long for the Medicare industry to note it.  On my birthday, I received my first advertisement for Medicare plans.  Because M is older than I am and has already been through this, I know there are decisions I will need to make before I turn sixty-five.  The thought of how complicated this is almost makes me seethe with anger.  Why are we putting older people through this maze of ridiculousness and financial hardship when it comes to healthcare?  Why don’t we have a healthcare system for all that doesn’t require anyone to jump through hoops, solve puzzles, and spend a good portion of what money they have to be seen by a doctor, to buy needed prescriptions, to get life-saving tests, to be treated in a hospital?  Our healthcare system is on its way to being broken, if it isn’t already.  Even healthcare workers have had enough.  Primary care physicians are already difficult for some of us to find and with the way our government is doing things, it looks as though they will become even scarcer.

Wintery phragmites.

*kicking the soapbox aside for moment*  I have also traveled a bit more.  Hence, the break from blogging after it seemed like I was just getting started again.  We spent Thanksgiving with M’s sister.  It might be her last Thanksgiving in the house she’s been living in for the last few decades.  She’s in her 70’s and getting ready to get ready to move to a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community).  Once more, the system is complicated and it’s horribly expensive.  My sister-in-law thinks she can pull it off.  There won’t be a lot of financial wiggle room.  I ask again:  Why are we doing this to our elders?

Frosty myrtle.

Here on the ranch, life goes on.  Maybe.  Our deer population was already way down this year and now it seems we have only two little ones running around.  No adults in sight.  Hunting season started on Thanksgiving day (or maybe the day after?).  We were already down to five (two mums and three babies) in October.  One of the mothers disappeared and her little one seemed to be taken up by the mom with the twins.  There were at least two bucks (one mature and looking very god-like and majestic, the other quite young).  It’s not unusual for the bucks to remain elusive.  At any rate, I’ve only seen the twins who seem to spend a great deal of time in Zeke’s Woods.  I don’t know if the mom (or moms) and the other little one are still out there somewhere or if they have died and/or were killed.

Reindeer moss.

There is a noticeable decline in the wintering bird population, too.  M and I took a couple of hikes in a nearby wildlife management area (marsh and ghost forest) over the weekend.  There should be plenty of waterfowl out there, but we saw very little.  A small group of tundra swans and a small group of ducks.  We heard a few bald eagles and hawks, and were startled a few times by little birds who were nesting in the grasses.  Some of the paths were littered with empty turtle (terrapin) shells.

I can see the decline in the flocks of blackbirds and robins, too.  When we first moved here, flocks of blackbirds would fly overhead and I swear it would take about five minutes for them all to pass over on their way to wherever they were going.  The flocks I’ve seen this year usually have no more than 20-30 birds.


At the edge of the marsh where we hiked is a ghost forest (caused by saltwater weakening the trees who then succumb to pine bark beetles).  Our own little bit of woods that goes out to the creek is beginning to turn into a ghost forest.  Maybe this is becoming a ghost planet.  Maybe it always was a ghost planet given all the mass extinctions over the millennia.  Life and death and evolution.  Cycles and more cycles.

A ghost of summer.

I reckon that’s about it from me on this beautiful December day.  It’s a good day for taking a walk or a hike, for hanging the laundry out on the line, or for sitting with a tree and listening to the winds.  Thank you so much for stopping by and meandering with me again.  Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset.  It’s scheduled for 4:43 PM.  The weather is fairly mild for this time of year.  In the 40’s with a good breeze.  You’ll want to dress accordingly.

Please be safe, be well, and take a little time to just Be.

In the sunlight.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  3,051)  Frosty mornings and sparkling winter fairy lights.  3,052)  Sitting with silence.  3,053)  The beautiful subtle colors of late autumn.  3,054)  Hikes in the marsh.  I think I must be some kind of swamp creature.  I love exploring swamps, marshes, and bogs.  3,055)  The little things.

Light and shadows on the floor of Zeke’s Woods.


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.

10 thoughts on “A Monday meander: Winter and words

  1. I always enjoy a meander with you Robin. I turned 74 last month. Thank goodness, I’m relatively healthy. I tell myself it’s a state of mind, or luck, but whatever it is, I give thanks. Here’s wishing you a peaceful and happy festive season.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very festive little orbs in your photos, Robin! The Annie Dillard quote describes your blog beautifully. (Hope you don’t mind if I borrow it sometime.) I tried the word generator and it gave me TOUGH and then ENGAGE. Hmmmm… I agree with you about the Medicare maze. It irritates me no end the amount of time needed to calculate and find the “best” plan, trying to guess what medical services we’ll need the most in the coming year. I suspect it’s in the interest of insurance corporations to keep things as complicated as possible. It’s absurd. Thank goodness we can go take a walk in the woods to decompress.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such beautiful photos, Robin — thank you. And I love Annie Dillard’s quote, too. I agree with your pondering about how shabbily we treat our elderly. My mom has been in the hospital for a solid week now, and they still have no clue what brought her in in the first place. I suppose they’ll kick her to the curb when Medicare tells them to discharge her … and let her family figure out what to do about her care. Argh.

    Liked by 1 person

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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