Monday, December 1, 2008
Saturday was gorgeous, sunny - the last day of fall in my opinion. Yesterday, winter arrived in the form of a heavy low overcast and cold rain that fell all day long. It felt like all the energy, heat, all the color in this landscape had been washed down a huge drain, emerging, perhaps, somewhere south of the equator in the form of bright green grass in Botswana, for instance.
I love the monochromatic, quiet winters in DC. The other seasons are so busy, there's so much going on that, for me, it's nice to take a break, let my ears and eyes settle down for a few months. Winter is a kindness for easily overwhelmed people such as myself.
When winter comes, the urge to close the curtains and hibernate is almost irresistible. Instead of diving under the covers, though, we humans instinctively begin to do whatever we can to generate energy and light. I think that's why we put up our Christmas/Solstice lights. It's why we Jews light candles on our menorahs, and why all of us in my culture gather in groups to eat too much, drink too much, talk too loudly, stay up too late. I think it's why we exchange gifts. Those gifts are a kind of offering to stave off the darkness and cold. All of our holiday activities are winter elixirs, at least I think so.
Just now I'm brewing up one of my favorite winter elixirs - essential oils from evergreens like Black Spruce and Balsam Fir, mixed together in proportions that seem right to my nose. I sprinkle this elixir into hand lotion, the massage cream I use at work. I like to put a drop or two into burning candles, a few drops into the bathwater, the laundry water, and so on. The smell of evergreens is so warming, comforting, protective. Yum!
Welcome December! Welcome Winter! I'm glad you're here.