We are all tucked in. Cozy, warm. Together.
Harvests are on hiatus. We have a minimum of morning chores to tend to. Feed and water the hens and the growing pigs. Feed and water–and play–with the small chicks in the greenhouse.
Mostly, we sit by the fire and play games and read stories. In this down time, we reweave the strings that hold us together that we inevitably stretch thin in the hay days of summer, all of us throwing ourselves outward, even as we are always all here, on this farm and in these days, with each other. Because summer is its own wild beast of living.
And so winter.
We take this time and use it to tend to each other in our winter ways, and the whole, wonderful cycle works, for us.
This winter we have been simultaneously blessed and cursed with clear skies and cold temps. Without our covering of grey skies and Pacific Northwest rain, we are getting full on that metallic tasting winter air that so many others hold on their tongues always through this season. I love it. I hate it. I can step outside and feel like I am, for a moment, tucked away in the mountains of Colorado or out in the wide open countryside or quiet plains town of Nebraska. This kind of winter feels like home to me, as much as I am ultimately a part of this lush, temperate valley now.
It was single digit cold here last night. That is more cold than we are used to. We all are weathering this fine, although we have used more wood than ever for this time of year and the water to our house is frozen.
No matter the temperature, though, these cold, slow days are so full of time, there is the feeling one could get so much done. I could get a lot of things done. Things that would make me happy, things I have been waiting all summer to get to. On top of that, there is all the extra things one could do, to celebrate. But instead, in December, I sit. I wait.
I have learned so much about letting go, it is ridiculous. Every day, we must wake up in the morning and remember what matters, and so much of it, doesn’t.
I have learned that the sweetness of this month isn’t in the doing, that it is in the waiting. In the quiet and the stillness.
In our home, there are all the inevitable squabbles of four children inside so much, the eruption of bodies needing to move more that turns our small home into a wrestling ring or race track every evening before bedtime. The frequent sighs of boredom, the excited as well as impatient expectancy of Christmastime.
But there is a softer side to all of this too. There is more skin time, more snuggles on the couch. There are news ways of playing, discovered. There are knitting needles in my lap, slowly working again towards the only gift worth giving my dear husband, my heart poured into some thing to keep him warm while he works.
I do get itchy, who doesn’t? I want the new year to start, all fresh and full of promise. As always, as everyone, I have big plans.
But this last beautiful month on the calender is for the waiting. Expectantly, hopefully. Equal parts joy at the dusting of snow and ice to play on as well as trembling and fear, the desperate desire for the return of the sun.
All the work of December is done on the inside. There is only the barest perception that it’s there, but it is some of the most important work we do of the year.
Fueling our lights for the new.
All tucked in. Warm, cozy.