a season's lingerings

The last of summer's lingerings are gone now.  I used to redecorate for every season, but this year I've been leaving spaces instead.  As the season passes, I collect a stone here, a feather there, a handful of sand dollars when the day is just right.  There's nothing to store or fuss with, just little memories of time we spend together.

Over the weekend I gathered up summer and fall.  The driftwood and pinecones were saved for some winter night when it is clear and cold and we can light a fire outside - another memory to make;  the sand dollars were sent to burrow down in the garden, become part of the ongoing circle of living and dying on our little piece of earth.

I've been watching the weather turn colder, wetter - realizing that in the Pacific NW, winter is nearly here.  The mantles and shelves are open spaces now, waiting for new treasures, my heart is opening too, ready for the thanks-giving, the anticipation, the celebration to come.

This little quote came across my path last week:

"Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor....it's anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living."  ~Peter Walsh

I know what I want for this winter - long, quiet days and nights with time for thinking, creating and celebrating.  I'm noticing a lot of weariness and mental clutter in the family though.  I remember in days past when we wanted to create mental space, we would put our one little television in the closet for a few months and be almost completely free from media.  It's not so easy now to create that kind of quiet.  Leo Babauta says, "By setting limitations, we must choose the essential. So in everything you do, learn to set limitations." Every day I'm finding that limits free me to focus on my real desires.  So after a good discussion, we cancelled our Netflix and Prime accounts, promised each other to put the computers away after dinner.  We don't have cable or broadcast TV, so we are creating some nice limits.  Fewer choices, fewer temptations to fritter away those long, peaceful nights that are essential to our vision for this season.

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”  ~ Edith Sitwell


It takes determination and intention to create that kind of time in our modern world, doesn't it? I think it's worth the effort, the voluntary limits.  

If you'd like, tell me about your winter vision.  What image do you hold in mind as you are making plans for these days ahead?

 Here's one from National Geographic's Life In Rural America, 1974 that always speaks volumes to me.  I love the quiet preparation, knowing that dark is coming, that the light will be needed.  I imagine the quiet of a house lit only by kerosene lamps, how peaceful it must feel inside, how the lamps will draw the family close together, how they will talk and laugh and grow sleepy in those warm circles of yellow light, how one by one they will blow them out and drift off to their rooms for bed...