We’re in that space between the winter solstice and the New Year. Unless you are a committed last-minute shopper, most of the hustle of the season has ended. It is time to raise a cup, relax, and enjoy the celebrations. It is a time of quiet, a breath before the round of New Years eve parties and Super Bowl buffets.
It is the darkest time of the year. The solstice marks the sun’s return, but we won’t really notice that the days are getting longer for at least a month. The holiday lights reflected on the snow bring a hint of magic to the darkness. It is a time to review the past year and make plans (goals and dreams) for the next.
This is a family time of year. That family may be blood, or may just be your close friends. But it is a time to connect with those we love and care about. It is a time to share, not only in our exchange of presents but in our presence.
The darkness can be bittersweet, especially for those who have suffered a recent loss. I have had years where much of my silence was missing companions. I have had years where I couldn’t afford to purchase gifts and had to make due. I have had years where my children and I were adopted by secret Santa’s who made our holidays bountiful in spite of our poverty.
At the heart of the darkness is the light that comes from gratitude. I am grateful for the loved ones in my life. I am grateful to have the opportunity to spend time and share laughter. I am grateful to have food, and warmth, and shelter, knowing there are many who go without. I am grateful to have the energy to participate in the holiday season in ways I couldn’t even imagine a year ago.
I am grateful to people I’ve never met who have bought my books and who read my blog. I’m grateful for the opportunities and ability to express myself and for my voice to be heard. I’m grateful for the family and friends who support me, promote me, and direct others to my work.
I am grateful to still be open to growth and learning. I’m grateful for the opportunities I have to further my education either through independent research or through classes. I’m grateful for the writers who inspire me, who make me think, and who challenge my world view. I’m also grateful for the one’s who express what I feel more eloquently than I could manage on my own.
May you find the space to take a breath in this part of the seasons celebrations. May you welcome in the magic, and the darkness, and the light. May you find renewal at the center of the unknown. Please cherish this Yuletide Season. Happy Holidays!
This time between Halloween and Thanksgiving is often a breathing space for me. I’m lucky enough not to have to host the Thanksgiving event. Even my expected contributions towards the food are pretty simple.
This year, with a blanket of snow on the ground that appears to be here to stay, I’m even more inclined to take some “time off”. All I want to do is curl up and hibernate.
Maybe it’s the longer, darker days. Even night owls are “brighter” during the full moon. Last weekend the moon was new, which means those nights are darker and seem longer. Maybe it’s the cold. Even with the furnace on, crawling out of a warm cozy bed in the morning isn’t appealing.
There is a food piece attached to this as well, although I’ve not quite figured out what it is. I know it is typical to eat a little more as the days get colder. I know it is typical to eat to stay awake, rather than wandering off to bed as soon as it gets dark. I know that I think I want “heavier” foods these days.
I’m just 4 months post bariatric surgery. Heavy foods don’t really sit well and even if they do we’re talking one bite. I really wanted a hamburger the other day. I ran out the door so breakfast was haphazard and lunch was late. My mind had me stopping at a restaurant (like Fuddruckers) and getting a 1/3lb burger with cheese and bacon on an artisan bun with a side of fries and a salad.
I did stop at the store on the way home to get some hamburger I didn’t have to thaw. Picked up some cheese as well. I made a 2oz burger with cheese and ½ a piece of bacon and some barbecue sauce rather than ketchup. I made a little (¼ cup) salad with lettuce and tomato (one small slice diced) and some balsamic dressing. It was really too much. And it was also really plenty to satisfy that craving.
Orion got a serious burger and fries for dinner. I still wasn’t hungry. In fact he got dinners from that pound of hamburger for several days. My second 2oz burger is still in the refrigerator.
Thanksgiving marks the end of autumn for me and the beginning of the winter holiday season. I’ll let Orion listen to Christmas carols in the car. (He’d be happy having them playing year round.) I’ll come out of hibernation and start baking and planning for the holidays.
In the meantime, maybe I’ll just relax and enjoy a little bit of quiet time.