Monday, December 1, 2008

Winter Elixirs



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.

17 comments:

tut-tut said...

That sky! We are having snow here, highly unusual. Poor L had to return to school.

Your essential oil mixture sounds enticing.

willow said...

Well, we eat, drink, talk and stay up way too late, too! And I love your explanation of the reason we give gifts.

I can smell that glorious evergreen from here!! :^)

mouse (aka kimy) said...

gorgeous photos - I just caught up on the puppy.... and have so enjoyed the last several posts.

will have to whip up some of that elixir...it sounds seasonal and magical in terms of keeping the nose open and happy!

snow flurries are falling...a lovely day for winter lovers! of which I am another

tam said...

What incredible, majestic photographs. That first one feels kind of Egyptian or something, it has the quality of solemn ritual. I agree about the candles and the lights, and the gifts, too. Here we are moving into the season of abundance, or so it feels to look around at all the greenery (thanks you guys over there for letting go of it so that it could be funneled down here. But spare a thought for the subsistence farmers who, though they get to watch their crops now, don't get to harvest for some months yet. Lean times ahead for them.

thank you so much for your lovely pics and the glimpses into your changing seasons. I appreciate winter, but give me a sweltering sky anyday.

tam said...

What incredible, majestic photographs. That first one feels kind of Egyptian or something, it has the quality of solemn ritual. I agree about the candles and the lights, and the gifts, too. Here we are moving into the season of abundance, or so it feels to look around at all the greenery (thanks you guys over there for letting go of it so that it could be funneled down here. But spare a thought for the subsistence farmers who, though they get to watch their crops now, don't get to harvest for some months yet. Lean times ahead for them.

thank you so much for your lovely pics and the glimpses into your changing seasons. I appreciate winter, but give me a sweltering sky anyday.

tam said...

oops

ArtSparker said...

The Romans also had a festival of lights in the winter months. I have thought for some time that it's all whistling past the graveyard.

The first photo looks like a portrait of Emily Dickinson's "Certain slant of light on Winter afternoons". And the second one leads into some other abstract realm.

Steve said...

The difference between Saturday and Sunday was so dramatic. It's amazing that such a shift could occur in just one day!

I'm still amazed at how shiny the capitol dome is.

Janelle said...

whew. that winter sky... xxx j

lettuce said...

your winter elixir sounds delicious. we're meant to be getting really cold weather & frost for the first time (properly) this week. i'm quite looking forward to it.


gorgeous sky

Ernest de Cugnac said...

that's an interesting picture. I'm still trying to work out the geometry. My guess is the building is through the glass and the sunny stripes are reflections within the room.

Merle Sneed said...

What a beautiful sky! I have always loved the smel of pine.

Reya Mellicker said...

First pic - the building is a reflection. The light shining through the window illuminated the wall behind the window. When I took it I had no idea it would look so cool.

Gary said...

I stayed in all day Sunday (mostly in my PJs) while the beautiful rain swirled outside my window. There is something so wonderful about not having to go out in bad weather that heightens the experience for me. Warm and cozy in my little 'den'.

Lynne said...

GORGEOUS photos! wow.
Our day Saturday was not as nice as yours. Very overcast and then of course the snow/sleet/freezing rain/rain on Sunday. Like Gary we stayed cozy and warm in our "den." Yesterday was the warm day we didn't expect to get. Strange weather indeed!

Bring on winter! I'm ready (I think!).

Squirrel said...

Gorgeous photos! !!!

babelouise said...

The clouds look like snow drifts.