This photo, taken on a walk along the G.W.Parkway in Alexandria, VA, this month, reminds me of Shakespeare’s sonnet 73, one of my favorites. I guess it’s kind of melancholy, but winter is in general bittersweet — the hibernation and dying off that makes new growth possible in the spring. I used to hate winter and can’t say I don’t whine when I have to go to work in the biting cold, but I also have a better appreciation for it since I spent last January in London and loved it. Loved bundling up, loved walking home in the dark, stopping to buy a cup of pomegranate seeds from grocery stall, the sacred seed that reminds me of Demeter and Persephone. I’ve been thinking today of things I love about the earth pared down and somehow pithier:
— Christmas lights on all the fire stations, especially the old brick firehouses in downtown Charleston. The two near my office are simply decorated with strings of colored lights outlining the contours of the whole building, and it makes me so happy to drive by them on my home at dusk or dark.
— Winter Song by Sara Bareilless & Ingrid Michaelson.
— Nars Space Odyssey silver glitter nail polish, in honor of light and tinsel and the winter solstice.
— A recipe a coworker shared with me today for easy white bean, kale and sausage soup that even I could pull off. I can’t wait to make and eat a bowl of this with a glass of red wine and a piece of crusty bread.
— Making Cocktail Hour mixed CDs for New Year’s presents.
— Coming out of therapy, feeling happy and weight-less and having to wait for a white horse drawing a carriage to pass before I crossed the street. I forget that what seems ordinary in Charleston — getting caught in traffic behind a horse-drawn carriage and bitching about it the whole time — is such a gift.
— Watching Love Actually again, a cheesy heartthrob of a movie for the holidays.
— Drawing names in my family for Secret Santa gifts and avoiding the manic consumerism that usually has me ready for a strait jacket. Best. Holiday. Ever. It means being able to take time to select a gift for one person that is intentional and not hastily improvised.
— Coming home in the dark and plugging in my year-round Frida-like porch lights. Hello little house, sweet little Happy Shack — I love you!
— A cold December rain outside while I’m warm inside under my down duvet. Realizing how undeservedly lucky I am. Why am I at home and not homeless? I need to give more and take less.