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following true north
ponderings along the path
Thoreau's words remind me of happy times with my two girls when they were small. We lived in an old farm house in northern Vermont and I would decorate the house, mostly with foraged items from the garden or the fields and woods around us. Wild apple blossom branches in spring, armloads of sunflowers in summer, grapevine wreaths in fall. Cooking seasonal foods was almost a necessity since we grew most of our fruits and veggies. Each season felt as if it brought purpose to life, subtle rhythm that made sense and felt comforting. (please click Read More below)
Only winter presented a challenge. Winter was definitely not a wonderland for me – it was a very large problem. I fought against the season for years. Hated it. Wanted to run away – preferably to a sunny warm place. Even Christmas celebrations annoyed me. No amount of eggnog could overcome my dark mood. Eventually I understood that I had to follow Thoreau's instructions: “Breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences …..”
The resignation part was hard. I had to turn off my criticism and look at winter with fresh eyes. Erase the old, negative chatter in my head. Slowly, I have gained a new perspective on the season. I now see how the darkness allows for restorative personal work, more sleep, more reading, more quiet time. It is a form of human hibernation.
Spending time indoors is not a punishment, it is a gift. A gift I am very happy to receive each year thanks to the written words of Henry David Thoreau.