Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Embracing the cold and snow

"During the last severe storm I decided to take a whole day of rest.
I wasn't, I decided, going to do a single thing but rest and read.
Kind of a house vacation."
Stillmeadow Calendar by Gladys Taber

The above quote is taken from the February Chapter of Gladys Taber's book, which chronicles her life at Stillmeadow month by month.  At one time this week, I wondered what Gladys had to say about the month of February.  Which is usually my least favorite month in the year.  As expected, her ponderings ranged from wanting winter to be over to finding delight in all things... vintage Taber.

Early on I enjoyed the cold and snow and the way it brought a lot of cozy to my days.  But after awhile, they were met with annoyance until recently there was the day I wanted to stomp my feet and shout at God that winter was a terrible idea.  Especially when one can't tell where their driveway ends and the gravel lane begins... yet, again.

But in His usual fashion, He spoke in various ways in an attempt to remind me all that is good about this weather.  There is good?  For those of who who do not participate in winter sports... there is good?

I have been sleeping far more than normal, taking long afternoon naps as suddenly I would be in the middle of housework and find myself incredibly sleepy.   Staying inside was often my only option for even the walk from the front porch to the County road to pick up the newspaper and mail was on par with an Olympic event, or so it seemed.  It was after a recent such trek that I realized English wellies would be a very good idea in my wardrobe.

I found myself covering the chicken leg quarters in the stock pot with water from the under-the-sink purifier and thinking, "Soup, again?"  Sigh... that is a sign of a very long winter.  For I love soup.

One day when I was trying to stay awake in early afternoon, I felt as if the Lord was asking why I didn't just give in to winter.  For come mid-spring, I will look back at this time of excused slothfulness with longing.  As there is more to do than energy to do them... with lawn, garden, and household chores... why not fall fully into February and let it embrace me?

Which is pretty much what I've done this past week as the recent snowfall sent the area officially into the record books as the "snowiest since records were kept".

There is something in our inner man woman that still fears winter.  A kind of primordial emotion rises up within as the temperatures fall and food is hard to come by.  It is still there even in the days of central heating and deep freezes and Starbucks.

This past week, on the first day the sun was shining and the roads were fairly safe, I warmed up our new-to-us mini van and set out for my friend's house in the town next to us.  A snow plow was blocking the usual shorter route to the By Pass as it pushed back snow to widen the usable blacktop.  So I had to either wait for him to finish or take the road ahead, which meanders through farmlands and by ranches and ends up not far from the high school where I graduated in *(%@.  A long time ago.

At first I didn't embrace the challenge of the long way around for I was already a tad later than planned and I knew that the snow on that country road tended to drift, which meant slick roads even on a day with no snow.  However, the snow plow did not appear to be finishing soon so I took the long way around.

While the roads indeed were just a little snow covered, the scenery was wonderful.  Sunshine was reflecting off the ice crystals of the deep snow, farms sat off the road surrounded in silence as farmers waited the return of spring and new life, and evidence of snowmobiles covered where crops will someday grow.

I realized, of course, that this is the way nature is suppose to be this time of year.  Breathtaking in the Beauty of silence.  The ground covered by frozen moisture, which will melt into the soil.  The farmer with time to mend the tractor and rest his or her body for the long days to come.

The way God intended it all along.

It was good to enjoy my day out.  My husband, who loves what I call Amish housewife novels due to his interest in simpler times, calls it "getting out amongst the English".  That's a bit how I felt after a very long winter indoors.  I needed that vacation of just a few hours as I spent the morning with a friend and then ran errands.

But I remembered as I was tired and rushing from one grocery store to another in order to reach home in time to rest before leaving again... I remembered I used to live life like this each and every day of my life.  I was always in overdrive.  There was always something else on my To Do list which needed crossed off immediately.

The next day is when I went to the bookshelf and pulled the vintage Taber off the shelf.  I wonder what she had to say about Winter in general and February specifically.  I've read through the book a couple of times but could not recall.  And as I read, I smiled.

Gladys struggled with letting go and accepting winter, too.  But she came to a very good decision.  To stop fighting this season of blowing snow and temperatures which take one's breath away.  Stay inside.  Rest.  Read.  Enjoy. Accept.

I can't say February will ever become a favorite month.  But at least I've stop pouting and waiting for spring to feel joy again.

PhotoHubby asked if I wanted flowers for Valentine's Day and I declined, needing any expenditures to be placed elsewhere.  But when I was at the grocery store, I saw this Beauty... far, far less than the flowers he was going to send.  He was happy with them, too.  And the aroma of spring fills the house!


Janie said...

Absolutely loved this post! Many of your thoughts resonate in me.

Hears looking forward to seeing those flowers poke their beautiful colors through the dark soil of spring!


My Cottage Diary said...

Wonderful post, Brenda! I have been enjoying a restful, rejuvenating winter without apology. :O) From a previous post, perhaps your library or interlibrary loan will have the DE Stevenson book? Blessings, Bess

Kathy said...

Love the smell of hyacinths!!

I am enjoying your blog. Thank you for sharing your pictures and wisdom with us.

I broke my ankle on jan 4, so I have been forced to slow down. I haven't been out of the house but one time to the dr. Enjoying reading and sitting by the fire, and watching the snow...we have 21 inches now, so I'm not going to risk a fall again. But it will be nice to get back to normal soon.

Cheri said...

Love, love, love Gladys Taber. Wouldn't it be wonderful to sit down with her and enjoy a cup of tea on a wintry day?

I just re-read Stillmeadow Calendar. Very good reading anytime of year.

We just moved back to our beloved Northwoods and were welcomed by one of the coldest winters on record. I have finished a few needlework projects and today? Today the temperature is 19 degrees ABOVE. zero, so I went for a walk with a friend . Almost felt balmy.

Vee said...

Just the reading I love...

Nana said...

Hi Brenda;
I thought I was the only one who was tired this whole winter! It seems I need to nap almost every day and I get so tired in the evening. I find myself in bed very early. I wonder if God didn't make winter for our weary bodies to rest and rejuvenate after such a busy summer, fall, and holiday season. Come summer, we will be wishing for some house bound rest time. Keep warm and think spring. Love and Hugs, Nana

Anonymous said...

I Love Gladys Taber, too! And Love your grape hyacinths! Mmmm....I can almost smell them! What a wonderful harbinger of Spring! Nice that you are finding things about winter to be thankful for. In my part of the country, it's the endless days of rain that can get tiring and monotonous. But love teatime in the afternoons with a magazine, a book, or my embroidery (dishtowels). At least the days are getting longer! And my daffodils are poking up! Under all your snow, there must be some plants getting ready for Spring, too.
Hugs and Blessings,
Laura C. from WA

Deborah Montgomery said...

Really enjoyed this post Brenda. I discovered Gladys Taber a couple years ago, and love her books. I think it's okay to sleep a little more in the winter. I like to think it helps keep my immune system strong.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I've never read Gladys Tabor but whenever you talk about her books, I always want to! I just have to remember to look up her books at the library.'

This post is timely for me as I have begun to long for Spring. I think that you are right in embracing the season as a period of rest.


Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I've never read Gladys Tabor but whenever you talk about her books, I always want to! I just have to remember to look up her books at the library.'

This post is timely for me as I have begun to long for Spring. I think that you are right in embracing the season as a period of rest.


Anonymous said...

I loved this post tonight, and it really ministered to my weary soul. I normally HATE winter with a vengeance, but this winter??......It's all been so overwhelming with the unending snow and ice and below zero temps that I decided two months ago that maybe I should just sort of embrace it, just like you were saying, and let it be what it was. We live in a rural area, about 45 minutes from the nearest Walmart and other stores, and only have a very small grocery store and Dollar store in our town. But you know what?? Somehow, I've managed to survive with just what's here (for the most part), and have decided that it's ok to have life look and feel a little different during this season. Actually, I'm getting so used to it that I'm wondering what it will feel like when spring finally does come and we have to step things up around here and get busy! In the meantime, we've just enjoyed extra family and home time, and have become completely addicted to Downton Abbey as well (we'd never watched any of the series before this winter!)
Anyway, thanks for a wonderful post. Your blog encourages me tremendously, and I just love the pictures you post. :-)


Cheryl said...

Ahhhh...this post hit me right where I live this morning. Just yesterday, the Lord convicted me of complaining about the grayness and the harshness of this winter (yes, even in the Mid-Atlantic it's been harsh!). He reminded me that a heart of gratitude does not complain. (Ouch.) I will heed your words today and embrace February. (Even though this week promises little opportunity for naps. Bummer.) :)

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Hyacinths are such a breath of spring! And I'm really glad to hear about your mini-van. I must have somehow missed it if you wrote about it earlier. Taber has the wise way to deal with February. (and most of March, many years!) There is a lot of beauty in winter, but it is also a time to rest and count our blessings. I love living in a part of the world with seasons.

Judy said...

Love this - as an Australian who didn't really know anything of true seasons until moving to Canada seventeen years ago, I often wonder if a part of our depressed feelings about winter come from trying to continue living as though it wasn't - rising early to go to work or school, and allowing artificial light to keep us going late into the evenings. Perhaps accepting an annual rhythm of shorter days and more hours of sleep would be a better way.

Keri said...

I don't know a single soul that doesn't need the encouragement that this post offers! Everyone in my world is as tired of winter as....well, as everyone in almost the entire U.S.!! I love the idea of taking advantage of the imposed rest period, which is really more of an attitude adjustment than an outward change of any kind. And the thought that God planned this season for the purposes you mentioned here...such a lovely way to look upon the inconveniences and discomfort that a long winter brings! Thank you so very much for these words of wisdom!

By the way, I had to laugh at your "Soup, again?" reaction to filling the stock pot. I, too, am a lover of soups and yet have had the same reaction (along with a sigh) the last couple of times I've pulled out the slow cooker or a bag of frozen mire-poix to get started on dinner. It's funny how even the most beloved pleasure can grow stale with too much exposure! :-)

Anonymous said...

I love February because it is in this month that my youngest son was born a quarter century ago! Happy times!

February means spring is around the corner. That is worth celebrating! The days are noticeably longer already, TBTG. (Thanks be to God)

I wish we lived near each other. I'd love to pass along some starts of my spider plants and Swedish ivy which you mentioned wanting in a recent post. I have some rooting in water now...

I've got to get my hands on Gladys Taber's books. You make them sound so enticing.
Your blog is one of my daily treats that make grey winter days a bit less dreary, so thanks! Dee/NY

Kim said...

Thank you for this post. I needed this today. I have the same flowers blooming in my kitchen. =)