winter is coming

As the Fall season winds down I can feel the change in the air. Winter. Yes that is a George R.R. Martin reference as well. I love game of thrones. The past month has been really fast and yet with the oncoming winter season I can feel things begin to slow down. The world becomes a little more still and quiet. I have had a somewhat hard time adjusting to the Vermont winters as they are ungodly cold and long. This winter my goal is to embrace the natural progression towards meditation on the present, and observation of thoughts and life in general. I feel like so many of us, that I rush forward into the next season without staying rooted in where we I am "right now". The seasons are a great time to acknowledge quiet shifts in time. I love seeing the changes. On my way to work I pass by a house with a picket fence that has been alight with huge globs of bright red dahlias. I slow down as I drive by like a gawker at a hot lady. They are hot ladies. Wowza!

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But those days are now past, and the somber colors of winter are fast approaching. The dahlias have all disintegrated into the compost heap. The cool browns, golds, bright purple-blue and whites of the winter landscape are moving in. These are some pics of Underhill State Park on the way to Sunset Ridge trail a few weekends ago. I am not sure if this is a paper birch or a silver birch.IMG_1236

IMG_1237Here in Vermont, we have had out first snow and its fluffy brilliance has settled on everyone with bittersweet acceptance. Time to get winter tires, de-mouse the house, and get the wood stove going. For me, the latter has been my life lately. Wood. Hauling it. Stacking it. Making sure we have enough in the house. I absolutely love it. We'll see how I feel come February. The warm cacoon of orange light that radiates from the stove makes winter seem way less long. I also enjoy the repetitive, practical practice of the wood stove. Keeping the fire going, and all the manual labor involved. It is a meditation on responsibility and endurance. It also makes my biceps sore, which is never a bad thing.

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The house that I currently live in is an old farmhouse with a gigantic non-working dairy barn behind it. It is old, creaky, and well lived in-complete with old style thumb latches on the doors and wide burnished floor planks. It is owned by two lovely people who I happen to rent from. They also live here sometimes with their adorable baby, along with my other housemate Misha. The house is the most inspiring beautiful cozy welcoming place. It is filled with old funky pieces of furniture and odds and ends. I am so excited to experience winter here. There also happens to be tons of jungly ferns and plants which will help the long white days of winter.  I truly believe that in order to mentally get through a VT winter (or winter anywhere that is cold and seemingly endless)  ideally you need to have a few things. This is my list!

    • A warm house-above all. This house should preferably be super cozy and comforting.
    • Surround yourself with plants and live growing green things. Take care of them like they were your pets.
    • Foster your passions and indoor hobbies. For me, its painting, cooking, yoga, blogging, and developing my business.
    • Get out of the house as much as possible, so that you can appreciate coming home. For me, its practicing yoga at a bunch of different studios, my VT faves: Honest Yoga, Evolution, South End Studio, VT Studio Center and Tapna.
    • Force yourself to try winter sports if you haven't developed this habit already. For me, snowboarding and cross country skiing.
    • See your friends and neighbors. Make plans even when you want to turn into a lump on the couch in front of game of thrones re-runs. Game night!
    • Take vitamin D-if your into that kind of thing. I am.
    • Make delicious warm comforting food. Like this!
    • Try and appreciate/ be grateful for the slowness of winter, take stock of where you are and meditate on Right Now.
    • How can you make your present situation more peaceful, comforting, and inspiring? Make it happen.

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