Teetering

As one year teeters into another, my body is all at sea.  A stray bug or perhaps the sigh of inactivity after the busyness of December.  Flu sweeps in on Boxing Day and the lead up to the year end is fever, aches and pains, a chest infection.  It leaves me with labyrinthitis, an ear condition I get sometimes that feels like constant motion sickness.  So there is no optimistic, energetic start to the year.  I can’t walk far, I can’t use a screen, I can only read for short bursts.  Confined to the house, I hardly notice the passing days, or what is happening outside.

So far winter has been short and kind.  There has been almost no rain and little frost.  It has been mild, often grey but often sunny.  The weeks leading up to the end of the year blinked by and I wonder if the rest of winter will be so quick.

It’s the second week of January when I’m well again and I walk to the sundial.  It is just after dawn but you would hardly know it.  The morning is grey with little colour.  Subdued greens and browns with only a handful of gorse flowers offering anything brighter.  Drizzle seeps from the sky.  A gaggle of mallards follow me hopefully around the edge of the pond, clucking quietly.  Otherwise there are few obvious signs of life.  A male blackbird clatters out of a ditch and across the path, glaring at me from a fence post.

Raindrops cling to the alders on the path to the sundial.  Up top there is little evidence that the sun has just risen.  The hills are a misty grey smudge with a hint of pastel orange in the west.  The sky brims with dirty grey cloud.  Only a small patch of illuminated pink shows where the sun might be.  The horizon is blurred, the sea nondescript, turbines foggy shapes in the distance.  I hear the two note call of a great tit.  Another joins it at the other side of the park.  It is icy cold up here, my limbs already feel chilled.

Two woodpigeons fly from the path as I descend.  A thrush sings a song full of climbing whistles.  A lone herring gull charms worms with his feet.  The sky lightens in patches until a wisp of cloud forms miniature inverted tornado in the distance, trailing upwards.  Later, the first snow of the year falls.  It is hardly recognisable as snow, only a hint of white and the way the tiny flakes drift distinguishes it from the morning’s drizzle.  It seems that winter hasn’t made up its mind whether to be fair or foul.  It teeters between the two.  But my enforced absence has meant that I’ve already noticed a change in the air.  Already the days don’t seem quite so dark.  There may well be storms to come, but the scent of spring is there, on the misty horizon.


Blogger Book of the Month: Teagan Geneviene – Atonement in Bloom

Blogging has introduced me to many talented authors, some of whom have featured on this blog.  This year I’ll be highlighting a few of the great books I’ve been reading by fellow bloggers.

I’m always delighted by the unique and magical stories that Teagan Geneviene creates, many of which are written spontaneously, week by week, on her blog.  Her new book, Atonement in Bloom is the second in a series of books set in the magical town of Atonement, Tennessee.  This book has all the whimsy, wonder and enchantment of the first.  Ralda Lawton lives in an old house in a small southern town that has more than its share of magic. A woman created from flowers, a mischievous calico cat, a herd of glowing pigs and the Queen of Winter herself all appear in this novel. I would love to live in the enchanted town Teagan has created and to meet the characters that are so lovingly and inventively depicted. This is a hugely original book that weaves myth and imagination into a compelling story. The ending suggests that there may be more to come in future and, until then, I’ll be homesick to return to Atonement.  You can find Teagan’s blog here and her books are available on Amazon.

164 thoughts on “Teetering

  1. I am sorry to hear you were ill, Andrea. Your skies look much like mine, punctuated by periods of sunny weather. It has been not been a restful winter here, with much going on, and like you, I look forward to spring. As always, I love your descriptions of the seasons.

    A beautiful review of Teagan’s book, Andrea! My copy of Atonement in Bloom arrived, and I look forward to some quiet time to sit down and enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so happy you are feeling better and that Spring is somewhere out there in the mist. Last Sunday it was a gorgeous April like day of 65 and today we are in the middle of a 2-day, 6-8 inch snowstorm. Fortunately, it does not look like it will be horrible. This is our second snowstorm in a month. Why it has to arrive on the second Sunday of the month, I don’t know. That is when our church holds its monthly Celtic Eucharist which I absolutely love because of the gentle, contemplative nature of the service. Will have to scrape the cars off and shovel out the back where the snowplows have boxed them in sometime today or tomorrow. Last year we only have one snowstorm that arrived in March, when the sun was strong enough to actually melt the snow the same day it was dumped. No such luck in this El Nino year.
    Love the book review–makes me want to read the book. Pat

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Dear Andrea, I understand that teetering feeling too well. You expressed it so beautifully. What a terrible way to begin a new year. I’m happy to know you are on the mend, getting out and about. Feel fabulous fast, my friend!

    With that in mind my gratitude that you read and enjoyed Atonement in Bloom knows no bounds. You succeeded in placing a smile on my face, where a moment before a grimace had been (my back is unhappy with me for relocation preparations). You’ve warmed my heart on this snowy day.
    Oh, yes, I do intend a third novel in the Atonement, Tennessee series. It will explore the long ago beginning of Cael and the original Esmeralda… and perhaps Lilith. Not sure about that yet — or about exactly how to handle presenting the story.
    Hugs on the wing.

    Like

  4. A very similar winter here…different shades of gray…mild…record highs this week…but the days are longer now, noticeably, and that gives hope for spring, re-birth…and so it goes. I’m glad to hear you are feeling better.

    Like

  5. I enjoyed your rich descriptions of the winter days, Andrea, as always. I find your writing mesmerizing. I am glad you are feeling better, and were able to get out, and are already seeing signs of more light and less dark. It was easy to stroll along the path with you, with your artful description. And I am so happy to read about Teagan’s new book, and looking forward to reading more of her colorful writing and the quirky characters in Atonement. My warm wishes for smooth writing to both of you….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Teetering by Andrea Stephenson & Her Bloomin’ Review! | Teagan's Books

  7. I’m so sorry to hear you ended the year not feeling so well. I’m glad you had a more gentle winter to make things more bearable. Sometimes its good to ring in the new year in enforced calmness, gives us a chance to reflect, and be grateful for little blessings like all the beautiful scenic walk u painted for us so vividly it felt like I was walking beside u.

    Like

  8. Andrea, I am so sorry to read how ill you’ve been and hope you are soon feeling much better.

    We have had a poorly start to the year, my mother so bad 111 called an ambulance for her and she still has a terrible chest infection. We both have had ‘deafness’ and vertigo problems and reading about your diagnosis gives an inkling to its possible cause. The fatigue overall is tremendous and debilitating. I’m slowly improving and today was out the first time in two weeks – very scary and busy!

    It’s lovely the days are slowly becoming drawn out and may Spring and its warmth greet us soon.
    Take good care of yourself and keep warm. Hugs, Annika xx

    PS. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts about Teagan’s book!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love this – it’s description of the teetering into a new year – the darkness and greyness of winter. And I commiserate re. the flu. I’ve been confined all week to bed. Catching up on lots of reading though.
    And the air has shifted – an opening of some veil- an opening into spring.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Let us wish for better and healthier times ahead. I hope you are feeling better
    and regaining strength.
    Going through the whole mess of this infection, fever and labyrinthis I can wholly agree it is no fun at all.

    Your spring signs cheered me up.

    miriam

    Like

  11. What a dreary way to end one year and bring in another! So many people were ill during the holidays. I thought I would succumb but was lucky it never went past a slightly scratchy throat (maybe all those teas and vitamin C…)
    Happy to hear you are well now.
    It’s funny, because I am reading a book by a fellow blogger, too. Should finish it shortly. I have been encouraging fellow bloggers’ books for a couple of years now. This one sounds most interesting and I shall have to check her out. Thanks for that, Andrea.
    Happy New Year! Hope the year brings you much joy and happiness and good health and … whatever you desire!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Putting on my audiology hat, I can affirmatively say that labyrinthitis is major ickitis. I’ve had it once, too — a mild case, I think, all told — and one time was enough for me. I’m sorry you suffer with it and I’m glad you are feeling better! What a start to the year — tittering and woozy indeed! May the rest of the year flow with a good balance of health, joy, and satisfaction. Take gentle care — it takes time for these little arches in our mastoid to get fully reaffirm their bearings … Na’ama

    Like

  13. The sun is shining outside my window despite becoming lost in your wintry world…after the busyness of the festive season, I experienced a pause between the years as well…I’m glad to read you’re feeling better!

    Like

  14. Glad you are back to feeling well again, Andrea. Being ill is no picnic.
    I, too, have noted the shift in day-length… we are about 20 minutes longer and that is good news as we head down the road to the warmer days of spring. Stay well!

    Like

  15. Oh my, Andrea, please be well. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been sick and glad you’re on the mend and able to get out and about again. Not pleasant when we’re sick and seems to put our life on hold. Can give us a whole new perspective as we work through it though.

    Congratulations to your fellow author, Teagan Geneviene, on her new book and being your blogger book of the month. I hope the sun shines soon for you again and warms your bones sparking glimmers of new inspiration.

    Love and hugs 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Yikes. You got that dreadful flu that has lain/laid waste to whole armies of healthy people. Local theory here is that it’s our very kind and calm weather that has enabled this miserable flu; cold weather would have killed the germs. But leave it to you to write so compellingly about charmless illnesses and grey skies.
    I shall look further into Teagan’s books.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I am sorry to learn you have been ill, Andrea. I picked up a cold last week as well and have had a sore throat all weekend. First week back at work is not the best. I am hoping it won’t develop and am self medicating like mad. I also love Teagan’s writing. There is something very special about how she puts stories together. I think she has a huge talent. Have a lovely week.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hello Andrea, here in Staffordshire,birds and animals are already forming and defending territories, but a pound to a pinch of snuff, Winter as still got a trick or two up the old sleeve for them.
    Keep warm and safe. Get well soon.
    .Mick.

    Like

  19. It’s awful to hear you’ve had such rough start to what is supposed to be a fresh, hopeful new year. But being sick does give one perspective on how great it is to feel well, doesn’t it?

    Like

  20. It doesn’t get as cold and as frosty out here, but it triggers vicious bouts of vertigo to my wife occasionally, so much so that she can’t even stand straight at times. I feel sorry for the condition that has debilitated you at the onset of the new year. Fortunately, you have recovered already and are back to your usual self, captivating with your pen as ever. No turn of weather, no drops of ice or water, no birdsong is complete unless you brood on them at your blog.

    Thanks for introducing  Teagan Geneviene to me. I plan to visit her blog soon enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ooh, seems like the time of year to get sick. I suffer from vertigo on occasion. I find that at any tiny little sign of it coming on, I take an antihistamine right away. It usually staves it off. My preference is phenylephrine.

    Sounds like you’ve had a mild winter, so far. We had three inches of snow over the weekend. I love when it snows, but wish it would melt before the next one rolls through. That doesn’t seem likely, because it’s pretty cold.

    Glad you’re feeling better. Stay well and warm.

    Like

  22. Another piece of prose that reads like poetry as you so eloquently document the ‘teetering’ season. Yes, If Winter comes can Spring be far behind?

    Like

  23. Yes it sure has been dark and gloomy these last few weeks, even down here in ‘sunny’ Jersey. Although I don’t enjoy the cold we really could do with a proper taste of winter at some stage.

    Like

  24. Oh, those lurgies are so nasty. I hope you are well on the way to recovery, Andrea. We need you and all your beautiful, colour-filled writing!
    I’m not sure how I’d feel about living in a place called Atonement … but the book sounds a delight. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Francesca. I was imagining the town, and the people, and the story. Suddenly the name “Atonement” came to me. I wanted the story to be (in part) about the town itself. Somehow it worked for me. The heroine wasn’t too sure about moving into a house with a graveyard on the property… But hey — the neighbors are quiet! She comes to feel protected of the neglected historic cemetery, which also figures in the story. If you visit Atonement, Tennessee, I hope you will enjoy yourself. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Andrea, I’m sorry that your new year began with the flu. Glad you got back out to write your wonderful description of your walk within the world of nature that surrounds you. Best wishes for 2019. ❤

    Like

  26. Glad you are better! Did you get a flu shot?
    Anyway, I haven’t read anything of Teagan’s, other than her blog, which I adore!!!
    Temperatures are plunging up here.
    The sunny side is, plenty of time to work on my new Art Gown! Creativity in any genre is sunshine.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll try to stay warm, Teagan! I just got back from buying a new sketchbook, pencils and the almighty erasers. The weather guy lied! He said 0C today. It was -8, and then the wind almost knocked me over.
        Your blog is lots of whimsy, and one day I will read a book of yours!
        Your joy and passion for your characters is unmistakable, and undeniable!

        Liked by 2 people

  27. Some nice writing, Andrea! Here in the Inland Empire region of Southern California, rain is predicted for an entire five days, somewhat rare for this area. We are hoping that the winds won’t intrude, as they often have, to blow away the rain clouds. We are drinking lots of hot tea, staying inside and watching episodes of “Vera.” So nice! Sending regards to you for health and more writing.

    Like

  28. Happy New Year, Andrea! You know I’ve always said your writing is a bit like poetry. I’m now realizing it reminds me of the style the author of “H is for Hawk” used. Have you read it? You’re channeling similar vibes:).

    Like

  29. A belated Happy New Year! We were over for Christmas and New Year and it was lovely, well for me, the wife, her mum and uncle were all chilly but took to it and rather enjoyed it by the end which was impressive.

    Like

      • They didn’t want to go back. It was all about the walking and the coldness. I am glad we didn’t have a truly bad holiday weather wise. Although it was a bit cold when we broke down outside of Castleton, just too far to go anyway warm whilst waiting for the AA. That was a long hour.

        Liked by 1 person

  30. Lovely description. Winter in my corner of the Midwest is also uncertain; while land below and above us have been pounded with snow, we’ve hardly had more than dustings. But the cold continues to be harsh and raw, and giving little hope for spring. We’ll just have to wait, and hope. 🙂 xxxxxxx

    Like

  31. Glad to hear you’re feeling better now Andrea. If I was an artist, I could paint the landscape based on your writing. It is as always a pleasure to read and a lesson in writing itself. I look forward to experiencing the seasons at your end through your writing. While here in Mumbai, we’re enjoying winter while it lasts. Am not sure how spring is here. Hopefully the cool clime will continue here too.

    Like

  32. Sorry to hear your New Year was rung in feeling so under the weather, but glad to hear you’re better. Your winter sounds like ours: lots of gray skies and we’ve had our fair share of rain. However, we haven’t had any snow at out house. The closest the snow level came down was still a few hundred feet above us – we look out at 2 small mountains and have seen snow in the distance. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

    Like

  33. Goodness – you were really teetering yourself there for too long! I am glad to hear you are feeling better and hope you continue to do so. I suppose you might say weather is teetering a bit here, too. Some days, reasonably warm for January, yet it’s going down to 7˚ one night this week. I think a mild winter would work for me. 🙂 Walking is healing.

    Like

  34. Ugh, your Boxing Day sickness put you at a place where I was with a concussion – weak, fatigued, achy, no TV. I can’t imagine you confined to the house, knowing the way you love walking in the outdoors and “seeing” everything. So glad you’re better and out there again. We’ve had a “light” winter here in New England so far also, although I’m afraid to say it out loud. Just having a bit of more light, and seeing brown dirt instead of white snow and ice, helps me feel hope. :–)
    GREAT review on Teagan’s new book. It sounds a bit like Sarah Addison Adler’s books which include lots of magical realism. I’ll go get myself a copy.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Another lovely post and I hope you are feeling better now. Winter has been mild here too, perhaps a little too mild as I’m seeing flowers I wouldn’t normally see at this time. I’m slightly wistful for snow (just a few flakes) 🙂

    Like

I love comments, please leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.