This Season of Joy

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We are in the midst of transitions and joy. The Christmas season brings us ample time to reflect and take stock of the past year, and to appreciate all the blessings we have every day. In the swirl of trimming the tree, wrapping presents, and baking cookies, we find room to meditate on the quietness of this season, and to appreciate the comforts this season brings to the home. Our own quietness has been interrupted a bit this year with the arrival of Sascha – our new German Shepherd puppy. She came home on Tuesday last week, and has been nothing but joyful, spunky and fun (okay perhaps a bit bite-y too). We’re settling in to having our new family member at home, and are particularly glad we can spend so much time with her during this busy time of year.

I’m hoping to spend a little time baking our lineup of Christmas cookies this week! My mom and I are hoping to make sugar cookies, thumbprint cookies, gingersnaps, and Norwegian tea cakes. Quite the roster! We’re also looking forward to more quiet time at home by the tree.

I hope everyone finds some time this week for a peaceful evenings and a good book.

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Finding Abundance

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I’m always astonished by how much variation there is between the seasons year to year. Last fall was long and golden and warm (too warm for Kevin and my taste) and this fall has been abrupt and cold. We had our first freeze last weekend, and the weather dropped down into the ’20s which completely changed the landscape of the changing leaves. I was upset, frustrated, and a bit unreasonably pessimistic. “Fall is ruined!” I complained to Kevin. Of course, he took my drama in stride and reminded me that there were still plenty of trees that would change over the next week or two. Needless to say, he was right and the trees are aflame all over the city. Though there are plenty that were damaged by the frost and now have freeze dried brown leaves, others were hardy enough to change colors despite the cold. I am reminded once again of the constant abundance of this season. The sidewalks are still shaded with golden light, and there are so many moments where we encounter beauty outdoors. Kevin and I were lucky enough to spot a turtle in the lake the other week – a rare sight indeed! He was bobbing about the shallows, and we could see his beautiful little striped head peeking out of the water. How special it felt to see him just when I was feeling so upset about the “ruined” fall. And now, the autumn is here in full force. The evening are getting dark earlier, and we are retreating into our rhythms at home as much as possible. Suddenly there is so much more space internally for contemplation – a thing I absolutely love about the fall. I’ve been turning more towards warm meals, particularly our favorite carrot soup recipe from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook.

In other fall news, I hope you all have enjoyed the revamp I’ve done to this space! I simplified the categories and added a page under the “About Me” tab about the festivals I celebrate. I hope you will find these changes useful and informative. I’m thinking of doing a weekly music series, to share songs that inspire me and fit in with the mood of the season. I’ve been listening to so much medieval music of late, and would love to include some in future posts. For now, take some time to light a candle, read a good book, sip something warm and cozy, and embrace these last jewel-bright days of October.

On Wild Ponies and Cathedrals

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There is something rare and magical about visiting a cathedral. I simultaneously feel small but also filled with light, energy, and importance. The vaulted ceilings turn my attention to the infinite, the heavens, and the stars – yet around every corner are small details that demand attention to detail and appreciation of beauty. Cathedrals to me are simultaneously awe inspiring and also extremely personal. The pictures in this post are from Exeter Cathedral, located in Exeter where I spent a semester studying during my junior year at Kenyon. This is definitely the cathedral I’ve visited the most, but I find that each time I visit, I discover new nooks and crannies and places to sit and contemplate. I enjoyed following a trail of acorns on this visit, discovering them on floor tiles, carved on pews and adorning the walls. I have a particular soft spot for acorns as they were my cubby symbol in kindergarten.

The remainder of the photos in this post are from a walk we took in Dartmoor National Park. The moorland is similar in many ways to my experiences in cathedrals. The open space creates a feeling of being small and surrounded by the wide world, yet if you look closer there are tufts of wild pony hair caught in the grass and old stone circles. These landscapes speak to me, and I can’t wait to return for another visit.

I have one more set of photos from this trip that will be going up later today!