If I didn't love the warm weather months so much, I would be heartbroken to see the winter end each year, what with all its wild and ancient magic. I love everything about the dark, still months, beginning with the darkness itself. The archtypal Wild Woman - near and dear to our Still/Wild hearts, obviously - ushers in the darkness, just as she sings flesh onto the bones again in springtime. She is the Life/Death/Life force as Clarissa Pinkola Estes reminds us; the incubator. As such, she encourages us, during the cold months, to create a warm space inside that is favorable to resting/developing. (The cold months, we might say, are STILL, the hot months WILD.)
For our part, we depend heavily on our wood burning fireplace. Honestly, we light a fire almost every night from November to April, beginning with our family's annual First Fire Night. (And yes, we had a fire last night. The days are warm, but the nights are cool enough here in Tennessee!) As well, fires call for old friends and old stories and, of course, mulled wine, which Jimmy and I have in the crock pot all winter long. (Recipe below. Copy and save it for next fall?) We also love the sacred rituals, the holy days, etc. As I suppose it is for lots of folks, it's a challenge for us to be as still as we'd like to be during holiday months that can quickly get out of hand. We'll try to be better about all that next year. (This is the first time I've had practice in my new life, which is much busier than my old one, in which I lived alone. It will be interesting to see if it makes a difference next year. Of course, I suspect it will.)
But now it's time for planting and hatching. After cutting wood for next year, J and I had a long, satisfying day yesterday prepping the garden: tilling the soil, turning the compost, planting seedlings indoors (better late then never!). We're thinking, of course, about the lush beauty that will soon surround us. We don't take this for granted. It is a relaxed, happy, relatively stress free time in our lives, and I don't ever want to lose sight of that fact that it is none of those things for countless numbers of folks. During these happy, lush days, I am thankful for all my years in the desert, for just this reason. May I never forget, and may my home be a safe refuge for those who struggle currently.
Even when I lived like a hermit, even when I was quiet and alone and impossibly tired for all those years, I was relentlessly on the lookout for magic; for Stillness, for Wildness, for evidence of the mystical. And of course it is everywhere. One can almost always get one's hands in the dirt. One can, with a few seeds and some dirt, make art and magic in the form of flowers, herbs and vegetables.
Spring is upon us. May your home be wildly alive!
Photos below from last year's garden. #stillwildhome
Something to save and look forward to before turning your attention to warm weather fare:
Our favorite Mulled Wine recipe, minus the brandy (Feel free to add it back in if you feel so led.) One bottle red wine, 4 cups apple cider/juice, 1/4 cup honey, 2 cinnamon sticks, 5 whole cloves, 4-5 cardamom pods, zest of one large orange, juice of one large orange. Put in all in the crock pot and enjoy! Warm, fragrant, comforting.