Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Inspiration Celebration: antidote to the blahs

I love Winter, I really do. I love the sound of snow falling; the intense quiet after a storm; the sense of hidden spaciousness when the land is blanketed in snow. I love Cowgirl's excitement when the first flakes fall and she rushes outside to capture them on her tongue; how impervious to cold she becomes when sledding is involved; and how winter days require frequent hot cocoa breaks. And I love the quality of introspection that cold weather and white landscapes evoke.

But, I ask you: Is it my imagination or has winter become dirtier? As a kid, I don't remember all the grit and grime associated with snowfall. Okay, trips into New York City we would joke about gray snow (yellow snow - yes, we knew about that!) but now it seems like slushy, gritty, brown snow quickly arrives on the heels of a fresh snowfall. And I am weary of the grime which is everywhere: on cars, coats, bags, boots, garage floor and rolling around on my wood floors where bare feet are assaulted by the tiny but oh-so-sharp nuggets.

Even my winter boots - veterans of many years of snowy walks - have collapsed under the strain.

that's electrical tap holding the sole of my left boot on (meanwhile, i track the journey of my replacement boots from one snowy fed ex center to another)

Coupled with the exhaustion of lugging around the weight of extra clothing (remember my Moose-walking outfit? At least 2 layers of everything and I walk him 2 to 3 times a day) and I am ready to hang a white flag and surrender. But as Cowgirl reminds me "we never give up - do we mommy?" and so with the going tough, I got going.

When the winter blahs threaten, here's what I do:

Grab my camera and take pictures. Under the guise of being artful, I find the exercise of looking for interesting shots engages me at a time when I would normally lapse into moody reverie. It gets me moving, looking, thinking and present.

Experiment a bit. Which can mean interesting disasters.

this polaroid got stuck in the camera and I had to manually pull it out and then ...

i got the crazy idea that it was too cold inside for the film to proper process and not having a radiator, i thought I would pop the pictures into a warm oven. of course, i forgot about them being in the oven! hence the interesting blue effect (and a curdling you cannot see in the scans)

Paint paint paint. If gray is the landscape outside my house, well, I can find rainbows within.

my latest painting for DEEP; such a powerful experience, words fail me right now

Mix things up: indoor picnics, dance fests and ice cream cones when it is 5 below zero.

When all else fails, I surrender to the blahs and crawl into bed with a good book or my drawing pad.

contour drawings using my non dominant hand

Also helpful - putting my woes into perspective:

Things could always be worse!

What home remedies do you have for the winter blahs?


  1. hot tea, warm blankets, and a good book! i do notice the dirtier, grittier snow these days that i do not recall at all from when i was a kid. love your outdoor tree shot.

  2. Perhaps our mothers were cleaning everything up (like you are) so we could enjoy the magic of the snow. I can't believe your drawing with your non-dominant hand. Wow! I love your latest painting for DEEP. The little girl in the center has the sweetest face. I'm glad you're all continuing to enjoy ice cream throughout the winter. Evan tore my Tee and Cakes sticker off of my car today- can you come out to CO to accompany us for cupcakes and another sticker?

  3. *Snicker* - love the last photo.

    Ah, you wise woman, YES! To pull within, to keep moving...but not forced - rather, accepting.

    The description of winter you provided is so accurate. The grime, the dirt, the churning I think is all a reflection on our needing to move more, be more, somewhere else quicker, NOW! In the process of all of that we try to push nature out of the way, force it under our control. Cover it with sand or salt or push it to the side so we can get on with "real" life.

    In the process, we forget what real life really is.

    I am so warmed knowing there are lovely women like you out there, living with the freshly fallen snow, surrendering to and embracing all that comes.


  4. Wow. Love how we have learned, discovered, agreed to allow our moods to shift by being present with our cameras... engage with what is rather than the rumbling monkey mind that is bound to follow.

    Ofcourse in Bakersfield all I have is fog. No snow. Katherine is in a snow blanketed, 20 below Massachusetts but for us, it is fog delays for Samuel. We're heading out in a bit in the early morning fog, the two of us... specifically to take fog photos.

    Because like cowgirl says, we never give up.

    We engage even when we don't feel like engaging because... that's when "it" happens. The lovely shift.

    Such a wise mama-baby pair... oh, and the painting IS a wordlessness moment in bliss... ohhhh wow.

    (That was where the first WOW - With Out Words... was born.)

    My CED2011 check in is so simple by comparison! LOL

  5. Looking on the bright side - at least we can pee indoors. The blahs have hit hard here this week. The reality of winter has set in. Can spring be not far off? I certainly hope so. The layers - oh the layers, and the time spent putting them on and taking them off. I'm over it all, myself. The thought of being through the worst of this cold snap it what is keeping me going. Knowing this too shall pass. But it's a struggle and I am focusing on literally, the task at hand and not letting my race-circuit mind tell me otherwise. Now, if I could just get my feet warm....

  6. well said, ah yes going potty inside is such a good thing.

    rainbows and butterflies just waiting for you in the paint

  7. Being from the South, I know nothing of this gritty snow you speak of, or any snow for that matter. I did live in Seattle for about 5 years in my late teens/early twenties, but when it did snow there it was melted before you had a chance to enjoy (or get sick of) it.

    Down here, we are currently dealing with dreary rainy weather (rather like Seattle today actually). For which I use many of the same tricks as you: snuggling with books, painting of course. Hmmm but no ice cream, must look into this...

    That non-dominant contour drawing of yours is quite impressive, as is that pedicure! Currently, I dare not show my feet outside of home or the yoga studio :) Oh and I just adore the birds in both paintings!

    Much Love,

  8. Here in the Central Valley we get days and days of winter fog which makes most of us grumpy and out of sorts. The only remedy is to head for the mountains or the coast, where we can find some sun. I agree that art can pull us out of the blahs -- the excitement of creating something energizes me. Your feet photos are great! :)
    XOXO Gina

  9. Your DEEP painting is so tender and full of power. Thank you for sharing this.

    Today, as I brace for another icy storm, likely to trap me at my house for the 4th time this winter, I wish I could fall into winter's arms instead of fighting her every step of the way. What would it be like to embrace the rhythms of the seasons? Someday I'd love to know:)

  10. those first moments when the snow has blanketed the ground, and the air is still and oh so quiet. those are the moments that get us thru the dirty gritty days to follow. your first picture is beautiful, so peacefull. then i chuckled at the last photo. great post. thanks.

  11. The "messed up" pictures are great, I guess it shows that even mistakes are beautiful.

  12. I love your polaroids!