While much of the central and northern United States does look like this right now, here in south west Ohio it is drab and rainy. We've had a spell of cold, but snow here is usually dry and of short duration.
I shot this photo in my back yard last January. I love how the light rises in the east and the snow makes stark contrast with the darkness of the shrubs and stalks of the perennials I leave for winter interest. The frost on the remains of the Joe-pye weed glows and sparkles against the fence and shrubs.
I have been frustrated looking at what I think I should do to get ready for the holidays and resenting it and struggling just trying to get some of the regular parts together.
Yesterday, I decided that with putting the lights on the garlands on the staircase and the electric candles in the windows, I'd call it "done." We have a tree. We have stockings by the fireplace. We have the outside lighted and wreathed. There's a wreath on the chimney breast and a wreath on the area above the doorway to the kitchen.
What's missing? Lots. I posted on my facebook page that there would be no porcelain houses this year. My husband's cousin replied "OH NO! The world is going to stop spinning!" For people who knew me in Connecticut, I think that they would agree....and not in the sarcastic tone in which Louie said it. No houses, no Swedish angels. No Santas...(no, wait, I am going to grab the big ones and put them up because it takes no trouble). No huge plates of cookies. No loaves of bread (except the loaf of honey wheat I have presently baking to eat with the bean soup I made for dinner).
You see, in the beginning of the year I said I was going to simplify....it is absolutely overdue and necessary. I'm struggling to take care of all the orchids and the house plants. The inside and the outside....and still do stuff I'm interested in. I said I was going to stop selling books...and yet, I haven't been able to do any of this.
Old habits are notoriously hard to break. I have, however, thrown out dying Phalaenopsis and gave away Christmas cactus. I recently dumped some African violets.... I'm trying to hoe out things and have made several trips to Goodwill and the Vietnam Vets are coming on the 21st.
And yet...there is still so much to weed out. I am a materialistic person. Not in the sense that most people are...I just love material culture. I enjoy things. I love things with history. I enjoy one of a kind things, beautiful things, things which have been given to me by people who mean a lot to me. I have things which remind me of growing up (paintings with sheep in them). Things which are interesting because of how they are engineered, or just because they are neat.
I think of George Carlin and his skit about "stuff." Part of me laughs. Part of me cringes. I also think that when you own a lot of stuff, it really owns you. So, I stumble along trying to sort it all out. Pass it on and move it out. It takes a long time. Going through papers. Sorting them out. Filing some, throwing out others. It is spiritually draining. Emotionally overwhelming.
I keep on thinking I will not do this to myself again. However, I know, deep on my heart of hearts, it will be very difficult not to.