Recommends: Fiadhiglas on Winter and Death

January and February are hard months for me. I like December well enough, with its bright holidays and crisp weather, but once Christmas / Yule / what-have-you has passed, I'm tired of winter and ready for spring. And of course it doesn't work like that. That's why this post by Laiima / Fiadhiglas really resonated with me, because it talks about the difficulties of winter, and how the season is nevertheless necessary and useful if we can learn to embrace it.

Since we moved to Maryland in 2008, every winter I struggle with honoring the season. Winter is about death, about letting go, about lying fallow. But every year around this time, I feel overwhelmed with loss and grief and giving up on cherished hopes. Every year, I yearn for spring: new growth, new beginnings, new hopes. And yet, the time is not right for any of that.

Thank you, Laiima, for reminding me that I'm not the only one who struggles to get through winter, and that as a time of reflection and trimming of dead weight, it is nevertheless invaluable.


Recommends threads are Open Threads where I highly encourage promotion and self-promotion and cross-linking. What have you read or written this week? Please share!


Patrick Knipe said...

That's an interesting- for me!- perspective of winter. I live in Subtropical Australia. For me, winter is a four week period of actually honestly nice weather and temperature. I treat it a lot like other people treat spring.

Things I have read this week... I started re-reading the Silmarillion, by JRR Tolkien. One of the most fascinating things about Tolkien's writing of this nature- LOTR and the Silmarillion both- is that it can be really dry, but there's always that chance it'll hook you and draw you inextricably in.

Things I have written... Well, I'm the runner of a Pen and Paper game run over IRC that I've been running since March, which typically involves writing thousands of words a week. Does that count?

bekabot said...

THEY are coy, these sisters, Autumn and Death,
And they both have learnt what it is to wait.
Not a leaf is jarred by their cautious breath,
The little feather-weight
Petals of climbing convolvulus
Are scarcely even tremulous.

Who hears Autumn moving down
The garden-paths? Who marks her head
Above the oat-sheaves? A leaf gone brown
On the ash, and a maple-leaf turned red --
Yet a rose that's freshly blown
Seals your eyes to the change in these,
For it's mostly green about the trees.

-------Amy Lowell

Fluffy_goddess said...

I've always rather liked winter. Granted, I grew up considerably north of where I suspect you live, so my experiences were softened by snow days and sledding and the fact that I've always liked sweaters. To me, it's not so much a season of death as it is a season of (relative) rest -- the light leaves the sky early, and the cold reminds people to eat warm things and sleep in cozy nests. There are storms, of course, and those are fantastic -- winter is no gentle friend, but it is certainly a powerful one, and dangerous..

Of course, I have the immense priviledge to be safe, and warm, and well-fed, and though bad winter driving is a very stressful thing, it's not something I can really say I resent dealing with. If I were in a less lucky position, I'd probably prefer summer, even though that's the season when everyone goes away on vacations so it's hard to make plans, it's painfully bright, and I wilt in the humidity.

Ana Mardoll said...

@bekabot and @fluffy_goddess, those were beautiful posts. Thank you!

Ana Mardoll said...

As a Recommends, I'm delighted that one of our Ramblers posted this week on BOTH the Bechdel Test AND Twilight as it relates to Jesus Christ Superstar:

How awesome is that. :D

Laiima said...

How lovely to see my name and a blog post I wrote referenced by someone else! I'm glad it resonated for you, Ana.

What I'm reading right now is a biography of Brian Eno. I had never heard any of his music, and barely heard of him at all; I got the book from our library because Spouse likes Brian Eno's music, and Spouse has enjoyed reading biographies of musicians. Spouse has not gotten far into this particular book, because it is densely written, and somehow did not capture his attention in an I-must-urgently-read-this way. I picked it up out of curiosity, and was astonished to find that (according to the author) Brian Eno seems to think like I do about a variety of things. We might possibly even have the same Myers-Briggs personality type, but he is definitely a fellow Perceiver. Now I *really* want Spouse to read the book because he could then get insight into how my mind works. (But I fear since I've already mentioned that wonderful connection, he may have immediately lost in interest in the book. Spouse does not enjoy thinking or talking about psychology or personality or 'what makes people tick' - which is unfortunate because I enjoy all of those topics.)

Dav said...

This is old but new to me: an overview of a book series by John Ringo, who is an awfully good sport for both agreeing with the review and encouraging others to read it as well.

Most helpful is the new phrase I have picked up: OH JOHN RINGO NO.

[TW for rape, misogyny, sexual slavery, and excerpts that you can never unread]

Timothy (TRiG) said...

Maybe the next time Chris is doing "Snarky Twilight", or even in one of Ana's posts, we might like to recommend that Bella should change her story. (Just my excuse to link to my blog, and to a song I have fallen in love with.)


Ana Mardoll said...

LOL, and the URL link to "naughty" flagged you as spam. You've been added to the Whitelist. :)

Timothy (TRiG) said...

"Naughty" is spammy? That didn't occur to me. (I must have an innocent mind.)


chris the cynic said...

This week I continued going through Deus Ex with:
Training mission, Post 5: Stuff that was cut out of the game prior to the release, including some information a previous version of this part of the training mission
Training mission, Post 6: About the character of Gunther Hermann and the way aiming works in the game.

I started going through .hack//SIGN. First I made a general introduction after refreshing my knowledge of the series with an all day viewing. Then I wrote about what happens in the first episode before the first line is spoken, also speculating on the possibility that I like it because it has hope that a lot of things lack. Or something like that.

I lectured windows.

I wrote some exposition about monsters, as I recall vaguely inspired by discussion at Slacktivist about how monster movies often have people act like they've never heard of zombies/vampires/whatever.



That actually is of particular interest to me at the moment because the more I think about it, the more I think that .hack can be seen as characters changing their story. Obviously they follow the plot as written, but within their fictional universe the story is orchestrated to be a tragedy and only fails to become one because the characters in it flat out refuse to accept that.

It's somewhat more complicated than that, because I do see some form of destiny being on their side, but it's a very limited form. Fate in .hack, as near as I can tell, operates on a principle of, "Fate will get you where you need to go*, the rest is up to you," and "the rest" is where all of the work lies and where the difference is made.

So I do see it as changing one's story. And it has to be said that the story fights back. If you're set up for a fall and then don't actually fall the narrative will come after you hard. It will knock you down itself. If you get back up then it'll hit you harder the next time, but in the end the message seems to be that your story can be changed.


*Er, actually it's not even quite that helpful. Mostly destiny sets up introductions. Occasionally it'll help you connect with someone you've already met. Getting where you need to go is usually left up to you as well.

icecoldblank said...

Hey, thanks! What can I say, I was inspired! :D

Rakka said...

Personally, I like winter. What is hard for me are the weeks or months, sometimes, before winter arrives properly and it's sleet and rain and 7 hours of daylight and no snow to lighten it up. The end of autumn is the time of little deaths, winter is the pause between exhale and inhale, a time of cultivating and preparing for the onslaught of new spring. I am at my most creative phase at autumn and winter - spring is busy and noisy and too light and harsh and drippy and annoying, and summer is busy and crowded and dashing and there's always too little time to sit down and let the ideas flow and ripen.

Timothy (TRiG) said...

Chris, I'm glad you liked that. I thought it might interest you.


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