Recently, I posted on Facebook that I am reading Waking Up in Winter by Cheryl Richardson. In truth, I am listening to it on Audiobook, which is always nicer when it’s read by the author. I’m enjoying this book so far – it’s very different from her others because it’s a journaled memoir. At the start of the book, she mentions that her husband reminded her of her love for May Sarton’s journals, so she structured this new book in much the same way.
The added gift for me in all of this is that it reminded me of my own love of May Sarton’s journals and that I have had Journal of a Solitude in my Kindle library for quite awhile. I used to own Plant Dreaming Deep and lost my copy of it to the storm all those years ago. “Why haven’t I read this one yet?” I wondered to myself.
Fast forward a few days when I decide to pick up Journal of a Solitude while simultaneously reading Waking Up in Winter. Reading them both is a great way of caring for myself during this introspective time of the year. Lately, I’ve felt a yearning inside of me, but I wasn’t quite sure what I was longing for. Reading both of these books seemed like a good place to discover what’s been missing.
What these two memoirs have given me so far is a reminder to notice the beauty that is all around me. I can get very distracted by work, time commitments, and a desire to do all the things I want to do. And those distractions keep me from really noticing the silky golden beauty of my granddaughter’s hair or the perfect grace of my cat’s leap onto the couch just before he snuggles next to me.
While uncovering and re-positioning plants after the latest freeze, I noticed how the Jasmine’s leaves are still so shiny and was reminded that we will soon see the tiny buds of her flowers begin to show. ( I am so grateful she didn’t wither away during this cold winter we’ve been having.)
Mardi Gras is early this year, so I am delighted by social media photos of the vibrant colors on glorious Carnival ball gowns. And the familiar Zydeco music on my Pandora playlist begins to fill my office because I am ready to wake up a little myself.
This morning I made a new chili recipe and I was happy to see the mix of yellow corn, red tomatoes and black beans. And the smell of Coriander and Cumin are all around me as I write this post.
I don’t like getting so caught up with the every day routine of life that I forget to notice and articulate the beautiful things that surround me.
Even before I recognized what was happening, I was drawn to the simple beauty of the blog, videos and Instagram photos of A Wooden Nest. Seeing the simple made wonderful in knitting a pair of socks or making a pot of oatmeal made me instantly connect with this woman’s work.
Once I connected with the realization that I was craving simple beauty, it all made sense. The journal memoirs, the videos and the enjoyment of being outside again after weeks and weeks of bitter cold weather – I needed to pay attention to all of it.
Noticing creates connections to those things I love – those things I am craving. Beauty brings me back to myself.
May Sarton said “Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”
So that’s my deeper intention for this little while – to slow down and force patience. To seek out the instruments of grace that surround me.
Now that I’ve opened my eyes, they won’t be hard to find.