A Fondess For What Is

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Winter has arrived, with a cold snap or two, snowfalls, icy roads and the glorious sunrises and sunsets that ink the sky in indigo, purple, pink, and gold, making the world’s entire substance seem all and only mystery and magic. I do love winter. One morning, I watched the warm river kiss the cold air…normal evaporation made visible, and I was enchanted.

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I’ve come to welcome January and the ways it stitches together its days with silence, offering a lovely long pause between the high spirits of the holidays and the electric energy of spring. I’ve pulled out my four favorite books on meditation and am trying to deepen my practice by reviewing their suggestions and wisdom, and am whittling away at the pile of bedside books, something I don’t have time to do as much as I like during the bustle of activity between Halloween and New Year’s Day.

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I’ve realized I don’t have a favorite month, but harbor a fondness for the special gifts of each. January offers a lovely respite of stillness and silence, and the days are still short enough that we can enjoy evenings by firelight, making Full Moon Cottage cozy and bright. Malarky is able to settle a bit by nightfall, and the cats are gaining the confidence to join our circle once again.

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We’ve had a steady flow of guests this month, and that’s been a wonderful way to ease the post-holiday sea change. Last week was the second anniversary of Henry’s death, so we gathered at Full Moon for a meal and the chance to share memories, a gift of an evening altogether. Phillip’s older brother was a remarkable person, and it felt right to honor him and name the ways he blessed our lives. We all noticed how Fergus found contentment on the lap of Henry’s wife, and thought either he sensed her grief and offered special comfort to her, or that perhaps Henry’s spirit had nudged Fergus a bit. Some special energy was present, since Fergus is generally most reluctant to settle in anyone’s lap, let alone stay there.

Phillip and I have been planning adventures for the weekends we don’t have visitors, too. We recently toured a local coffee mill and enjoyed learning more about buying and brewing coffee, and sampling all the different varieties. Naturally, we came home with several blends to try, and they’ve made our morning coffee time a sweeter ritual before Phillip has to leave for school.

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And then it’s time to check the bird feeders, toss cornmeal in the yard, and keep the suet containers full, for my sweet guests have come to rely on Full Moon Cottage for their (several times a day) seeds and meals. I worry about them during storms; goodness they’re tenacious.

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The art room continues to benefit from Phillip’s gifts when he isn’t working on jobs for others. I’m excited for it to be finished. I was casting about for an art project when a friend encouraged me to create a piece around the themes of love and compassion, for a calendar contest. Now, she’s an actual artist, so I had originally sent her the notice calling for submissions, but she prodded me to try as well. I have no illusions about my talent, but it was fun to play, and so I thank her for the nudge, like Henry’s to Fergus: “Try it, and enjoy yourself!”

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There are darker days, of course, when I think about Riley and Clancy, and look at photographs from a year ago, when they were still both so integral to our daily round, but the sadness visits less often, and their spirits seem more a constant, loving presence in our home. Malarky’s happy energy and my dear cats bless the daily round for now, which is all we have, and I realize I feel a deepening fondness for what is: January, sunrises, firelight, friends, family and four-leggeds. It’s not just, “Be here, now,” but love being here now. I do.

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We are hallowed by our memories and our days are holy, and I am blessed.

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8 thoughts on “A Fondess For What Is

  1. Your photographs are so beautiful, and of them all, my favorite this time is the second photo with the snow covered stairs in the background. But there were a number of truly lyrical and moving images in this post. And the text too, in harmony with the images brought me great joy. I always enjoy your posts, and feel a great affinity for your acceptance of minor chords as part of the whole which you appreciate and bless. Your sentence, “I’ve realized I don’t have a favorite month, but harbor a fondness for the special gifts of each”. is so representative of your attitude, and what makes your blog such a special blessing to all of us who follow, and read your adventures from Full Moon. Thank you very much for another inspiring post, Kitty.

    • Oh, Shimon, you are such gift; thank you. I always love your insights on photography; they’re both instructive and encouraging, as with all great teachers. 🙂 I appreciate your visits and support. Sometimes I wonder if the effort I put into these posts, brief and rare as they can be, is touching anyone, anywhere, so your words comfort my heart. Pretty fascinating that someone sitting in his rooms in Jerusalem at 2:13 in the morning can warm my heart…I thank you, and send love and prayers for your heart’s peace, that I hope you can feel as well.

  2. Reading your posts is like taking a walk with a friend. I always love it when you stop by. Such wonderful pictures and thoughts as well. Looks cozy in Full Moon Cottage. I hope all is well and Malarky keeps your heart filled. Stay warm, keep that shovel handy and stay well….Sending love your way….VK

  3. What a kind thing to say, VK; thank you. I’ve met many good friends online, and the relationships have grown, often led to face-to-face meetings, and deepened my understanding and experiences. I am grateful. 🙂 We are cozy, indeed, and I hope you are, too. I’m hoping for a few more snowfalls. Hope you are doing well and enjoying your winter, too!

  4. Your posts ALWAYS touch me, and I’m sure, everyone who reads them. They are always beautiful, poetic and inspiring even when containing words of sadness, you always acknowledge what is and don’t hide behind anything….
    I’m glad you got snow, it is so magical and mysterious, the pics are just gorgeous, my favourites are of the little bird with the seed in it’s beak and those lovely snowy steps….I worry about the wild things during storms too, they are amazingly resilient…they just get on with it. A little lonesome robin haunts my dreams each night, it just keeps singing, a little voice in the wilderness of nature. It’s lovely.
    It’s good to hear how Malarky is beginning to settle during the evening, and that the cats are becoming more trusting of him, and gosh….what a lovely story about Fergus and Henry’s wife…..animals are wiser than we know! I love, love love your artwork, I can see so many things in that painting, so glad you entered!!!
    How wonderful that you are sensing the spirits of your beloved Clancy and Riley….may their loving energy be around you all….always.xxx

  5. Ah, Dina, Fergus was just amazing, never did that before; hasn’t done it since. He sat in our sister’s lap for at least half an hour, maybe longer…just lovely. All the cats but Finny are doing great; he’s still being nasty, but I’m hopeful.

    Thank you, as always for your kindnesses and encouragement, Dina. It’s good to have such blessings in our lives; people with the generosity of heart and compassionate care you offer to others (some with 4 legs, many with wings) are rare, and such important reminders of the best we can be.

    I meet Clancy and Riley’s spirits everywhere, it seems, which makes me happy. 🙂 Malarky reminds me a bit more of Riley, spunky and strong-willed, but he’s also sweet and likes to kiss faces and ears, like Clancy, so a nice mix.

    It is great to have snow; wish we had more, but I’m grateful for the bit we have. There are times during the day when the light works magic and the snow hills and river catch fire…much better than winning a lottery.

    I have an owl friend in the woods (what remains of the woods) that I listen for at night. What a glorious sound.

    Thanks for you visit, as always, and kind, kind words. Joy to your week’s end, my friend.

  6. How beautiful, Kitty. I’m going to forward it to Julie, since she hates January and cold weather. Maybe she’ll reconsider? I told our pastor how I enjoyed the respite that January brings, and he mentioned it in a sermon because it’s hard for him, too. We learn from each other. We are blessed by your insights and beautiful photographs.
    Love you!

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