Tag Archives: nature

The Light That Shines Within You

I’m always a little sad when summer draws to a close. I’m just not that much into winter. It’s cold, the roads are often treacherous, it’s dark more hours than light, (light being a relative term when gray days are the best I get). Mostly, it’s cold—bone chilling, mind numbing, freezes the breath in your lungs cold.

Do you know what passes for fun around here in the winter? Waiting for the exact right temperature below zero to blow soap bubbles and watch them freeze. If it’s not cold enough they just do their normal thing. If it’s too cold, they freeze and shatter almost instantaneously. It’s sort of like trying to stand an egg on end at the exact moment of the spring equinox. Good luck achieving either.

Don’t bother to tell me about wonderfully invigorating activities like skiing, snowshoeing, mushing, snowmobiling, ice fishing . . . it’s still cold. Doing those things in the cold is not fun. Anybody who tells you it’s fun is evil and lying, because you know misery loves company.

I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I don’t think there has ever been a more apt acronym. SAD is what I have and sad is what I am for the duration of Wisconsin winter. Vitamin D and full spectrum light exposure helps, a little. I’m still sad in winter.

My toes are sad they cannot expose their perfect pedicure in a rocking pair of sandals, or even peek out of a pair of peek-toe pumps.

My skin crawls at the feel of fabric covering every inch again. I spend weeks of transition pulling on jeans only to peel them off again. Perplexed and perturbed, I stand there in my grannie panties (who needs a thong up your ass when your skimpy wardrobe is relegated to storage) seriously debating the reality of living in my jammies for the next six months—or eight.

My ears are sad that they will not hear the lovely songbirds, the whisper-shimmy of leaves, the rumble of a thunderstorm and the pattering rain it brings, the hum of tires on bare pavement and the chorus of tree toads serenading the night outside my open window.

My nose is sad, missing the smell of cut grass, grill fires, and the scent of flowers and herbs growing in my gardens.

My tastebuds are sad, longing for a reunion with the flavor of fresh picked berries, corn on the cob, vine ripened tomatoes, peas and beans, or basil, thyme, sage and chives snipped from the herb bed just outside my door. Any of these shipped to the supermarket, out of season and from places afar taste like a big mouthful of nothing. Seriously, even cardboard has more flavor.

Don’t judge. You all know you’ve had a paper based product in your mouth at least once in your life, whether you ate a note you didn’t want to get caught passing or had the munchies so bad you neglected to peel all the cardboard away from the Twinkie before shoving it whole into your mouth. Whatever, I’m just telling you that even that pulp has more flavor than the winter produce we get in Wisconsin.

Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to escape to a warmer place for a few months, but I am not yet a full fledged snowbird.

I put this little visual together a few years ago. I watch it on the gray days. It helps me feel less sad—and less SAD, if you know what I mean.

I hope it lifts you into the light that shines within you.

Music Credit: Longtime Sun—Amrit Kirtan
Available on Sacred Circle from Spirit Voyage Record

 

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I’m blogging along with Effy Wild and her tribe for the whole month of September. Find out more here. This post is in response to a prompt for a give-away. I’m a writer—I give words. Here are some more of them, a different perspective of counting my blessing in the face of my SAD winters.
Making Peace With the Harbinger of Winter

 


Grounding

I spent a few very pleasant hours this sunny autumn afternoon grounding myself in nature. It’s something I don’t do as often as I’d like, or should. If only I would remember how good it is for me to get away from my work/the tech screens and out of my head.

Being outside, whether rain or shine, working or playing, draws my energy back down into my body, to my lower chakras. It reminds me that I am a spiritual being very much captive in a limited human form. The limitations mean I need rest, I need reconnection with my source energy. I need to ground.

Today I spent my time outdoors harvesting herbs from my garden gone wild—mint, culinary sage and native prairie sage, gently cleaning them, stripping any browned or spotted leaves and layering the best of my crop into my drying basket.

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My back porch makes the perfect drying room, facing the south and west it gets toasty warm in the late afternoon. The two exterior walls are brick, so it holds the heat for hours after dusk. With only one window out of range of any direct sunlight, the herbs can dry naturally on top of the high wardrobe without any discoloration caused by oxidation.

My back porch smells sooooo good, spicy and savory scents filling the 10×10 space. Dried Bee Balm and Mint

There was a previous crop of mint and bee balm in the basket all dried and waiting to be bottled. I can’t explain why I derive so much joy from seeing these natural, organically grown herbs filling up baskets, coffee filters and jars, but I suspect it comes from active connection to the web of life.

It’s magical, when you think about it. Shoots poking up through the dirt from scattered seeds or roots that laid dormant through a frigid northern winter. Coming to life, reaching for the light, budding, flowering and, eventually, dying back again. There is comfort in knowing they will return and live again next year.

The cycle of life, the manifestation of energy transformed through seasons.

Connecting with nature helps me internalize and accept the Five Remembrances:

am of the nature to grow old.
There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill-health.
There is no way to escape having ill-health.

I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love
are of the nature to change.
There is no way to escape being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground on which I stand.

 – Buddha

At face value, I suppose those words can be quite depressing, but their truth is inevitable. I am like the herbs I harvest and forage, here for a time, vital when conditions are favorable, but time passes and so it behooves me to stay present and enjoy the now.

A dear friend passed away earlier this week after first beating cancer several years ago, but then being stricken by Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. It was a long but valiant leaving; I don’t believe I ever saw him without a smile on his face and a cheerful disposition at the ready. I’m sure he had difficult moments and moments when he was being difficult, but in the loving care of his wife he continued to enjoy social engagement to the last. I’m guessing he didn’t waste time worrying about what was to come, but endeavored to stay grounded in the present.

He is now transformed; his spirit is free of the body that progressively limited his final years. He lives on in the memory of his wife and sons, his grandchildren, father and brother and his many friends.

Rest in Peace Mikey. May your spirit soar and your memory be eternal.

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