Winter Intentions

Just wrapped up a long and wonderful weekend. Without traveling anywhere special or doing anything new, my husband and I had a great time: we spent the past four days relaxing, readying for Christmas, having beautiful friends over, watching football, napping, reading, cooking, and eating too much.

My husband’s son brought his dog over for Thanksgiving, and our Lily got to chinwag with another pupper; something she’s been sorely missing since our darling Buddy died earlier this month. Dogs are perfect spirits.

I’m deep into Didion’s book, ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’, and enjoying it more than ever. As with all skillful writing, I find myself re-reading paragraphs and pages just for the pleasure of speaking the language in my head again. So glad that Griffin Dunne released the recent documentary that has renewed my love for Didion’s work.

I did a drastic thing this weekend. After producing a bowl full of Meyer lemons earlier this month, our lemon tree started to quickly die. I don’t know why.

Typically, I would resist this by any means possible. But I’ve become sensitive about plants that are not just ill, but obviously beyond redemption. Like people and animals, as plant’s life force wanes, there are signs that are hard to ignore and heartbreaking to watch.

I consigned the beautiful lemon tree to the compost bin. That’s a radical thing for me to do. I usually spend winter trying to rescue plants like our Meyer lemon tree. It’s a lot of work and worry, it rarely succeeds, and in the end, it’s not worth the effort.

I can’t stand anymore to have a plant in the house whose life is ebbing away. Having that process unfold before me, in my space day after day, has just become unbearable. Give me burgeoning life and expanding hope, not the spectacle of wasting away that I’ve watched too many times in the exotic plants I’ve tried in vain to rescue.

I’m not terribly interested anymore in trying to cultivate plants that are not native to this area or at least capable of surviving in it. I want the plants I care for to be happy, not just hanging on. Citrus, as much as I love it, just doesn’t like life in New England. Ditto for other tropicals. The dream, of course, is to live close to or on the equator, where the tropicals I love thrive outdoors all year long. But let’s get real: we’re nowhere near the equator here in northern Connecticut, and northern Connecticut is where I live right now.

Wow. I can’t believe I just wrote all that. But there you go. Transition time. Learning to release. A new approach to plant cultivation based on what is, and a strategy to experience gardening to its fullest and with the most ease.

Today is November 27. Winter is setting in. We had snow flurries this morning, and the sky is a level gray. Our attention has turned indoors to home, to staying as warm and comfortable as possible until spring. I put a Santa hat on the Buddha at our outdoor shrine, then took it off thinking it was insolent, then put it back on again. My husband has no opinion on whether it’s right or wrong. I’ll probably take it off. I’m hoping for one thing for Christmas: a Berkley water purifier. I’m giving Didion books and humane insect catchers as presents this year. We’ll sleep through New Year’s Eve.

After January 1, we’ll dig in our heels, anticipate the Superbowl, read more Didion (next up: ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’), ski some of the local snow, drink hot tea, and start setting intentions for summer. Winter life is deliberate and steady, and doesn’t ask much. What wants to come through, comes through. Trust all of it.

Namaste my beautiful friends.

Barbie xo

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