“leave things be special “

I first noticed the banners on the lamposts and the artificial greenery being hung in town in early November and by the middle of November, there were Christmas ads and movies everywhere, the artificial red ribbons had joined the greenery and the familiar feeling of my spirit wanting to push back against it all had begun. When I grumble about these things (lament, mourn, sigh) Doug put’s on a grumpy old man’s voice and says “Get out of my yard, kids!” But I don’t think its a crotchety attitude, so much as wanting to let each season be its own particular self.

Thanks to Lissa, I found this, which illustrates it so well. As does the artist’s comment…sh-sh-sh. That is just what I want to do, gently put my finger on the mouth of the consumer machine of Christmas and hush it for awhile.

“With only a fortnight to go before Christmas Day Lulling people were beginning to bestir themselves about their shopping. London might start preparing for the festival at the end of October; Lulling refused to be hustled. October and November had jobs of their own in plenty. December, and that latter part at that, was the proper time to think of Christmas, and the idea of buying cards and presents before then was just plain silly.

‘Who wants to think of Christmas when there’s the autumn digging to do?’ said one practically.

‘Takes all the gilt off the gingerbread to have Christmas thrown down your throat before December, ’agreed another.”

-Winter in Thrush Green

Miss Read

On the way home from our Thanksgiving-in-the-city, I thought to look up the Splendid Table’s Thanksgiving broadcast that we had missed earlier in the day. In the second portion of the show (at around 32 minutes in, to be precise!) the host told a story about an elderwoman chef in New Orleans known for the dish she makes every year on Holy Thursday. In the way of things nowadays (Doug would be getting out his old man voice right about now : ) people began to clamor for it, to want it at other times, and her response was “Leave things be special.” Isn’t that lovely? As is the whole little conversation around this story in the show. Do give it a listen if you feel the way I do about this rush to Christmas.

Tho’ I have been pondering all of the people I know, especially women, who love to break out the Christmas music, movies and decorating as soon as possible and who are also wonderful at enjoying other seasons thoroughly and well. I would love to understand. Of course there are the warm, nostalgic feelings that come with Christmas that I can understand wanting to wrap up in. I guess I can’t sustain that for weeks and weeks and weeks. And I am also not good at overlooking the noise and shininess and the pressure that come with the quieter bits. Honestly, even I could handle it all more gracefully, I just don’t want to. Anticipation is something I value and enjoy and I simply don’t need or want weeks and weeks of Christmas. It seems incompatible with the beauty and meaning of the Winter holidays to me. And I guess I can’t separate the waste and harm that ripples out from the way mainstream Christmas unfolds.

So I’ll keep trying to walk next to this smaller stream of honoring and festiveness, still noticing the leaves on limbs and underneath my feet, and the beautiful spareness that is growing all around and wait for my Christmas season to begin.

How about you?

P.S. And tho’ this wouldn’t at all work for the Lulling folk, I will be closing my shop earlyish in December, so that I can sink into Christmas when it does come near for me. So please order in the next week or so if you are planning to. And if you aren’t, but you appreciate what I make and do, I would so appreciate the sharing of my work in whatever way you like to share…Pinterest, blog mentions, Instagram. I am coming right out and asking because it is the loveliest sort of advertising and I need the word to spread farther than it has so far. I’ve been making Pinterest-worthy pictures in my shop listings and have also been trying to pin what I make a little more often so it is out there in the world. So grateful!

quail song

I walked a new-mown path the other morning, near the tangle of pines and grapevine at the edge of the hayfield. A few strides along, I startled-and was startled by-a quail rising up with an explosion of small wings. As my heart simmered down, I watched to make sure she didn’t go too near the road and felt grateful all over again for the return of the quail to our land after many years when they went missing. As I stood, I heard the loveliest, liquid murmuration nearby and thought of larks, flutes and rills tumbling over pebbles. I stepped closer to the music and spied a few, fluttering baby quail leaping away from me, then the mama quail came right at my head and I quickly backed away up the path.

As I put more and more distance between myself and the quail family, hoping I hadn’t disturbed them too deeply, still absorbing the astonishment of the tiny quail songs, I reflected upon how so often when I try to get closer to the earth, I can also feel like an intruder…the napping fawn I frightened in a walk through the overgrown pasture, the spider webs I damage as I walk at the wood’s edge. It’s a dilemma. Yet I know that one of many possible responses is simply to slow down…walk on the driveway when I want to be brisk, perhaps. And walk in a gentler rhythm elsewhere on the land.

Rhythms and patterns have been much on my mind of late, and this passage from Wise Child has struck me all over again…

“Maeve is wicked, isn’t she? I said at last. I was thinking not just of the wax doll but of the sad, ragged children I had seen stumbling under the weight of the tree trunk.

Juniper shrugged. “That’s not a word I like to use,” she replied. “She does not live in the rhythm, however-she uses her power for her own advantage, and that is always a pity because it does great harm.”

“Sorcerers, you mean?”

“That sort of person. It doesn’t matter what you call them. Once you start controlling other people, whatever your motive, you become a sort of sorcerer. Those people are not on the side of life, Wise Child, but they are powerful.”

“You mean–a witch?”

“That’s just a vulgar word for it that can mean all kinds of things.. The word we use is doran.” Juniper went on to explain that the word doran came from our Gaelic word dorus, an entrance or way in (the English have a word very like it). It was someone who had found a way in to seeing or perceiving.

“Seeing or perceiving what?”

Juniper hesitated. “The energy,” she said at last. “The pattern.”

Over the years, I have held the idea of living in or out of rhythm quite literally…with the routines of everyday life…and on a more symbolic scale, when trying to make sense of all that is wrong in the world. Just now, those are both significant to me, but an added thread of online life is weaving its way in. Tho’ it was an aim of mine in my recent at-home, upstairs biz retreat to get clarity on where and how I want to share online and to establish rhythms and patterns for that sharing…here I am, weeks on, still in a muddle about it all. My head helped me work out some of the answers during my retreat, but my heart has said otherwise in the trying to take action on those answers.

It is really this post all over again, with all that five years of living with social media adds to it. And gosh, what that has layered on! Goodness and connection, to be sure. But lately, more than the goodness, I am noticing the difficulties…how the simple stream of photos and words has become encrusted with stories and tv and emoji bars and suggestions and ads every 3 or 4 posts…and that I have to exert myself, energetically and emotionally not to notice or care too much about the numbers and likes…and mostly, that I am just sickened by all of the manipulations and machinations and trying to slog my way through the mire of them.

Have I been writing a meta post, as I believe Sarah and Lissa have described in the past? One that only speaks to those trying to nurture businesses online, in addition to all of the other reasons for being here? I wonder…please let me know. Perhaps I am just trying to work out a way of walking more gently in this webby world, too? And trying to see and perceive what ways of being online are in the rhythm, and which aren’t? Perhaps you are doing the same?


P.S. Part of the gentling is rearranging my website in the old blog-style. I’ll be adding more to the sidebar as ideas come. And I think I’ve fixed the comment bug that was sending everything to moderation and not letting me know.