Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday Ramble - Winter Abundance

It may seem odd to be writing about abundance in the depths of winter, but here we are the middle of January, and that is just what I am doing.

This week's word appeared in the 1400s, coming to us through Middle English and Old French, thence from the Latin abundāns, all meaning "full or overflowing". There are lovely synonyms for the noun: affluence, bounty, fortune, plenty, plethora, profusion, prosperity, riches, wealth. As adjectives, Roget offers us the aforementioned "full and overflowing", as well as lavish, ample, plentiful, copious, exuberant, rich, teeming, profuse, bountiful and liberal.

We use the word abundance (or the adjective, abundant) in late summer and early autumn as we weed and reap and gather in, turn the earth for next year's sowing, harvest the bounty of the season for consumption when the snow flies. Winter lies at the end of our labors but we try not to think of it at all.

Winter's eyes are as ardent as those of summer and autumn, but they view the world differently, taking in frosted evergreens against the clouds, the light falling across old rail fences, deep blue shadows on snow, bleached and tattered leaves dancing in the wind, the thousand-and-one worlds resting easy in glossy icicles down by the creek. When sunlight touches them, the icicles are filled with blue sky and possibility, and they seem to hold the whole world in their depths. Cloaked in white, the great round bales of hay abandoned in winter fields are the currency of summer passed, and they are not simply photo opportunities but eloquent reminders of seasons passed. Each and every element cries out for attention, for patient eyes and a recording lens, for recognition, remembrance and a slender scrip of words, for connection and perhaps for love.

The long white season is about harvest and abundance too, but the gathering is inward, the abundance quieter and sprinkled with questions. Around this time of year, I find myself querying the shape of my journeying, the slow passage across the eastern Ontario highlands with camera and notebook in hand, the sheaves of images captured and carefully archived, even the eyes with which this old hen is seeing the world. This year, of course, there is melancholy to my musings. The bright spirit with whom I did my wandering for so many years is no longer beside me, at least in the flesh. Beau and I hold him in our thoughts, and we go on.

Big life stuff, emotional ups and downs, questions and more questions—all are a kind of harvesting too. There is not the slightest chance that I will ever capture even a scrap of the snowy wonder and grandeur around me, and these days on the good dark earth are numbered, but in the warm darkness of my questions and my uncertainty, I gather everything in and rejoice.

Abundance is tea and cookies with an old friend. It's a ramble in the woods on snowshoes, a good book or three on the library table. It's a cauldron of soup simmering on the back of the stove, a bowl of oranges on the sideboard, Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) on the sound system. Small things perhaps and not exciting, but they are good and comforting things.


Barbara Rogers said...

May each day bring you more of this wonder and beauty. As ever, your sharing is much appreciated. Isn't it great to have a limitless life filled to the brim with abundance. When I have given workshops in the past, I would celebrate by doing a bit of the A-Bun-Dance...with lots of wiggling and booty shaking.

Tabor said...

Just what I needed to read. I like the glass is full attitude.