I am actually at the tail end of Christmas preparations. Not because I shop all year long, tucking gifts away, or because I am part of the Black Friday et al madness. But because even the amount shown in the photo above feels like too much stuff for a family of 4. It all needs housing, dusting and maintaining if not regularly in use. Not to mention it costs time and money too. I do like to find a “perfect something” that I know will be used and enjoyed, but after years and years of gift giving it gets harder and harder. Everyone already has enough stuff. The stores do look lovely, and I enjoy all the displays and decorations, but I see little I want to give or get. I have a tv, why get a new one? Ditto for a cell phone, clothes, towels, dishes etc. And I really don’t feel a car with the attached loan is a good gift idea! I like the idea of time; breakfast with a friend, a movie or a hike as a gift. It feels saner to me.
If gifts must be given, giving food is a good option, no dusting and only temporary storage. I like to give to the local animal shelter too, though not everyone feels that a donation in name to a charity is a gift. I like the idea for the same dusting and storing reasons I just mentioned. This year I have really whittled it down to just a couple gifts for each teen daughter, a spouse gift, something for the neice and nephew, something to the inlaws and that covers it. My mom wanted nothing but our company for Thanksgiving, and I brought her a couple of books I knew she’d enjoy and some food to share. (She is also of the dust and store dislike mindset.) Plus, as she says “I don’t want more stuff.” I can relate, every year I pare down more and more, today I culled 20 books that will go to my library’s shelves or booksale. I have read each at least once and it is time to send them on their way. I’d rather be even less encumbered in 2013 than I was this year, and able to explore more of what is out there.
It bothers me how shopping seems to be listed as the route to happiness and prosperity in life. Buy this and you’ll get the right job, house or spouse. Buy this and you will be beloved by the recipient. Buy things to get the country back on track. “Spend like there’s no tomorrow” and “you can’t live without the item or your life will be an empty shell” seem to be the wrong message to take to heart. I could be wrong on this though, who knows. I just know for me, spending is not gaining me very much in the long run. Oh exceptit gives me more things to dust and store!
As the end of the year approaches, what doors will you close and which ones will you open?
Are there any you will just leave ajar?
This morning ended up being basically frost free, not enough dew overnight. But it was still crisp and cool, so out I went to Ponemah Bog (Amherst, NH) to see how things looked. I hadn’t been there in several years, and the last time it had been such a rainy season that the bog water oozed over the boardwalk with each step and stretches were underwater. This time it was perfect, so I invite you to walk along with me, picturing yourself in the quiet morning air, only distant sounds of civilization reach your ears. Even the birds are muted, going about the morning business of eating and resting for the coming night’s flight on their migration. No one else is about in the bog as everyone is rushing to prepare for tomorrow’s feast, the sky is blue with a few bands of clouds and the boards crunch the frosty bog surface as you walk.
And here is what you would see-
Entering the Tamarack Trail.
The strange and twisty landscape of the bog.
The flora along the trail, I like the fluffy white seed heads. They look like something from Dr. Seuss!
The pond in the bog.
One of two viewing platforms at the edge of the water, other benches and platforms are scattered along the boardwalk. I’m glad I thought to go today, and plan to go once there is a dusting of snow, it will be beautiful!
The end of November is closing in, the days shorter and the light sharper. Only a few leaves cling stubbornly to the branches protecting the newly formed buds. I have not yet gotten out this past week in the early morning hours to capture the frost or skim of ice as life has intervened with other demands. Everything seems to be bustling about, intent on finishing tasks before the snow comes and covers the ground. It is a good time for taking stock of next steps and how to prepare and be ready to recieve what is coming along. I am currently working at keeping my momentum up and not to be waylaid by unexpected gridlock. I need to keep in mind the natural ebb and flow of the days and weeks, and to just keep on doing something. Writing, photography, mixed media etc. To not allow myself to get caught in the mental quagmire of “What do you think you are doing?!” thoughts, and to keep the flights of fancy going. Not everyday will result in a masterpiece, but somedays do.
Following the nor’easter we had last week I went out on a hike to take advantage of the results of the unusual weather. It was brutally windy once I left the cover of the woods and stepped out onto the trail by the marsh and pond. But it was beautiful to see the dusting of snow, the mist and the wind whipping through the grasses.
The grasses were being buffeted by the wind, the leaves held straight out from its force. There was no shelter here for the small marsh birds, they were all hunkered down elsewhere. Even the geese weren’t stopping, heading instead for warmer shelters elsewhere.
There was no ice yet skimming the surface but it felt cold enough for it to be forming. Someone else had decided to get out and about with their dogs, and their tracks peppered the snow on the trail. No doubt the wind was bringing a great variety of smells for the dogs to sniff.
I wonder if any little birds were taking shelter in the duck houses that dot the area? If so none of them were even venturing to the openings to see what was happening outside. Once the wind driven rain started I had to return to the shelter of the woods and the multitude of textures and colors that it offered. The snow had been wet enough that it was still clinging in places, and the wind hadn’t swept it off the branches. I will post those images soon. Today, in contrast to last Wednesday, is balmy. No snow, no wind and close to 65 degrees already. It is a crazy stretch we are in right now. Like a weather game spinner with snow, sun, rain, wind- round and round it goes where it stops nobody knows!
November has come with the change of the clocks and the change of the light. Now the evergreens add the color to the woods, and the remaining leaves are scattered on the ground crucnhing underfoot. Deer have been in my yard and so has the turkey family. All are readying themselves for winter. Not everyone likes November, but I like the clear air, great clouds and texture laid bare. Following the storm last week I got out to a local field to catch some of the clouds. It was a lonely sort of feel, the shuttered drive-in next door adding to the feeling of apprehension of the coming winter weather.