Friday, January 5, 2018

The Gifts of Winter

I will admit that I'm a finicky person when it comes to the seasons. Here in the Laurentians, I'm lucky enough to experience four seasons; though I find that spring and autumn are gradually getting shorter and we seem to be just having summer and winter lately!

Winter has a bad rap, I complain a LOT about the cold, the dark, the shoveling (my gosh, the shoveling...)...but in reality, I wouldn't have it any other way. :) I couldn't live in an area that didn't have winter the way I know it. I wrote this spread to try to find the good things about winter and what we can learn from them. Speaking of shoveling:

This is what my rental looked like in the winter of 2013. Snowed in? Nearly!! I cannot even begin to justify a complaint about shoveling when I remind myself of this (literal) pain in the neck lol! As the months crept by, the walkway got narrower and narrower lol...

When we think of the gifts of winter, it's good to use symbolism. Renewal is a big one. Rest, relaxation, thought, warmth and beauty are others. What symbols do you attach to winter? What about finding the good in the not-so uplifting symbols like darkness and cold?

Alex and I have created such a lovely home here that we feel very cozy and warm here. The chaos of the two extra dogs rattled us a bit this autumn!! But from that chaos came tranquility and even MORE love in this home!! 

Getting back to the Tarot spread...the biting truth that I need to learn and accept before the spring is that I have absolutely NO control over okay, that's extreme, but really the only thing I can control is my own mind. Just because I want something to happen; or someone to act in a certain way, doesn't mean it'll happen and I have to be okay with that. For the most part, I'm on board with this reality, but sometimes I fall into the trap...I wish that x, I wish that y, I wish that z. Wishing is fine, daydreaming and hoping for something is okay. But if it gets to the point where you become negative and lose appreciation for what you have in front of you...then it's time to rethink why you are so unhappy!

This is "Winky" (not his real name lol). :)))

Winky graced our bird feeder all winter last year. We saw him grow from a teeny little squirrel. I wonder if Winky will be back this winter? He was definitely a pure and beautiful animal who touched our lives last winter. There is so much beauty in Nature around us, I feel blessed that I'm able to take time to notice and appreciate it!


Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

This is such a beautiful post, Rain. And a wonderful way to honour winter, and even see it from a different perspective. I love your positive way of looking at things. Do you do a full tarot reading or do you pull out and card and meditate on that? Or maybe both? Thank you for stopping by my blog today and for your thoughtful email. I really appreciate it. I'm better tonight, although still full of grief. xo

Nicolas Hall said...

Rain I could not agree more about winter and the changing seasons. I grew up where the winters were similar to yours and the season was a big part of my best childhood memories. And though I no longer experience them I still find winter to be as important of an internal and introspective season. We receive the majority of our 60 inches of rain per year in winter months, much of it with brilliant storms that rock the coast. I miss the white mantle that covers everything though and the silence it brings to the world around you. The rain, well, it drowns out (no pun intended) the world but it is far from silent. I think I've mentioned my love of this Andrew Wyeth quote: "I prefer winter and fall, when you can feel the bone structure in the landscape---the lonliness of it---the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it---the whole story dosen't show.”

That is a mantra in winter for me. Even here the landscape changes and things die back but I DO appreciate the January arrival of the first flowers, Camelias, Daffodils, and Crocuses especially.

Symbols for me in winter. I will have to think on it. What I look forward to, the touchstones of winter, are the smell of a wood fire, the bite of a good freeze, the beauty of ice/icicles, the glint of sun on snow and the silence.

I feel the same about the inner landscape. Winter is a perfect time for doing that work. When I was younger I used to say I didn't trust people who couldn't tolerate inclement weather. lol But then I'm the one who gets a sort of reverse SADS when it's sunny too many days in a row. :) What I miss most, strangely enough, are the biting but clear, see-yout-breath days when the ground is covered with inches of fresh snow.

The squirrel is sooooo darling. DO let us know if it returns! We had one that visited my grandparents house/feeder in the winter for years. Winter meant putting nuts on the kitchen window sill for her to come and collect and, in Spring, we'd often find a stash or two when the snow melted though, much of the time, only the shells were left behind. : )

wisps of words said...

Wisdom here, my Dear.

We do not get any where near the snow, as you do. But I too, could not live, without the 4 seasons. And I like to try to find happiness, in whatever season is upon me. Whether or not, I "like" that particular season, or aspects of it. So, it's wise to make such a List. Find the joy in aspects, which aren't usually associated with joy, by many people.

I certainly do, do, do like the hibernation aspect of winter!!!! Sort of "time out." Being lucky enough now, to fully enjoy it.

Ahhh yes, accepting that the only thing we can change, is ourselves. Which goes with your "the only thing you can control is your own mind." Yes!!! I wish you well, with learning this, before spring, though. For myself, I will concentrate on trying to make this a part of me. And not worrying, if it doesn't fully stick. :-) For me, it's an ongoing job. Like so many other things.

But! Just the fact that we know we need to do these things, is wonderful. Not everyone actually realizes the truth of these things. They may go their whole lives, trying to "be in control." And trying to "change others." I think, just the knowing, is a big step.

Thank you for your thought provoking post!

Stay warm! If we are frigid, you must be extra frigid! Because you are 'above' us, on the map.

Toni said...

Are you familiar with Byron Katie. She wrote the book, Loving What Is. One of my favorite quotes from her is, “Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don't have to like it... it's just easier if you do.”

The only thing we really do control is how we react to the things around us. Having choices of how to react does give us just enough control.

Winter is pretty special. We don't get snow very often in our town but we are 45 minutes away from Mt. Lassen and an hour away from Mt. Shasta. Nothing like playing in the snow on volcanoes! We do get a lot of rain (typically) and I love listening to it fall on the roof and patio. I, too, love the smell of smoke from various chimneys.

The cycles of the moon are very important to me. The transition from inner world to outer world as the we go from dark moon to full moon and back. Winter is the great journey to within for me; time to contemplate, to let go and to recharge. When we first moved to California from Colorado I hated it here. The lack of 4 obvious seasons drove me nuts. After so many years, I discovered that we don't need the outer signs of winter but they sure are nice reminders!

Pam Jackson said...

Great mind set to have. I do my best to not become a negative person, I try to go with the flow and accept things the way they are or the way they go. I love animals but I have had my issues with squirrels. Fun to watch but they can do a lot of damage. Guessing I am covered with a dog, cat and a you are covered with your dogs and cats. I love that you have been able to adopt the extra dogs into your life and enjoy them now.

Rain said...

Thanks Martha :) Sometimes I forget to honour winter, but in fact, winter is the wisest of seasons! :) It symbolizes the Crone aspect of the goddess, wisdom, thought, experience...there are so many wonderful things that winter can bring to us if we give it a chance. :) When I write Tarot spreads, I pull a card for each question. When I started out, I would just look at the card's book meaning and interpret things that way. As I started to get used to the cards and their meanings, I looked at each one and felt my own meaning behind it. The trick is not to put "wishful thinking" into a card if you want to know something! I think you're really going to love the Tarot and the Oracle decks!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Nicolas :) The symbols of your winter are just like mine....the smell of a wood fire especially. There is nothing like it, it brings such a feeling of "cozy" to me! We have a fireplace here, but it is horribly insulated and we try not to use it too much, we keep it sealed through most of the winter, which I find kind of sad. But we are renting. When we buy, we'll have a great wood stove to heat the house. I had one in a previous home, and I lit that stove even on chilly summer mornings! But wood fires and winter seem to go hand in hand!

Alex is like you. He doesn't like too many sunny days. For him, fall and winter are the best days. The landscape takes on a bluish hue, and the snow lights up the yard even when there isn't a moon out. I LOVE the sun! But I do love the winter nights too...the stars really do come out in winter.

Winky was so cute and he was SO predictable! He would show up at the feeder like clockwork. If the dogs were out, he'd tease them for a while, chirp at them, jump on the feeder and feast, knowing that their ropes couldn't reach him! :) We have a few little black squirrels this winter, though all the critters are hiding lately with the deep freeze!

Rain said...

Hi Wisps of Words :) Your attitude is very wise regarding finding the happiness in each season. I think when we reach that level of thought, it's the key to enjoying each one for their particular aspects. In THEORY (my own theory lol), I would have summer year round...but that is because I love to garden and sadly my winter gardening efforts failed this year! But...I find even by September, I'm longing for cooler, darker nights...I am definitely a 4-season gal! :)

My biggest challenge currently is our dog situation. I don't know if you were following me when all of this happened, but our friend had to leave Canada in September to attend his father's funeral overseas. We were to babysit his 2 dogs for a week, maybe two at the most. We already have 3 dogs and 3 that was quite a favour we were doing! Well, a day before he was to come back, he EMAILED us and said he might NOT be coming back or maybe at Christmas, or maybe next summer. Long story short, it's January and we still have 8 pets. This causes us a lot of anxiety and stress. I WANT this deadbeat to finally give us some information, but he's waffling constantly. We (between me and Alex) made a decision about the situation and if he keeps waffling, he will lose his pets. But the waiting game causes me too much angst. This is the lesson I need to learn before the spring because this is how we set our ultimatum with him. I have NO control over what he does, responsible or irresponsible, and I'm really struggling accepting that. Mainly because I could never abandon my pets so quickly. He told us at one point, if you can't keep them, I understand, you can bring them to a shelter...really? Anyway, this is what I'm working very hard on currently and I'm hoping the Winter Crone will lend me her wisdom!!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Toni :) I really like that quote from Byron Katie!! No, I never heard of her but guess what? I just found her audio book and I'm downloading it as I type this! Thank you for the suggestion!!! :)

One of my daily mantras is "My mind, my soul, my heart are negativity will enter me....I can't change others but I can change me." I say that several times a day and it reminds me of that truth.

I just looked up Mount Lassen and Mount Shasta...boy you live in a beautiful area Toni! I have to say that autumn rain and wood fires burning give off a lovely fragrance! That's what I thought of when you described your rain on the roof and the smell of smoke from various chimneys! I had a condo a long time ago with a tin roof and I loved hearing the rain fall on it!

I like your way of thinking, that you don't need the outer signs of winter...I think I would still miss the visual though! :)

Rain said...

Hi Pam :) I do know the annoyance of squirrels...I had them in my walls one summer and it was NOT fun. Our feeder is all the way across the yard so we're okay with that. I take my photos with the zoom lens, it works really well! And thanks, it was a trying 4 months, but FINALLY the dogs are all getting along really well, even all playing together where one or the other would try to fight for dominance, yeesh. Glad that's over with.

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

This is a very good reminder to bring us back to our center. We cannot control the weather, the seasons and all that they bring. I am trying REALLY hard this year to focus on what each season is giving me. Even if it means I have to go out when it is -45 celcius. I am really trying with that one! :) That being said, I do love the snow. I could have snow each winter that echos your 2013 snow and be very, very happy. I just don't like the super negative temps!

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Rain! What a beautiful shot of Winky! I enjoyed this post, because I enjoy winter. I'm working on the same biting truth that you are; I've got to stop railing against the setbacks and accept the reality ` flow with it.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Those hands on Winky, so cute and the photois amazing. I love those 6 blessings of winter. Our recent snows here in Central Illinois have quieted my thoughts (and slowed my walks!) when I am doing chores in the evening.

Tammie Lee said...

One thing that I love about sincere seasons is that they bring you present. One can't ignore what is going on, if not for beauty than for safety. I love winter. The shoveling, plowing and sweeping snow are a good workout for sure. This year I even had to take the snow off the roof once. We are due for another storm starting tonight. I wonder if the forecast is right.

Wishing you wonder-full winter ah ha's.

Rhapsody Phoenix said...

Every thing has its season and with it comes trials and triumphs.
May we all navigate the trials triumphantly.

peace and blessings.
Happy New Year.

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :)) I'm trying too, to really accept and love what each season brings. But I do agree...when it's -45 it's hard to see the good in it lol! :)

Rain said...

Hi Louise :) Winky is so cute, I LOVE my "burst mode" on the camera, I get so many fun photos that way! :) It's so important to learn to go with the flow...but sometimes it's a very hard pill to swallow. Once we accept that we can't change most things, then it makes it easier. But I think that getting to that realization is tough because sometimes what we can't change causes too much anxiety, fear, name it. And we can't see beyond that. The biting truth needs to be seen though or we can't grow as people!

Rain said...

Hi Donna :) Quieting thoughts are wonderful! Especially on a cold night. :) And thanks, I got so lucky with that photo! :)

Rain said...

Hi Tammie Lee :) You're so right about the seasons bring you to the present. Winter especially. I do love the winter as well, but my body can't seem to handle the cold as much as it used to. Nor the is a good workout, but my body aches after! I'm glad Alex does most of it! :)

Rain said...

Hi Rhapsody Phoenix :) Thanks for your visit. :) Your comment is very nice, it's very true that every season brings joys and challenges. Happy New Year to you too! :)