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on autumn’s threshold…

When I last wrote, we were deep in summer and I still held onto some wisps of summery aspirations. But as July simmered and August sweltered, I let go of any lingering wisps and just coped. There were-of course-many beautiful moments and lovely noticings, but after some success with antidotes to languishing, I admit that I succumbed. And it was the right thing to do, with chronic pain visiting again no air-conditioning and all the dratted no-see-ums reveling in the tropical warmth.

And then, along came September, and with it some relief from it all and, therefore, a return of energy and vision. Not great heaps of it, but enough to sense a freshening flow in the depths of my too-still being. Now to nurture that trickle into something steady and enlivening…

September at Wisteria & Sunshine is when we usually focus on simplicity, especially in our homes. This September, it became clear that a focus on well-being, with simplicity at its heart, would serve us best. During my generous break from work at summer’s end, I pondered how that might unfold when I returned. And in the too-familiar way of things nowadays, I cluttered up my good intentions with too many ideas and possibilities. But time and wisdom (belatedly, and so welcome!) entered in a few days ago and I am now happily creating a low-key and lovely path of well-being that we will follow together in the weeks and months to come.

Well-being is my favorite word to describe what others might call fitness or health. Those words can be so barnacled with society’s ideas and approaches, with negativity and commercialism. Well-being takes me to another place, a place more helpful, a place where I can be the most flourishing version of myself…whatever that means at this particular season. I believe, tho’, that it always encompasses movement and nourishment, joy and contentment, and caring, of all sorts.

Flourishing has been difficult to come by for many of us since the pandemic arrived. A difficult menopause has added another layer of challenge for me. But the cool evenings, the quieting in the fields and woods, the gentle breezes beginning to make the leaves drift, and the…hmmm…inclination …seems to be coming back to life out of summer’s languishing. I hope to help us gather up these tiny threads of inclination, add some strong and beautiful threads of practice and ritual and weave the well-being that will give us roots…roots to hold us steady as we welcome Autumn and look to Winter’s rest beyond it.

Tho’ the dogwood flowers aren’t as seasonal as I would like, this old image best captures what I am seeking for myself just now…and you…that we offer ourselves something wholesome and encouraging to brighten and support our days…our lives. Perhaps this missive is enough to spark that care within you, if you are in need of it. Perhaps you are desiring more, some company and breadcrumbs to follow? If so, I invite you to join us at Wisteria & Sunshine as we begin our weaving our well-being there tomorrow.

It is, as always, a dear privilege to write to you!I hope your last days of summer are golden and that you may welcome Autumn with open arms when it arrives…

xo

Lesley

 

P.S. And please know these missives look most attractive at my web-home, where you may also find posts from the past and links to what I am up to elsewhere.

a postcard from deep summer…

Last week a friend led me to a NY Times article about languishing. It described the state many of us find ourselves in because of the pandemic…somewhere between depression and flourishing. Languishing is not new to me (tho’ I love having such a satisfying word for it) as I’ve found myself there now and then for many years. But the pandemic (and menopause) mean that lately it has felt deeper and lasted much longer than usual.


Summer, when it fully arrives with sultry heat and the weeds that glory in it, is when I languish the most-pandemic or no. These photos are all from lovely June…before the milkweed flowers and the hydrangea faded…and the white, haven-like rooms upstairs were still comfortable…and the poison ivy and insects of all sorts hadn’t overcome me.

These days, I am mostly inside in front of a fan, except for brief morning walks if I wake up early enough or a trip to the mailbox in the shade of an umbrella. The garden is also languishing because I am, and I feel ok about that, most of the time. We pick blackberries, the tomatoes are coming on, the potatoes harvested. I can do without garden-fresh squash and beans and cucumbers, tho’ that is probably a sign of my languishing that I feel so.

But now that my beloved tennis tournaments are finished and I don’t have those long hours of escape…and knowing I really do want to feel more lightness in my days (and my body!)…and tossing in the loneliness that I fully acknowledge is my companion of late, an idea came to me that I am bringing into being at Wisteria & Sunshine. It is my gentle antidote to languishing. Sort of a summer camp but only because it is summer : ) and I want it to feel more like play than anything else. Doing something in company felt like an important ingredient, since knowing that others feel as you do is comforting, and doing something together is also heartening, for all of us who might be seeking a remedy for malaise, whatever its source.

It was interesting to read in the languishing article that the remedy is…

“Taking on a small but achievable challenge – a project, a puzzle, a modest goal – that can sharpen your focus and rekindle your enthusiasm for life.”

…for even before reading the article, I had begun to ponder ways to lift my spirits, cope with familiar summer struggles and how to share it within the sheltered walls of Wisteria & Sunshine. Those ponderings have evolved into tiny projects, explorations and attentions (we’ve just begun in the last few days with a summer notebook and a prompt!) that will unwind throughout the rest of the summer, as a part of the gentle summer we were already seeking there. Gently is really the only way I can look after my life now, the only way I wish to. And it seems to be striking a chord amongst our gathering, too. I’m even thinking about re-opening the Rosehip Business room at Wisteria & Sunshine, so those of us with businesses can have a peaceful place to discuss how to look after them gently, too. It’s all of a piece, of course.

As I end this missive, I am aware that you may reading it at my blog, or you may be reading it in your inbox…this is new. In the spirit of simplicity, this is what I’ve come up with to make it easier to keep in touch. The spam comments at my blog were just becoming too ugly to keep in my life, and the old newsletter system was yet another place to login and keep track of. Hopefully, this brings it all together in a way that still looks and feels the way you have come to expect. Tho’ I noticed that the pretty cursive fonts I use for emphasis on my blog don’t translate to the emails, and I am sorry about that.

These posts/missives are the most pleasant to look at on the blog, so do click over if you’d like. Comments are closed there, so if you would like to respond to these missives, simply reply from your inbox. And if you are reading at my blog but not yet receiving these posts as emails, please sign-up to do so via the “newsletter” link at the top of the page. There. Housekeeping done.

That just leaves me to wish you a lovely, not-too-hot week ahead, and that you find refreshment in it, whatever the weather. And all of my fond thanks for welcoming me into your inbox! It would be a joy to see you at Wisteria & Sunshine, if you are not already in our company there.

xo

Lesley