It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready. ~Sarah Kay (American poet)
I’m not ready. I’m not ready for Christmas, I’m not ready for winter, I’m not ready to wake each morning into the dark and cold world of late December. This morning, I awoke to snow and bitter temperatures under a dark gray sky and murmured to Angel “I’m not ready.” She sighed a doggy sigh and snuggled closer, ready to dream some more and pulling me in her wake.
It is no wonder that Christmas and many other traditions celebrate this time of the year with lights. In the northern hemisphere, the light of dawn comes late and the fading light of dusk comes early. With so few daylight hours and so many of them gray and dark, the bold and hopeful lighting of many lights is necessary to the human spirit and a reminder that the days will soon grow longer.
This year, our unusually mild weather has allowed me to work in the garden deep into what is usually a cold snowy month. I’ve accomplished garden chores that often get delayed until spring – the leaves gathered and shredded, the trees and shrubs pruned, the summer soil from the pots emptied into the woodland’s edge for building new beds. I’ve already planned next year’s garden – the seeds to start, the plants to order, the perennials to propagate. In fact, it is focusing on next year’s garden that has softened the sting of the coming of winter.
The effects of El Niño are predicted to extend our weather into a long mild winter here in the mid-Atlantic states. It may be global warming, it may be a temporary weather pattern, but whatever it is, I admit that I will welcome a mild winter after the severe weather conditions that have prevailed for the past few years.
I’m cutting branches of pine and holly to decorate the house, I’ve strung many lights on the tree, and I’m planning the Christmas feast for our family, but in my heart, it is all about garden dreams – the return of nature’s light and warmth and new growth. Winter is about endurance of the cold and dark, spring is about the renewal of life. Today, I dream of sugarplums and spring flowers. Here’s to the return of light to the world and to your life- may you be ready for whatever comes.
December’s wintery breath is already clouding the pond, frosting the pane, obscuring summer’s memory… ~John Geddes
I bit late – but at least I’m here. Along your theme, the transition into winter (for whatever reason) has been abnormal. It seems that touch of cold we got was a reminder that we haven’t been forgotten in the midst of the warmer than usual pattern. Nonetheless, great that you got to extend your gardening time.
In terms of readiness, I’m not sure if we ever are ready for winter … especially as we get older.
Frank, I am sure you are right about readiness for winter. I used to mock the northern “snow birds” who retired to Florida in the winter. Now I know why! Actually, I do love seeing the entire year in its changing moments and will always treasure those changes. I think that this rant was really the feeling that, being far too busy at work, I missed all of the seasonal transitions and by the time I was on vacation, I was pushed from full bloom to full dormancy! Ah, another type of change :-} Now, as I continue to mellow out in the mild weather, I’m embracing the beauty of the world as it is, not as I would wish it to be (full flower show ALL the TIME!). Deep breath, and embrace the slow motion of winter.
Thanks for stopping by and contributing your wise insights.
If it’s any consolation, the days will only get longer from here on out.
Hi Kerry and thanks for the encouraging words. I know we just tipped over the solstice last night – hooray!
In your Eastern Time zone the winter solstice will arrive at 11:48 tonight. Can spring be far behind?
A cause for celebration, Steve, but yes, spring will be a while in coming! At least January and February have more daylight hours.
Yes, like Samson’s hair, the days will grow longer.
Having more lights in and outside the house is definitely the answer at this time of year! And I wouldn’t mind a mild winter for a change either 🙂
Have a wonderful holidays season! The days will get longer soon.
Diversifolius, you are so right about the lights. I’ve loaded the trees more than usual and added tiny LED’s to the wreath by the front door. There’s a reason that the “season of lights” exists – a counterbalance for those short days 🙂 Have a wonderful holiday season!
I’m not ready, either. But the seasons wait for no one. Have a very wonderful Christmas and an even better New Year!
Thank you, Eleanor, you are exactly right! The up side of that is, wait long enough and everything changes 🙂 A wonderful Christmas and a joy filled new year to you!
Thank you, Lynn, for that beautiful message, and for awakening new meaning in me into the lights of this season. May your holiday be filled with light!
Joe, so good to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by; I hope you had a great semester and enjoy a light filled holiday!
I do hope your winter is not too long – I always felt there was a time of mental as well as material preparation for the winter ahead in the UK and that was only occasionally truly harsh, but it was always grey and long. On the other side of the planet at the moment we are having the hottest ever recorded start to summer with 2 to 4 consecutive days of 40C – not so nice either.
Chas, we’ve had a few springs and summers like that too – it seems extreme one way or another, and not at all predictable. Here’ s to a lovely holiday season for you, with some cooler temps!
Thank you – we’ve enjoyed a cooler day with the kids today – really nice – have a lovely Christmas
A lovely Christmas to you and your family!
I think you’re on to something I’ve felt, too, Lynn, closer to describing, naming, identifying the roots of feelings buzzing under the surface for me…the strange weather, lack of snow and its reflective qualities…all confusing to my deeply-loved annual rhythms. It’s been so gloomy and WET here, too; not as fun to clean up the constant mud as a few drips from snow. Ah, well; I’ll treat it as an adventure! Blessings and love to you, and such joy that it lights your days for you till it’s time to dig and plant. 🙂
Kitty, I love the idea of treating this crazy weather as an adventure. I visited a lot of garden blogs this past week and it seems that there is unseasonably warm weather everywhere, with plants that should be dormant trying to bloom and sometimes succeeding! The sun keeps trying to emerge today, so that is reason enough to celebrate. Have a beautiful and merry Christmas season!
Lovely and winter-appropriate musings! I enjoyed the Geddes poem at the end. Yes, more light in heart and soul and hearth. Have a good holiday!
Thanks, Cynthia – more light to you as well 🙂
I think we are going to need more decorations than usual to make up for the gloomy winter.
Oh yes, I know what you mean, Tootlepedal! Plus, your area has had its share of stormy weather this season. I hope the waters have subsided. We actually had some sun today but the rain returns tomorrow. I”m adding a few more strings of lights to the tree tonight 🙂