Ode to Winter

Guardian

It’s been a while.

Again.

I’ve been resisting come here to be honest. Mostly because I’m still struggling with the same shit and nothing much has changed. I’m doing my best to address my ‘ishews’, but it seems to be taking an awfully long time for things to change. In the meantime, I keep making the same mistakes and feeling the same way about making the same mistakes. It’s the very definition of madness. I just don’t want to go on and on ad nauseum about it all. So there you go.

I am deeply embedded in the Winter and that brings me some solace. I am an Autumn/Winter girl and long for the snow the way a chocoholic longs for an oversized bar of Cadbury’s and an uninterrupted half hour to demolish it in. I want to wake up and see the Earth dressed in her full winter splendour, glimmering in her best diamond white. I want to crump endlessly through thick snow. I want to upturn my face during a snowfall and catch the snowflakes on my tongue. I want to fling myself backwards and make snow angels. I want to watch the full moon rise over a vast expanse of ice white, making it so light that you can see clearly even in the darkest hours of the night. I want to bathe in that glowing silence and feel it creep inside and still my soul. That is what I want.

I truly love this time of year. It’s beautiful up here in the Hills. It’s misty and quiet and so cold you can see your breath. I love pretending it’s so cold that I have to wear my beanie and my gloves. I take a perverse sort of joy in the fact that I hate getting out of bed in the mornings because it’s frickin’ freezing. I hide under my duvet, (yes, duvet – not bloody doona. This baby is 13.5 tog and filled with hollow-fibre fresh from hides of the Hollow-Backed Fibre beasts of Glen Coe. Me mum sent it over ), and nary a toe do I show until the heating has been on a good 20 minutes. Bless my man for having to get up early to go to work. Heh. Heh. Heh. Still, as beautiful as it is here, I’m a Northerner at heart. I like my cold days to lead up to the fun that is Christmas. I miss the brutish English Winters. I do. The crusty frosts, the bare trees, the icy streets, the way the cold sticks its frozen hands up your jumpers and down your jeans and makes your bones hurt. Winter means duffle coats, scarves, hats and gloves that you actually need to wear, because if you don’t you could quite possibly get frostbite and lose a digit. All right – perhaps it just feels like that, but that’s what I miss! You actually NEED a mulled wine whilst traversing Camden Market. And that hot chocolate is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE to replenish your fat stores lest you not make it through until Spring.

I guess I am just a sparkling Winter Witch searching for a snowy night to glitter in.

Bear Woman

And so, the days slow down and take me with them. I enjoy the early dark. I feel myself quieten slightly, even though the madness of every day life with my child continues unabated. I am at home here in this dark wizened season of quiet contemplation. Like the She Bear in her cave, sleeping, dreaming, waiting for that first touch of Spring. I am in no hurry for it. Even though I can see that life is quickening in the Magnolia trees and buds are appearing, I am not yet ready for rebirth. I want to savour this season. I want to enjoy the fresh mornings and the chill evenings. I want to light my fire, cook stews and soups and bake gingerbread men. I want to mellow, to shed my skin, to grow into myself and replenish before Spring demands more life from me. I am happy here in this frozen moment and want nothing more. Except snow.

Paradoxically, out of this quietness rises my constant restlessness. I guess the slowing down stimulates it to pop up to get my attention. It is always accompanied by a frustrating need to be elsewhere. Possibly because I feel overwhelmed with my struggles here. ut I do realise that you don’t leave your troubles behind when you move and I definitely have to take mine with me – she’s only two! The Gypsy is alive and well and ready to hitch her caravan to the next wandering star. I’ve always had a bit of a yen to go and live in another country for a year or two. Maine, Canada, Italy, France – just to shake things up a bit. I’ve been in Australia for five years now and, though I love our house and I’ve made such good friends here, I’m looking for something that I haven’t found here. Right now I can’t imagine living out my days here. Some part of me is not fed here and I don’t know if it ever will be. I miss the green rolling hills of home but I know, from experience, that when I am back, it’s just the same as it was before I left. A bit grim unless you live somewhere beautiful. I have lived in many beautiful places because of this fact. No point in being there otherwise. My Soul needs beauty and the green of the earth and the sun and the sea and it needs them like my body needs oxygen and water. So the restlessness rises until it rattles my teeth and I feel ruffled and unsure of myself. Then I pick at the pieces of my life until they develop sores and I feel even more unsettled. The trouble is, of course, that whereever I go, there I am. I will be with me no matter what country I spend time in, no matter what house I live in, no matter what occupies my days. Whatever it is that sets this restless spirit a-wandering, is inside of me. So what use is there in going elsewhere? It will simply be ‘same, same but different’ won’t it? I’ll still be ‘angry woman in charge of child’ won’t I, because that’s who I apparently am. At least right now. What is that saying? If that for which you search you do not find within yourself, you will never find it without. The trouble is of course is in finding it within. It often feels as if I have looked forever and am still not any closer to the truth of who I am. I mean just how deeply can this stuff be buried? Why, when you are looking for something, does it appear to hide under ever-deeper layers of yourself? That’s just plain rude. And so, I flit from one thing to another. Never satisfied. Never quite there. Restless even in this cocoon of winter. I just wish I knew what my seed was trying to grow into. Perhaps then I could help it poke up through the frozen soil of my heart and germinate. *Sigh*

Sleeping

And then there is my 40th. I want to do something really nourishing and spiritually significant for this transition. My other transitional birthdays have been dreadful. To give you some idea – my 18th was spent getting so appallingly drunk (because my best friend now hated me and her sister was sleeping with my boyfriend in the flat we all shared) that I fell into a glass table. My 21st was spent at a Driving School dinner with a whole bunch of complete strangers while a man in chequered golfing slacks and a lemon v-neck serenaded me with songs I was too young to remember. My 30th was spent with another bunch of complete strangers at some weird Asian food/karaoke bar. I drank too much and sang, rather appropriately, ‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.’ I had just broken up with my partner of 9 years, moved to another city and started drama school. I went home and did exactly that.

So, you can see why I would want to make this one a bit special. And not as in ‘special needs’.

Trouble is, I simply don’t know what to do with myself. I have harbored secret desires to go away to Hawaii for 8 days to do a Tantric Teachers course but it is simply too extravagant an expense right now and I feel guilty enough for not contributing financially to our lives. I was originally going to have a party but that feels flat now and I can’t come up with a theme for it anyway. I have been looking at a Writers Retreat in Western Australia for a week and that feels pretty good but I’m not sure. Again, I flit from one thing to another, looking for an answer to what ails me. I want this transition to mark a change for the better, financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Obviously, I’m not looking for one event to do all of that for me. I simply want it to be something nourishing that will give me time and space to work out what I want to d and how to go about it. I want it to be memorable and beautiful and I want it to feed my hungry soul in some small way. I want it to give me enough juice to replenish my sorely depleted stores because I just don’t have anything else to give right now. And I resent what I am already giving.

And so, before I start walking in those oh so familiar circles again, I’ll leave you. If you have any ideas on what a creative gal might do for her 40th, then do please chime in. I’m all ears. Well, not literally. That would be gross and impractical. I will be having a sort of ‘coming of age’ celebration in the red tent of which I am the fond but slightly over it, owner. So that will kind of be taken care of. I want ideas out of the box really.

Oh and if anyone has a really good idea of a birthday surprise for my hubby who turns 33 in two weeks. That would be good also. I paid for him to have a hang-gliding lesson last year. I was hoping that there was some kind of weekend retreat for screenwriters here but alas no. So again, I ask for ideas out of the box. Something fun and nourishing for him that’s a little bit interesting or different. I’m a bit stumped.

Winter Caravan

*Illustrations by Jackie Morris

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9 thoughts on “Ode to Winter

  1. i love your writing. it feels so full and alive. and i too love the winter/autumn. you describe here so clearly my heart in this. your post reminded me of this poem i love i thought you might like. something about longing and warmth, fire and feeling like there's nothing left to give:I Am Offering This Poem Jimmy Santiago Baca I am offering this poem to you, since I have nothing else to give. Keep it like a warm coat when winter comes to cover you, or like a pair of thick socks the cold cannot bite through, I love you, I have nothing else to give you, so it is a pot full of yellow corn to warm your belly in winter, it is a scarf for your head, to wear over your hair, to tie up around your face, I love you, Keep it, treasure this as you would if you were lost, needing direction, in the wilderness life becomes when mature; and in the corner of your drawer, tucked away like a cabin or hogan in dense trees, come knocking, and I will answer, give you directions, and let you warm yourself by this fire, rest by this fire, and make you feel safe, I love you, It’s all I have to give, and all anyone needs to live, and to go on living inside, when the world outside no longer cares if you live or die; remember, I love you. happy birthday awakened heart~ i hope you find a way to celebrate that warms and replenishes you~~~

  2. Another amazing, thoughtful post. I'm an Autumn/Winter girl myself. Living in the Colorado desert nearly killed me. I'm Home now – a place I never thought I'd find. But, being away from it made it clear, that there is a place for me. Here. May you find a place where your soul may rest (both in its self & physical location). I will be thinking about your request for creative ways to spend your 40th and your partner's 33rd. I'll have a 40th next year (never too early to start thinking about it).

  3. er…what do you mean you love " pretending it's so cold that I have to wear my beanie and my gloves"?!Love this post – and I've long loved those Jackie Morris images. Sublime. There's so much here I can relate to (as you probably well know – heheh). I'm feeling pretty restless and would love some green rolling hills in my life again. Sigh. And Other Travels. Bring on that gypsy caravan I say!Will put the thinking cap on for burfday ideas. But I have to admit that this is not an area I have any talent in…How's about a chip butty and an excellent shag? Not with me…obviously…um. See? Inspired, me. And classy with it.

  4. Sorry AW but LMAO at your descriptions of the British winters. As a Swede living in the UK I often talk in the same way about the winters back home. It's all relative lol. Mind you I'm a wimp about the cold so much prefer it here. Hope you find some answers, solace and acceptance soon.

  5. What a sparkling Winter Witch you are. Your writing is just like a big block of choccie enjoyed under a cosy 'duvet', so nourishing and addictive.Your birthday. Yes, a lovely red tent gathering to honour the transition is in order. Birthday tears should be of the good, releasing, joyful kind (not induced by betrayal and glass-table bloodshed!) I'll put the grey matter to work, and would love to be involved in helping make this important birthday what the others should've been. (Incidentally, flouncing about in fancy dress always has my vote). You know that I share the restlessness, the hunger, and continual constirnation that I've dragged along myself (and related baggage)wherever I travel. I feel that you won't be settling on Aussie soil long-term, which makes my tummy clench, missing you already. The Goddess knows where I'll be too! Time together is precious indeed, and I'm already impatient for our New Moon inspira-fest. Let's see if we can sort ourselves out, orright?xx

  6. Hi — I think I found you via Holistic Mama and am just catching up with your posts… and MAN! I have so been where you are… "I keep making the same mistakes and feeling the same way about making the same mistakes. It's the very definition of madness."I really appreciate your writing and explorations… I am on the same path, though it is summer here. :)Blessings,Stacy

  7. Oh it's so nice to read your posts that are not all the time. This was quite beautiful. I chuckle and love the humour in them. Love that you haven't succumbed to the 'doona' lol. I'm trying to think of ideas for your bday and the hub's but have none, I have no clue what you are in to so I might as well pull something out of a hat like for your birthday, you could have friends over to patch a birthday quilt together whilst sitting around a fire drinking mulled wine and for your hubby, he could go and make a knife for an afternoon. Lol, knife making is something you can actually do whereI live which is just a lovely day especially for men, apparently.Happy birthday 🙂

  8. Well given the strange birthdays you've had so far, how about take away, Champers and a night in with yer otherarf – a fambly birthdi if you will.For him – how about a journey you both haven't done before. Doesn't have to be far away or even exotic, just a journey you haven't done before, together as a fambly. You might take a bus, you might take a train, but whatever happens you'll get there jus' the same…!Explore somewhere together. The three of you. Simple, but effective… like GW Bush… sadly!

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