Winter's arrival heralds a time for reflection, planning and goal-setting and is the time of year that finds me at my most creative. Like my plants in their Winter slumber below the soil, I retreat to the depths of my mind and spirit to bring about new growth in the year ahead.
The Village Wise Woman Gardens are asleep for the coming cold days and nights of Winter, covered in layers of decaying Autumn leaves and bits of evergreen branches not used in our Yule wreaths, swags and vase arrangements. Only a few plants and bushes continue to grow - the holly in pots at the patio entrance, the Burkwood's Broom in the rock garden, the assorted evergreen bushes and trees, and, amazingly, my Japanese Honeysuckle, which still has bright red flowers on it and mostly bright green leaves. A couple of chrysanthemums are still green and leafy but the flowers have since vanished. With the gardens mostly barren now, it is time to plan for the Spring.
The first of my yearly gardening catalogs arrived today and, when I discovered it in my mailbox, I broke into a happy dance. I find immense peace in curling up near a radiator on a cold snowy day with a cup of herbal tea in one hand and a gardening catalog in the other. It is what gets me through the Winter. I can sit for hours paging through these little booklets of hope and happiness, jotting down notes on certain plants, sketching out garden beds in notebooks with colored pencils, and researching and planning uses for herbs that will be grown in the coming year. Even as snow flurries were falling this morning, I was in the garden bundled in my heaviest sweater and gloves pondering the herb garden and deciding that it must be expanded this Spring. I also took a few moments to lament the plants that did not work out in the past or did not find their way to my gardens. Ah, in the Spring...
Many a Winter day will bring hours of writing, working on my books or blogs or articles. I have always done my best writing in Winter months. As a teenager, I would sit for hours on snowy nights by my bedroom window banging away at the keys of my Mom's typewriter and page after page of fiction would accumulate on the floor next to me. The stormier the weather, the more writing I would accomplish. A blizzard was always welcome because it meant at least a day off from school and many more hours of writing. Now, as a working mom and wife, there is not as much time for writing but Winter seems to allow for it more easily, especially now that my son is a teenager. A spiral-bound copybook full of notes that will complete Book Number One awaits transcription in the coming months and another full of article and blog ideas awaits their turn to come to fruition. I am already thinking about ways to grow this blog, maybe changing its name slightly, promoting it a bit more, and adding some new features. This is always a work in progress but more so in the Winter.
Winter is a time of deep reflection for me as well. I look back at the past year, at its triumphs and its shortcomings, at my own successes and failures. I try to sort the past year's events, emotions, and information into their proper places in my mental filing cabinet. There are many things to be sorted through this year - the book that was supposed to be but was sidetracked by life events, the close friendship that seems to have come to an end, the growing pains of being the mother of a teenage son, a bit of family turmoil, and the projects that were never even started. In some of these things, I gained much wisdom and learned many lessons about myself and about others. Some things need to be placed in temporary folders because they will be addressed again or brought to fruition in 2013. Other things just need to go in that closed but classified folder in the very back of my brain to be accessed only if absolutely necessary. And then there are the no-longer-needed things that I just need to get out of my head and into the trash bin. Much of this mental filing goes hand-in-hand with my writing and will find its way into their approriate folders through putting thoughts onto paper (or screen).
There is much to look forward to in 2013, chief among them is the anticipated birth of my sister's child. I can't wait to hold my niece, to read to her, to sing to her, to take her out into the garden on a warm Spring day and tell her all about the faeries that live under the lilac bush. There is also the completion and, hopefully, the publishing of Book Number One. I can't wait to have it out of my head, onto paper, and put into the Pagan world for reading. There are numerous herbal crafts to be made, like candles and soaps for which the hubby gave me several items to aid in their crafting for Yule/Christmas this year. There are the home repair projects that my husband has on his Honey-Do list that will bring my home closer to what I envision for it. I am excited to see where the continued writing of this blog and my column at The Pagan Household takes me. There is wisdom and knowledge to gain from all of the wonderful Pagan authors and writers I admire and respect. There are people to meet, new friends to make, new connections to be forged. And, of course, there is the magick of my Village Wise Woman Gardens.
So, as 2012 spins towards its end and 2013 comes upon our doorsteps, I welcome Winter, cold and snowy days, gardening catalogs in my mailbox, words appearing on my laptop screen, meditations on what was, what is and and what will be, a new little life, new readers, new writers, and herbs and flowers galore. I wish all of you a joyful, peaceful, healthy, and prosperous new year. May it bring good things to all of you! Blessed Be!