Nature in Winter //

Thoughts Upon a New Year…

DenaDecember 31, 2016

Nature in Winter //

Disclaimer: I’ve been working on this post for a week. I’ve had a few bursts of inspiration, but there’s also been a lot of “dead air.” As has been the case every time I’ve tried to write for the past three-to-four years, it starts to come… but then it stops. And now, it’s 7:00 pm on New Year’s Eve, and knowing the way things usually go with me and my babies, I will be fast asleep very soon. The changing of the year will come & go, and I will be dreaming through it all. And so, I’ve decided to share this post exactly as it is, an unfinished draft.

"The Journey"
 By Mary Oliver
One day you finally knew
 what you had to do, and began,
 though the voices around you
 kept shouting
 their bad advice--
 though the whole house
 began to tremble
 and you felt the old tug
 at your ankles.
 "Mend my life!"
 each voice cried.
 But you didn't stop.
 You knew what you had to do,
 though the wind pried
 with its stiff fingers
 at the very foundations,
 though their melancholy
 was terrible.
 It was already late
 enough, and a wild night,
 and the road full of fallen
 branches and stones.
 But little by little,
 as you left their voices behind,
 the stars began to burn
 through the sheets of clouds,
 and there was a new voice
 which you slowly
 recognized as your own,
 that kept you company
 as you strode deeper and deeper
 into the world,
 determined to do
 the only thing you could do--
 determined to save
 the only life you could save.

I know that poetry isn’t everybody’s “thing.” And so even though it has been a huge part of my life since I was about seven years old, I’ve always hesitated to share it here. Still, on occasions when it’s really appropriate, I’ve shared a handful of poems or so in this space. Because sometimes words alone fail me and the only thing that allows me to feel like I am expressing myself at all, is poetry.

Today is one of those days, or I should say, now is one of those times. So at the top of this post is a poem. You might see them here more often. I’ve decided that for the next while, my writing here is going to shift. While I intend to continue sharing useful content and mommy-style blog posts, much of my life-focus is turning inward. As always, this blog will reflect the changing tides of my life. This is my space to share my heart, whatever that might mean.

Nature in Winter //

Nature in Winter //

That said, for today a few things–

First, there is the poem. It’s something that I discovered in the autumn of 2015 that happened to coincide perfectly with the journey that I had just started at that time. I won’t offer much further explanation than that right now. I’ll say simply that if you appreciate poetry, then I hope that it touches you in the deep, profound way that it touched me. And if you don’t appreciate poetry, then I hope that you found it easy enough to skip right over.

Nature in Winter //

Nature in Winter //

Second, I want to speak about my “Words of the Year.” For the past two years, I have ascribed a word to each year at its start. In 2015, my word was Survive. In 2016, my word was Bravery, accompanied by two quotes:

➳➳➳ “Fortune favors the bold.”
➳➳➳ “By acting bravely, we become brave.”

In 2017, my word will be STRENGTH, accompanied by three quotes:

➳➳➳ “Be the strongest person that you know.”
➳➳➳ “You have a spine like a sequoia.”
➳➳➳ “Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.”

Nature in Winter //

Nature in Winter //

Third, let me take a moment to speak about the images in this post. It’s winter here. Most of the plant-life died awhile back. The temperature usually hovers around freezing. When we go out for our walks these days, we are usually bundled and rushed. We went for a walk earlier this week. I had a desire to bring my camera and snap some photographs. But I stopped, thinking, “There will be nothing beautiful to photograph in this awful time of year.” Suddenly something came over me, a streak of rebellion against that thought. My mind challenged back, “Take your camera. Try to find the beauty hidden in the awful.”

Nature in Winter //

And so, I did. I bundled my babies up and I took my camera out on that bitter-cold, gray afternoon. The photographs that you see in this post are the result. They reminded me that there is beauty to be found, always. Even in the ugliest, most awful times. It’s always there if we look hard enough.

Happy New Year, my dear friends. Here’s hoping that two-thousand-seventeen is full of every love and light for all of us. xo


Comments (2)

  • chelsea jacobs

    January 2, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Can’t wait to see what you share in this space this year. And ooh, I do love Mary Oliver.

    1. Dena

      January 2, 2017 at 10:51 am

      Thanks so much, Chelsea. You are truly a dear. Wishing you every success & happiness in 2017. xo

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