Everything I love about the slip into winter has already happened: the harvest, the magic of autumn and Halloween, the lights and celebrations of yuletide, the optimism of the new calendar year. So many wonderful things packed into four months, with all their expectation and excitement, giving that season a particular luminosity. But now what? The new year is here, we’re back to work and routine, those shiny resolutions are starting to seem a little dull and difficult. There is always beauty in nature, but sometimes my walks seem interchangeable as the world lies dormant waiting for spring. Much as the dark half of the year is my favourite, this deadest part of the season is the time of year I find most challenging.
But this poem, Winter Transition by Crone Chronicler, prompted me to think of this period in a different way. I love her concept of the world settling into ‘ordinary time’. The festivals do nothing if not remind us of transience and that each season has its purpose. While I know the purpose of this part of the year for me, it’s still difficult to say goodbye to that season that I love. So I’m glad I had this reminder of the value of that ‘ordinary time’ between celebrations. I realised that taking the tree down and returning the house to its usual state wasn’t just a chore, marking the end of one of the high points of the year, but was a ritual in itself, returning it to that tabula rasa in which my dreams can take root.
And I have a box of dreams to work with. Not resolutions. Not must dos. Creative snippets from which my year will be shaped. When I retreated to the dark, I took note of everything – my dreams, meditations, writings, quotes that spoke to me, things I saw. And I gathered almost 100 starting points – the ‘bones’ of my creative year. Each one is recorded on a scrap of paper and stored in this box, germinating in the dark. A couple are full-blown story ideas, most are a rag-tag collection of themes to be explored, random images, character sketches, story titles, potential blog posts. Some of them will fade away, losing importance, never destined to be born. Others will make magic – shaping themselves into worlds and people and stories and art.
This is the honing tide of the year, when I begin to polish and shape the dreams I have dreamed. I’ve already begun, plucking ideas from the box and setting those that resonate aside. But they’re still only chimeras – characters without a story; objects without a purpose; tableaux without a context. If I do nothing with them, they’ll wither and that magical time in the dark will be lost.
But no fear, the dead of the year is here. Plenty of time to hone and polish and make sure these dreams take flight. I’ve returned from that magical tide of myth and magic, back to ‘ordinary time’ and space. Where the cold crisp mornings and evenings, with the moon bright in a clear sky give space for clarity of thought and the wild wind urges transformation.
Please take a moment to discover one of my more recent blogging companions at Backtowhatever. She has kindly nominated me for the Inspiring Blogger Award. Here, you’ll find writing that is poignant and powerful – making beauty of some very difficult personal experiences.