Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fog and Diffusion - Going Within

What to say about these last few weeks before Yuletide, the dark interval when daylight arrives on the scene late and is gone by four o'clock in the afternoon? It is a time in the turning year when all the waking world seems nebulous, dusky and diffused by fog and rain.

I sense a kind of drawing inward on my part at this time of the year, and the signs of my retreat are visible in the little blue house in the village. Stacks of reading material are being extracted from the shelves in the study and placed on the old library table - the larder is overflowing with lovely smoky tea and chai - there are rows and rows of yellow beeswax candles lined up in a desk drawer, and the incense blends chosen evoke summer and early autumn when I light them in evening.

We modern humans don't hibernate as many of our kindred in field and forest do, but our distant ancestors may well have been hibernators in some measure, and I often wonder if our notions of retreat and drawing inward are not ancient memories - mere scraps or traces of early protocols which still reside in the dusty recesses of our minds.

Hearth, tea, books and drawn draperies beckon, and their sovereign call is difficult to resist. Wherever this seasonal need to retreat originates, it is something truly compelling, and I always have to be firm with myself in late November. There is a small and persistent voice suggesting that I don't really need to do "this or that", that I don't have to turn this system on and write a journal page in the morning, that there is no real requirement to sally forth with camera, notebook or easel, that whatever is clamouring for my attention can wait another day or two.

How to cope with the desire to retreat within? I think of the slow return of the light after Yule - I try to remember the light somewhere within and continue pottering along the frosty trail, whatever it takes to get going. The rewards of doing so are always worth the fuss, the cajoling of self and the effort.


Anonymous said...

Your words and images are always so nourishing, Cate. Reading your blog has become like reading a Book of Days for me. Thank you.

Endment said...

Your blanket of fog picture is wonderful... Looks just like my world today.
How well you express the instinct to find a warm safe nest... I have been reading,sewing and doing inside things. Perhaps not knowing whether the internet will work or be on hybernation itself may contribute :)

Thanks for this wonderful post.

Anonymous said...

I love this photo! It's like my mind gets sometimes. Yes, it is time to hibernate, even here in So Cal. The wind blew last night after rain the night before and the city was clear and crisp today. I am looking down at a haze of blue and pink hanging over the downtown area right now. You have the forest and I have the city. But there are beauty in both.