The winter solstice was two weeks ago today: Yule, the shortest, darkest day of the year. The day in which the slumbering earth takes its deepest snooze and then cracks an eye open to acknowledge that light is returning, and spring is just a few months away; something we’re all immensely grateful for. That isn’t to say that we should just curl up and hibernate until spring’s tendrils peep up through the snow again—far from it. It’s at this time of year that many of us feel most attuned with spiritual matters, be that contemplating the various holidays celebrated this month, considering how many people are in need (whom we can help in various ways), or just meditating on our own shadows.
When the days are long and dark, it’s difficult to avoid facing the shadowy aspects of self and nature. Our ancestors would have spent many months preparing for winter, knowing full well that they could die from cold exposure, hunger, malnutrition, or illness during the dark half of the year. We’re fortunate that we have thermal blankets, electric heating, and a supermarket just a few minutes’ walk away, but they didn’t, and I honour them for their fortitude.
It’s in this dark time of the year that I’m most inclined to hunker down and just block the world out for a while. Although I do venture outside into the snow for exercise and fresh air, I have to admit that on days when it’s -35C, all I’d really like to do is curl up by the fire and be quiet and domestic. Knitting, darning socks, mending clothes… all those little-yet-important tasks that get set aside for seemingly “more important” matters get tended to when gales howl and snow climbs halfway up to the windows. I actually treasure this time, as I’m given an opportunity to step away from my computer-based work to do the womanly tasks that I’ve always enjoyed, so. I even have a large basket of ironing to tackle soon and I’m downright gleeful about it. Maybe I’m channeling a bit of Frigga these days as I revel in all things home-related?
Is it silly that sometimes I envy those friends of mine who are full-time homemakers? Sometimes I’ll read blog posts by my LDS friends in which they talk about how they’ve spent their days baking, sewing, knitting, or tending their gardens, and as loath as I am to admit it, I actually feel a pang of envy. Starting up a new business requires a lot of work, and both graphic design and writing need time, creativity, and energy in order to yield results that we can be proud of, and that takes a lot of time away from domestic work.
You know, it’s funny: when I worked in public relations and event management, I had the opportunity to travel and meet interesting people, and my merry little income allowed me to splurge on shoes, designer lattes, cute shoes, and vacations fairly regularly… but none of that was anywhere near as rewarding to me as the first time I canned tomatoes, or when I saw the first stalks of hand-planted amaranth rising up from my garden in glorious purple spears. I’d love to get to a point where I can spend more time on homemaking and less time plopped at my desk, typing feverishly. How hilarious is it that in this modern era, where most women are delighted to be able to earn a living on their own, I yearn to be a housewife? *chuckle*
(Yes, I’m feeling terribly contemplative right now and am determined to find a way to balance it all.)
My seed catalogues for 2014 have begun to arrive, and I’ve been dog-earing pages, circling items, and making notes about the different things I hope to plant in a few months’ time. Granted, we’ll have to clear a lot of bracken and amend the soil a fair bit to get things going to where we’d like them to be, but all will happen in good time, neh? These darker days make us impatient; leave us champing at the bit to do something, to engross ourselves in projects as we yearn for the light to return and growth to spring up from the soil once again… but all will come in good time. For now, we can plan, and draw, and bask in the beauty of hearth and home. I shall spin and knit, brew up some stunning soups, crack open a jar of summery preserves, and appreciate the wild beauty of this land, as well as the dear friends and family members whom I share it with.