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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ode to Winter


It's been a while.


I've been resisting come here to be honest. Mostly because I'm still struggling with the same shit and nothing much has changed. I'm doing my best to address my 'ishews', but it seems to be taking an awfully long time for things to change. In the meantime, I keep making the same mistakes and feeling the same way about making the same mistakes. It's the very definition of madness. I just don't want to go on and on ad nauseum about it all. So there you go.

I am deeply embedded in the Winter and that brings me some solace. I am an Autumn/Winter girl and long for the snow the way a chocoholic longs for an oversized bar of Cadbury's and an uninterrupted half hour to demolish it in. I want to wake up and see the Earth dressed in her full winter splendour, glimmering in her best diamond white. I want to crump endlessly through thick snow. I want to upturn my face during a snowfall and catch the snowflakes on my tongue. I want to fling myself backwards and make snow angels. I want to watch the full moon rise over a vast expanse of ice white, making it so light that you can see clearly even in the darkest hours of the night. I want to bathe in that glowing silence and feel it creep inside and still my soul. That is what I want.

I truly love this time of year. It's beautiful up here in the Hills. It's misty and quiet and so cold you can see your breath. I love pretending it's so cold that I have to wear my beanie and my gloves. I take a perverse sort of joy in the fact that I hate getting out of bed in the mornings because it's frickin' freezing. I hide under my duvet, (yes, duvet - not bloody doona. This baby is 13.5 tog and filled with hollow-fibre fresh from hides of the Hollow-Backed Fibre beasts of Glen Coe. Me mum sent it over ), and nary a toe do I show until the heating has been on a good 20 minutes. Bless my man for having to get up early to go to work. Heh. Heh. Heh. Still, as beautiful as it is here, I'm a Northerner at heart. I like my cold days to lead up to the fun that is Christmas. I miss the brutish English Winters. I do. The crusty frosts, the bare trees, the icy streets, the way the cold sticks its frozen hands up your jumpers and down your jeans and makes your bones hurt. Winter means duffle coats, scarves, hats and gloves that you actually need to wear, because if you don't you could quite possibly get frostbite and lose a digit. All right - perhaps it just feels like that, but that's what I miss! You actually NEED a mulled wine whilst traversing Camden Market. And that hot chocolate is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE to replenish your fat stores lest you not make it through until Spring.

I guess I am just a sparkling Winter Witch searching for a snowy night to glitter in.

Bear Woman

And so, the days slow down and take me with them. I enjoy the early dark. I feel myself quieten slightly, even though the madness of every day life with my child continues unabated. I am at home here in this dark wizened season of quiet contemplation. Like the She Bear in her cave, sleeping, dreaming, waiting for that first touch of Spring. I am in no hurry for it. Even though I can see that life is quickening in the Magnolia trees and buds are appearing, I am not yet ready for rebirth. I want to savour this season. I want to enjoy the fresh mornings and the chill evenings. I want to light my fire, cook stews and soups and bake gingerbread men. I want to mellow, to shed my skin, to grow into myself and replenish before Spring demands more life from me. I am happy here in this frozen moment and want nothing more. Except snow.

Paradoxically, out of this quietness rises my constant restlessness. I guess the slowing down stimulates it to pop up to get my attention. It is always accompanied by a frustrating need to be elsewhere. Possibly because I feel overwhelmed with my struggles here. ut I do realise that you don't leave your troubles behind when you move and I definitely have to take mine with me - she's only two! The Gypsy is alive and well and ready to hitch her caravan to the next wandering star. I've always had a bit of a yen to go and live in another country for a year or two. Maine, Canada, Italy, France - just to shake things up a bit. I've been in Australia for five years now and, though I love our house and I've made such good friends here, I'm looking for something that I haven't found here. Right now I can't imagine living out my days here. Some part of me is not fed here and I don't know if it ever will be. I miss the green rolling hills of home but I know, from experience, that when I am back, it's just the same as it was before I left. A bit grim unless you live somewhere beautiful. I have lived in many beautiful places because of this fact. No point in being there otherwise. My Soul needs beauty and the green of the earth and the sun and the sea and it needs them like my body needs oxygen and water. So the restlessness rises until it rattles my teeth and I feel ruffled and unsure of myself. Then I pick at the pieces of my life until they develop sores and I feel even more unsettled. The trouble is, of course, that whereever I go, there I am. I will be with me no matter what country I spend time in, no matter what house I live in, no matter what occupies my days. Whatever it is that sets this restless spirit a-wandering, is inside of me. So what use is there in going elsewhere? It will simply be 'same, same but different' won't it? I'll still be 'angry woman in charge of child' won't I, because that's who I apparently am. At least right now. What is that saying? If that for which you search you do not find within yourself, you will never find it without. The trouble is of course is in finding it within. It often feels as if I have looked forever and am still not any closer to the truth of who I am. I mean just how deeply can this stuff be buried? Why, when you are looking for something, does it appear to hide under ever-deeper layers of yourself? That's just plain rude. And so, I flit from one thing to another. Never satisfied. Never quite there. Restless even in this cocoon of winter. I just wish I knew what my seed was trying to grow into. Perhaps then I could help it poke up through the frozen soil of my heart and germinate. *Sigh*


And then there is my 40th. I want to do something really nourishing and spiritually significant for this transition. My other transitional birthdays have been dreadful. To give you some idea - my 18th was spent getting so appallingly drunk (because my best friend now hated me and her sister was sleeping with my boyfriend in the flat we all shared) that I fell into a glass table. My 21st was spent at a Driving School dinner with a whole bunch of complete strangers while a man in chequered golfing slacks and a lemon v-neck serenaded me with songs I was too young to remember. My 30th was spent with another bunch of complete strangers at some weird Asian food/karaoke bar. I drank too much and sang, rather appropriately, 'It's my party and I'll cry if I want to.' I had just broken up with my partner of 9 years, moved to another city and started drama school. I went home and did exactly that.

So, you can see why I would want to make this one a bit special. And not as in 'special needs'.

Trouble is, I simply don't know what to do with myself. I have harbored secret desires to go away to Hawaii for 8 days to do a Tantric Teachers course but it is simply too extravagant an expense right now and I feel guilty enough for not contributing financially to our lives. I was originally going to have a party but that feels flat now and I can't come up with a theme for it anyway. I have been looking at a Writers Retreat in Western Australia for a week and that feels pretty good but I'm not sure. Again, I flit from one thing to another, looking for an answer to what ails me. I want this transition to mark a change for the better, financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Obviously, I'm not looking for one event to do all of that for me. I simply want it to be something nourishing that will give me time and space to work out what I want to d and how to go about it. I want it to be memorable and beautiful and I want it to feed my hungry soul in some small way. I want it to give me enough juice to replenish my sorely depleted stores because I just don't have anything else to give right now. And I resent what I am already giving.

And so, before I start walking in those oh so familiar circles again, I'll leave you. If you have any ideas on what a creative gal might do for her 40th, then do please chime in. I'm all ears. Well, not literally. That would be gross and impractical. I will be having a sort of 'coming of age' celebration in the red tent of which I am the fond but slightly over it, owner. So that will kind of be taken care of. I want ideas out of the box really.

Oh and if anyone has a really good idea of a birthday surprise for my hubby who turns 33 in two weeks. That would be good also. I paid for him to have a hang-gliding lesson last year. I was hoping that there was some kind of weekend retreat for screenwriters here but alas no. So again, I ask for ideas out of the box. Something fun and nourishing for him that's a little bit interesting or different. I'm a bit stumped.

Winter Caravan

*Illustrations by Jackie Morris