Midwinter Musings

I’ve been pretty grumpy lately, frustrated with the fact that I miss the Sun’s whole show since it rises as I walk into work and sets before I walk out the door. A few days ago, however, it snowed. Oh, I griped and I moaned as I made my way to work behind the salt truck and tried to park in the freshly plowed lot among cars that were obviously parked before the lines were visible. But at the end of the day when I parked my car in my own driveway, I found myself idling in the yard instead of rushing to get in out of the cold. The sky was clear and full of stars and the snow, it glowed. It was almost as bright as daylight. In the quiet not-quite-darkness, I could hear the whisper of the promise of new light just a few weeks away and my griping was at an end. For the moment anyway.

I decided that I would make some greeting cards for friends and family instead of just buying them from the pharmacy. It’s more personal and it’s hard to find things that aren’t Christian themed and/or hokey. That got me thinking about poetic verse and I wished I could come up with something to capture that moment standing in my yard amid the glow of freshly fallen snow in the stillness of the Earth’s sleep. I searched and decided I was going to have to write my own But alas, words failed me and I was frustrated again. On my way to yet another appointment, I was listening to NPR, as I almost always do. As synchronicity would have it, Mary Chapin was being interviewed on the Diane Reems show. She has just put out a new Christmas album and she said that she really wanted a Solstice song on the album but there were none to be found. So she wrote one. They played it, and it was lovely. I’ll be buying this album, I think. Inspired, I ended up making enough cards that I have extras to take down to our local occult shop to sell on consignment. Nice.

It’s my turn to host our family holiday party at my house this year. Grandma & Grandpa can’t afford to get gifts for all the grandkids this year. They’re living on retirement and prices have gone up on everything. My dad is looking at a pay cut if he’s lucky enough not to get laid off. Two of my sisters are unemployed and my brother-in-law just got a job offer out of state so they’re getting ready to move. My husband and I are both working two jobs (I feel so guilty I have two jobs when my sisters have none!) but it doesn’t seem to be helping the cash flow much. We love giving gifts in my family, even more than receiving them, but this year gift-giving has become more of a stress than a joy. Grandma & Grandpa usually present gifts to all the grandkids and the heads of all the families at the holiday party and the hostess (that’s me) usually gives everyone a small gift, like an ornament or a candle or something. We’re talking 20+ people. This year, who can afford that? I’ve decided to have a white elephant gift exchange instead. I think it’ll be fun. And nobody will have to buy anything, just wrap up that old whatchamacallit they’ve got collecting dust in the basement since Great Aunt Lola or their boss gave it to them years ago. At least I hope that’s how it’ll turn out. I hope nobody feels like they have to spend money on their white elephant…

This time of year I always feel like I’m waiting. Waiting for the Solstice and the sun’s return. Waiting for that week off when I can finally get something done. Waiting in traffic. Waiting for the car to warm up enough to see out the windows. Waiting for that “Indian summer” when I can get some outdoor yard work done. Instead, I should be resting, like the Earth is doing. But I’m a Gemini, and I’m in a hurry! I think I’m going to turn some of that waiting time into meditating time. It’ll be good for me.

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