Living North of the 49th we are entering the time of year where Persephone has returned to the underworld. Large white fluffy flakes have been falling from the sky for the last few days. I find myself looking west to the Rocky Mountains yearning to hop on my fat bike or disappear into the woods. I think about fairytales, crones, mythical creatures and the stillness that accompanies this time of year. I’m currently sipping a hot mint tea and listening to an acoustic winter playlist *on Spotify while I write, words wanting to pour out of me.
As the crone stretches her arms out she smacks her lips together. She feels the aches and pains in each joint and studies the etched lines in her skin. I think of her adorning her aged body in warm cloaks, setting a cauldron over a fire with water to make a stew. She oils her staff that steadies her during her long winters walk while she waits, humming softly as she works. I imagine her pulling the curtains aside, squinting outside at the softly falling snow and that wise smile spreading across her lips, that knowing cackle echoing through her home as the curtains swing closed once again as she hobbles over to the bubbling cauldron to full her belly.
I am in a state of rebirth and rewilding the self. I find myself overwhelmed at the discoveries I seem to find under the smallest stones, others hiding in plain sight as if waiting for my eyes to open a little wider or my heart to crack open a little more. It has been a year of truths & realizations. I am trying to accept that this winter will not be a quiet peaceful season like the one I envisioned this time last year. Instead, more heartache lies ahead, combined with more inner work, more fighting, more purging. More of all the hard stuff. I looked at a colleague this week with my eyes full of tears and I asked how anyone survives it. I am exhausted from the battle I am engaged in. I am plagued with worry, nightmares, lack of sleep, and pure exhaustion. If I were in the ring, this is the part where I am down in the thick of it and it feels as though the fight has barely begun. I am filling my thoughts with snow falling in the forest, wondering if there is room in the crone’s hut for me to curl up in for the winter while I build the strength to stand back up.
I think of the creatures in the wood, their paws and hoofs making footprints in the snow, grazing for food as the long winter begins. I am looking forward to the hours being spent in the snow, the sound of it crunching under my tyres or the stillness within the forest and savouring the sensation of that stillness, the quiet, the solitude. The distant chatter of others seeking refuge in the woods, savouring the bright winter sunlight during the few hours it is out.
I am dreaming of a steaming hot mocha served with fresh whipped cream after a long walk in the woods. Fresh baked chocolate chip cookies to scoop the whip from the mug, chocolate lightly melting. I am thinking of sipping fresh homemade soup from my spoon after I gently blew on it. Dipping a fresh bun into it soaking up the broth and the hot buttery taste on my tongue the taste of thyme and rosemary from my mother’s recipe. I am thinking of roaring fires and all the things that warm the soul from the inside out. I am thinking of memories of my childhood spent playing in the snow, looking for snow fairies and making houses for the ice elves. I am remembering the sound of my mother’s voice as she called me back inside, the sound of the sliding door clanging shut, the warmth of the house as it hit me on my rosy cheeks. Changing into my favourite yellow outfit covered in white bunnies, the feel of the warm cotton on my cool skin. The comfort of mom’s hugs. The sound of the fire crackling in the wood burning stove in the basement as we settled in for the night as a family. I think of all these things gazing at the full moon from one of the oversized windows in a large silent house at the end of the road.
In the distance, I feel the crones gaze upon me and I can almost hear the sound of her feet in the snow she turns and walks into the dark winters night & I curl under the covers in a cold empty bed.
*the link is not to my personal Spotify account, but a user-generated playlist.