Category: Winter Wonders


 

My daughter and grandsons on our Christmas woodswalk..a tradition

Follow the Leader:    My daughter and grandsons on our Christmas woods walk..a  family tradition!

Isn’t it wonderful that many libraries have a shelf in the entrance hall with books for free or a small donation (.50 to $1.00) for the library fund? Treasures are often found there, a brilliant way to recycle books and wisdom.

Recently, dropping “overdues” at the library, I found in the hallway a gem of a book entitled “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” by Richard Louv…an absolutely wonderful inspirational guide to unplugging  from technology and taking our children (and ourselves) outside to reconnect with nature, especially “the woods”. Although it is not a new book, it was the recipient of the 2008 Audobon medal and is probably even more relevant and urgent today than when it was published.

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This book did not suddenly “wake me up” to a new idea for a thing to do with children and specifically, MY grandchildren. I had just returned from a Christmas Day visit to my daughter and her family in a nearby state. Following our family tradition to take a nature walk during the day of a visit, we  had driven to Sedgewick Gardens/Longhill  in Beverly Massachusetts and hiked through the winter woods blanketed with dried crackly leaves, fallen twigs and branches and climbing over old logs lying prone on the ground. We have always taken these walks in nature whenever my daughters and their children come for visits or I go to visit them…sometimes to the woods, sometimes to the ocean, and often to hang out at farms, parks or garden centers. And we always had taken these walks as a family when my daughters were growing up.

On this particular chilly afternoon, the boys were full of little boy energy…jumping, running, losing a sneaker in the leaves… and even accidentally stepping in some hidden doggie poo, a true and pungent experience of nature! I had given the boys a clear quart-sized baggie and some tweezers so we could collect nature treasures to bring home. (The magnifying lens I had ordered for close-up inspections unfortunately had not arrived in time.) But we did collect special odd stones, dried leaves with but a hint of orange, strange twigs, pieces of dried tree moss…and even a bug. The woods were filled with strangely shaped trees “with no clothes on” during the cold season and the colors around us were mostly brown, black and gray. Going out on that Christmas day with no snow was a very different experience than when we walk on Easter or in May. A walk full of crackling, snapping dried sounds, and pungent scents of decay and earthiness.

I recall now a quote from the  book The Last Child in the Woods:

“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are”  ~ a fourth grader in San Diego

I admit that my own grandsons living in this culture know where all the electrical outlets in their house are as well and there is a constant challenge to balance monitored technology time and offline projects time. One cannot escape it and it is a challenge in just about ALL households these days.

But I am so happy and proud of my daughters and the attention they give to nature time …. in our family picture albums are so many photos of a  Mommy in the lead…follow the leader!…as we tramp through woods and paths and along the beaches and tidepools and corn mazes in the various seasons of the year.

This Christmas, my gift to all my grandchildren was the game Wildcraft Craft! An Herbal Adventure Game. They know that Noni and their Mumma’s have magical and healing herbs in the garden and cupboard… what a lovely idea to play a game to recognize these helpful plants on their own!

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From walks in nature, to educating the young ones in the healing power of both wild and garden HERBS, this Noni and my daughters hope to keep ourselves and the children close to Nature…. physically, mentally and spiritually.

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

Christmas 2015 and a walk in the woods

Christmas 2015 and a walk in the woods with the boys!

 

 

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I have been “away” from the Greening Spirit site for a while since the challenging life change of moving from my little home of 18 years. I am blessed at this time to be sharing a home with dear friends, as housemates for a while in a setting and loving sanctuary that is a true gift and a place for healing and re-orientation.

My mind and spirit had been totally consumed with an intense focus on the necessary tasks and responsibilities that are inherent in the process of breaking down and releasing all that was familiar and letting go of a “home”. The concentration on organizing, sorting, tossing, discerning what to keep and what to leave behind, and packing closed the door to inner vision and “deep-seeing” the natural world around me that is so vital to this blog.

A transition has happened now, and it seems that yesterday’s blizzard opened once again the inner eye of “soul” as its beauty settled all around us here in the woods on all sides. For those of us NOT stuck in traffic or having to get somewhere through the storm, which can be fearsome if not horrendous, watching the storm through windows was magical.

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All throughout the day, I floated from window to window…each view more magical than the next as the snow drifted straight down, sideways or in all directions at the same time. The woods which on an ordinary clear and cold day look like just one thing, became the realm of fairy tales with its beckoning depth defined by black and grey tree trunks edged in white. The snow settling on branches gave new definition to shape and stature, straight, tilted or fallen.

 

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I  know I was not alone in this enchantment of “looking through” into the wild and whiteness if at home. Facebook is lit up today with pictures of gardens, woods, backyards, decks, city streets and statehouse as if we all suddenly woke up to a new and magical world seen in a starling new way.

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Since I was indoors and warmed by the friendly fires of our woodstove, looking out to the forest beyond the doors, walls and windows of this house was my enchantment for the whole day. IMG_1330

When there is snow at twilight the light shifts and the world shifts from black, white and grey to blue… time for the end of the day snow party! Shrimp and dips, champagne and wine..good company and the warmth of woodstove and companionship.

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Now until the next post…happy shoveling!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

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IMG_0798 (2).jpg Sage in Snow

photo credits ~ Christine Phoenix Green

(Repost from 2010)

Here in the Northeast USA, it is during the months following the Solstice that we experience Winter’s force and power although each day we gain a few minutes of light, moving towards Spring.

It was the depth of darkness and cold that first drew us into stark awareness of the season of stillness in late Autumn, but we had the holidays to look forward to as diversion as well as celebration, giving us respite from the primal posture of Nature’s cold season and its relentless demands upon us.

Now it is REALLY time to be still and to lie fallow…at least if you are a seed in the earth, asleep,  but in deep dreaming about the life that will emerge and blossom into magnificent manifestation in a few months time.

We (and perhaps the seed also tho I doubt it) no longer of agrarian bent culturally, have such a hard time being still and fully entering the slower time of waiting, dreaming and deep listening that is offered to us this season…so used to busy-ness,  activity and artificial light that tricks us out of the reality of our Creature-hood!

So perhaps Mother Nature speaks to us, as well as the Earth, when she sends a  fierce blanketing of whirling snow over all movement and noise, save the commanding Voice of a howling wind to send us deep into our caves by candlelight. To be warm. To be safe. To germinate into our newness at the right moment, which is not exactly now, yet.

M and M upstairs windowWe are humbled by such fierce, stark and powerful weather when there are no colors but grey, brown,  black and white. About a day or two or three are all we can take without losing hope, and feeling drained, and in captivity to the cold, especially if we cannot shovel out and start the car!

But, after the fury-the calm, the light, the blue colour of sky  returns upon the accomplished blanketing and we finally surrender into winter because of it. We crunch, booted, upon ice and snow dotted with twigs and broken tree branches as we move more carefully going about our busy lives, accepting this new season and perhaps even blessing its stark beauty. For the moment, we forget that there is something new coming in soon…

Piano students come and go during the week in my little cottage and the fierce storm of this past week interrupted that rhythm. When the storm passed and a semi-safe path was shoveled to allow entry,  I still accompanied my students, many who are adventurous Elders, out to their cars to insure their safety,  and then dashing in quickly out of the bitter cold, to the warmth of my studio.

And as I dashed up the snowy path , lost in thought over the next appointment, a small flash of greening caught my eye, low underfoot almost once past it. What was that? Retracing my steps, there it was flat in the snow…one clear, spring green Sage leaf lying peacefully where it had landed, probably snatched from the mother plant during the fierce blizzard winds, whirled about and then coming to rest, undamaged in this patch of white.

There it was , fuzzy and fat-veined in a pattern repeated in nature like the upwards branches of a tree or the downwards roots of the same, or the branches within the human lung, which mirror back again, the tree. What a wondrous precious thing to see, like a magical message from Summer past, or Summer Becoming…A gift from the Earth lying there to be seen hopefully by one such as myself who needed to be reminded of the ever present, ever faithful Cycle of Life-Death-Life over and over again, and my place within that awesome Wonder.

Sage in snow. A teaching every day, every day…..  (Bundle up!)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Moi hat 2 My other blogs:

Cooking for Pleasure and Comfort- http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

The Power of Words and Intention- http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Piano teaching hints, memoirs and beautiful music- http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 

 

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Yesterday I directed a retreat in which the morning topic was “The Miracle of the Four Elements”. We pondered each element separately, Earth, Air, Fire and Water,  considering its reality, its manifestations, its metaphors and the wonder of its part in the whole of Life.

This morning, realizing I had run out of half and half for my “wake-up” coffee, I reluctantly changed from comfy nightgown to daywear so I could go across the highway to buy it. I was, however, not able to leave immediately as after yesterday’s day of heavy rain and last night’s freeze, my car was covered with ice.

What to do in life when thwarted? My answer usually is “Make Art!”

Inside to grab the camera, and back outside to photograph the ice patterns on the auto before the car started to defrost!

The wonders and Miracles are all around us if we open our eyes!

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One of the MIRACLES of the element Water that was overlooked in our musings yesterday was that water is a shape-shifter! We talked about the oceans and tears and the symbol for the deep Unconscious in dreams.. How could we have not mentioned water turning into ICE and these magnificent ice crystal patterns!

It is true that there is never a moment when beauty and the imagination is absent. There are natural wonders around us at all times, often missed but captured when the eyes of our hearts are open. Poets, mystics, artists, writers, children and elders are often the ones who become seers (deep- see-ers), moving through life attuned to the magic..

For the wonders and miracle of the Element of WATER… we are enchanted!

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Note:  these pictures of ice on my car were turned into art with help from the editing programs of Windows and Picasa. (Doing on the computer what used to be done in the darkroom. That’s a miracle too!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise  There are more wonders on my other blogs

The wonder of good food and kitchen memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

The wonder of music and piano:  http://pianomisyress.wordpress.com

The wonder of intentional words: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

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