Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
White fog hugs the earth,
tickles skin with small raindrops,
obscures my vision.
As soon as Christmas is done, I’m ready for spring. We’ve had cold weather already, a winter storm or two, maybe some snow and ice, we’ve survived another round of holidays, and we’ve cleaned up after the mess. The everyday dirt I live with comes into clear view without the disguise of red, green, blue, sliver, and gold distractions. I’m ready for open doors and fresh air and getting the corners cleaned out. I’m not very good at keeping corners clean in the first place but it weighs on me most after Christmas.
When I have all the holiday decorations put away, the wrapping paper and ribbons stowed for next year, I wash and dry the Christmas tablecloth. I may not do anything else all day but on January 1, the first day of the new year, I dress my dining table with a fresh, clean, pure white cloth, a blank slate with which to begin the new year. I choose some new doodad – a piece of art glass, a vase, a colorful dish, or a tray – to sit in the middle of my Oregon myrtlewood Lazy Susan along with my tiny crystal salt and pepper shakers. I feel even more satisfied if it is raining and, I don’t care what the temperature is, I have to open the door for the minute or two it takes to change the cloth. Placing the white cloth on the table helps me set my mind toward the next three months of late winter before spring breaks the spell. A fresh, clean, white, cold start to the year. Snow or no snow.
I know it sounds a little OCD; I prefer to think of it as a New Year’s ritual, a way to cleanse myself and my home to be ready for whatever the new year brings. I remember laughing with my mom after explaining how I did one of these rituals, and she asked me when I became so fussy. I imagine it was when I started having to take care of my own things without her picking up after me. She might be relieved to know at least I’m not fussy enough to iron the white cloth. Nope, not dragging out the ironing board and the iron for a job that would take less time than getting it out and putting it away again. Crinkled white cloth is good enough for the ritual. I’m not the best housekeeper and if you saw my house you’d think, no, not that fussy. So, not that OCD, either.
My intellectual brain is ready for Flower Watch, for warming temperatures and sunlight, and my earth-grounded body is still in hibernation mode. There isn’t enough light yet during the day. When I come home from work it’s dark already and instead of being inspired to move and do more, I want to snuggle with a book. The solstice is at least an intellectual, if not actual, comfort as the mark of increasing minutes of light in the near future.
Early last fall I had the feeling we were in for a hard cold winter because we had an early fast autumn. It’s been cold enough, but we haven’t had much in the way of rain or moisture. In Oregon statistically we get the most snow and ice and wintery weather in February. We could still have ours coming. When the son was small the household rule was to play in the snow no matter the time of day or night because it might be gone by morning or by noon or after school. Oregon snow can be a be-here-now occurrence.
I was a Camp Fire Girl in my youth and every February we sold candy, superior quality Oregon-made Van Duyn Chocolates. Back in those days kids could safely do door-to-door sales without their parents, though we always used the buddy system and never went alone. We canvassed the neighborhoods knocking up every household we thought needed a box or two for Valentine’s Day or gifting or themselves. Some of the old lady and elderly households were targeted for repeat sales, because it was harder for them to get out to shop. Every year it snowed in February, sometimes knee deep, but the candy sale only lasted a few weeks. We either sold it or bought it ourselves, which wasn’t happening so, with other neighbor girls who were also Camp Fire Girls, we’d slide on our winter snow boots and tramp through the snow, the ice, the wind, and the rain to sell yummy chocolates. Standing there on somebody’s doorstep, shivering, dripping with rain or snow, big eyes and smiles saying please and thank you, you could sell a lot of candy. Several years I paid or helped pay my way to summer camp with candy sales. Mom often was the distributor, so we’d have a garage full of the cases of candy waiting to be picked up to sell by other group leaders until it was all sold. I never got tired of that sweet sugary chocolate smell from all those cases stinking up the house.
Our Christmas stockings are always stuffed full of chocolates. Chocolate, as everybody knows through vast amounts of scientific studies, cures everything. Santa says so too. This week I will open my door, shake out my white tablecloth, change my centerpiece, and munch a piece of chocolate to welcome the new year. The paperwhite narcissus will drop the last of its flowers upon the cloth. I’ll wait for Flower Watch which will show soon enough, while snuggling with my Winter Classic Read, and remain alert for changes in the weather. We still have plenty of time this winter for snow.
Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – soft bright green mosses;gray curly lichen fingers; pale green leaves on yellow bamboo stalks; evergreen ivy; brown leathery leaves clinging to mostly naked trees.
Currently Reading – The Good Death: The New American Search to Reshape the End of Life (sociology) by Marilyn Webb; The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives (sociology and politics) by Sasha Abramsky; The Abominable (a novel) by Dan Simmons. Yes, concurrently.
Winter Classic Reading Choice 2014: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
This week I have been grateful for:
- The son, who listened when I told him I didn’t want him to spend his money on a thing for me. I wanted him to spend his time with me. He came over on Christmas Eve, spent the night, and shared half the next day with us. I loved every minute.
- His dad, who didn’t tell the son what for for not bringing a “gift/thing” when he realized I’d been given what I most wanted: time with my boy.
- Catching Buddy Guy celebrating his 77th birthday, video on OPB, playing music with 14 year old Quinn Sullivan. Man, this kid can play! I do love the Blues.
- The pool I use was warmer and more comfortable this week and I was able to move longer.
- A Christmas treat from See’s Candy (my fave is the dark chocolate truffle – heaven in a bite) in a little baggie left by a Christmas elf in my water sandal at the pool.
- Yellow bamboo with pale green leaves.
- A flock of little brown birds looking like ornaments in a leafless tree.
- Scoring a couple dozen farm fresh eggs.
- Trying a couple new recipes and having them turn out well.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.