Friday, August 4, 2017

once upon a winter's day



For the first few days after I published my blog last week I felt like I was free-falling.  Going through my days without a small voice in my head telling me what else I could be doing felt disconcerting, like I was off balance, like something was missing.

As your comments started coming in and it became apparent how many of us are feeling the same way it occurred to me that we're conditioned to move forward and gather skills, possessions, degrees, jobs, stories, partners, friends, wealth, almost since the moment we draw our first breath. Standing still, being happy with what we have and not wanting more, feels almost unnatural.




Then after a while, as I reconciled your comments with the way I'd been feeling, the bossy voices in my head quietened down and I began to feel present and still. For as long as I can remember that voice has been nagging at me to hurry up and finish with the laundry so I can paint that mural on the studio wall, finish writing my blog so I can get going on that book idea, put down my sock knitting so I can design something fabulous, stop what I'm doing and learn something, teach something, work at something, get out there, make a difference...



Being free of this voice for the past few days has been wonderful. A few days ago I went into the forest for an armful of kindling and found myself on my hands and knees examining the moss and wild animal poo. Yesterday I sat in the chair next to the fire in Bren's workshop in the middle of the day and cast off my socks. And this morning I went for a walk with the sole purpose of looking for bulbs and signs of spring. I've listened to my girls' stories, I've watered and observed the progress of every single pot in the greenhouse, I stole 20 minutes to read my book in the middle of the day, and I sat by the campfire eating dinner and watched each of my people in turn, listened to their stories and felt lucky to know them.





And I've noticed that the lack of the need for progress hasn't meant that I haven't been productive. Not at all. As well as all the usual daily bits, I've started baking bread again after years of buying it from an organic bakery in town, I've planted hundreds of seeds in the greenhouse, I've prepared a garden bed for planting, I've taken on a knitting project for someone I've never met and I've felt calmer and more grounded than I have in ages.

I'm not saying that I'm all zen or anything, just a bit more at peace. And I have been sleeping better which might be a coincidence, but is definitely awesome.



I'm not convinced yet that this peace will last.

As much as that statement upset my farmer boy when I said it to him yesterday, I am aware that I am pushing up against 45 years of habit as well as bitter winter winds that threaten to throw me off balance and demand movement and new and change.

But from where I'm sitting right now (up against the heating panel in my bedroom), being content with my simple life, taking my cues from Mother Nature and enjoying and engaging with this stage and this phase and the right now, feels just right.

I hope you're feeling it too, I really do.


In other news I am in the middle of reading my sister Abby's copy of Idaho. It took me ages to settle into a book after finishing Eleanor Oliphant but this one, despite the fact that it's pretty bleak, grabbed me after the first page.

I am listening to and loving the second series of Homecoming, a psychological thriller in a podcast. It's so beautifully produced and scripted, I can't wait for the next instalment.


I am darning in the ends of the Bavarian cable socks. Unfortunately I ran out of yarn half way through the cast off and had to choose the closest I had, but hopefully you won't notice unless you put your nose on my ankle. Which truth be told would be a bit weird of you.


I am casting on a plain blue sleeve for someone and these soon to be very patterned socks for someone else. I might also knit some quick, chunky slippers because concrete floors and bitter winters do not go very well together.

And I am picking and cooking loads of brussel sprouts, planting broad beans and cabbages, sipping the most beautiful tea that gorgeous Tara from Nourish and Nest sent me as a present, aching from last night's body combat and pump classes, trying to drink more water, watching episode two of The Handmaid's Tale, feeling frustrated by how limiting dark winter days are for photography, splitting wood for the fire, hurting my foot with the wood splitter (so silly), contemplating a steaming hot bubble bath, thinking about how my dad is taking each of his daughters out for coffee separately and wondering if I should do the same, and hoping that the blizzardy weather on the weekend is not as bad as they're predicting, although by the way the wind is howling out there it feels like they might be right.

Oh and I'm trying to get back to each of you who has left me a comment, but sometimes I'm better at it than others. If you leave me a message on my blog, I'm trying to reply in the comments of that blog. Facebook and Instagram and Bloglovin', I'll reply there. And email for some reason is my hardest to get to, but I am getting there, mostly. And if for some reason I haven't, please know that I have read what you've written and have thought about it, it's just hard to get onto the computer sometimes. Blog comments are so important to me. It's so heartening to know that there are people out there reading and interacting. So THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for taking the time, I truly love and appreciate every single word. You guys are the greatest!!

And that's where I'm at.

How about you?
Are you slowing down and enjoying your simple life? Or are you not quite there yet?
If you shut your eyes right now what can you hear?
If you had a choice between meat or lentil Bolognese, which one would you choose?

I hope your weekend is kind to you.

Love, Kate

xx


31 comments:

  1. Oh yay I was worried you weren't going to post this week. Yet again you have come through with a thoughtful and thought provoking post. You know what I realised as I read about your being present? I realised how many things I do everyday to fill my cup and yet I never have that feeling, because I'm always thinking of getting to the next 'oh so important' chore. I'll just walk the beach so I can tick that off, I'll hurry up and meditate so I can get breakfast started and wash up the dishes, I'll rush home from the beach to peg out the washing. No wonder those things don't restore me they are just another thing on my to do list, even the coffee dates with my kids. Slap me now will you..
    Right now I can hear the oven fan, cooking wedges, the pot on the stove boiling to steam the veg and the TV in the other room.
    I would always choose lentil Bolognaise but I always make the meat version because I can't stand the complaints from my husband.
    OK so I'm not in a good place right now I'm signing off. It's not good to comment when the black dog is nipping at my heels.
    Cheers Kate

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    1. Oh Kate, it kills me that you are feeling like that. Be kind to yourself. One thing I've learnt from all my years of blogging is that we all go through times like that. We all feel too much, or overwhelmed, or devastated or unhappy or depressed and there's often nothing we can do about it except wait for the time to pass. And hopefully yours has. I've been thinking of you heaps and wishing I could make you a cup of tea and take the washing off the line for you. I hope you can slow down this weekend and do something just for you. Big love xxxx

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  2. Im enjoying your blog post whilst drinking an oat cappuchino and thinking The slower pace of life sounds blissful,also the bread making..yum.
    I'd opt for lentil Bolognese every time, when I close my eyes I can hear the clock ticking and the dog breathing.
    I'm also thinking of knitting some wooly slippers as it seems summer has passed us by here in the UK.
    I'm also nearly on to the toe of my TAAT
    socks....the ones you've just cast on will look fab if the pattern is anything to go by. Have a good weekend i look forward to your next blog post.

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    1. Thanks Sally. An oat cappuccino sounds interesting. I like thinking about the fact that you're sitting there sipping your drink and reading my blog on the other side of the planet and stopping for a while to listen and think. Blogging each Friday is making me do the same. I think it must be good for us. xx

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  3. You are so good at capturing beauty. For example, that daphne, just a day or so away from flowering. I really love it when I see you've written another post! Love to you. XX

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    1. Ahhh that means so much to me. I really love it when I see that you've posted anywhere. I love the way you see the world. xx

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  4. Thanks for the reminder to slow down. I don't think I am very good at it and could learn a thing or two.

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    1. In my head when I think of you since the holidays you are sitting back on a pool chair sipping on a cocktail. Very slow and relaxed. If only we could bring a bit of that holiday chilled feeling back home with us. xx

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  5. It's lovely reading this, I'm hoping it lasts for you. I know what you mean by not trusting that it will - that little voice and need to rush is quite loud. I'm trying so hard to find my zen. You can see from that sentence what I'm up against...

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    1. Thanks honey, that little voice and the need to rush got me in the last few days but I'm optimistic that I'll get there again. Hope you're finding a little bit of peace amongst it all. xx

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  6. I love the winter photos as much as summer ones. I think I enjoy the contrast. That shot of the moss and lichen on the branch is gorgeous. Emails , hmmmm I read them but don't always deal with them or delete them . I'm a texter , rarely do I make a phone call , except to my hubby ( we speak a few times a day at least ) I'm downsizing all this stuff that I've somehow accumulated so I can enjoy life again. The stuff was taking over. Now that our garage is done ,were christening it with a Garage sale which I'm really looking forward to. If I shut my eyes ,I hear crickets , guinea fowl and hubby telling my boys to go to bed. Haha. As for Bolognese ,I like both. When I met my hubby he was carnivore and I was vegetarian, over the next few years we compromised. I eat some meat , he eats a lot of veggies and some vegetarian meals. It's really good. This weekend I'll be catching up on washing as we just got a load of water and catching two guinea fowl that I've inherited. p.s. I'm glad the post worked �� Naomi Bishop

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    1. Thanks so much Naomi, I guess I find winter so challenging because of the lack of light and variety but when you decide on a moody feel it can be quite interesting. Always a challenge to me though, living in the forest with no light. I'm so inspired by your getting rid of all the stuff you'd accumulated, we so need to do that too. You must feel so much lighter. xx

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  7. I love the winter photos as much as summer ones. I think I enjoy the contrast. That shot of the moss and lichen on the branch is gorgeous. Emails , hmmmm I read them but don't always deal with them or delete them . I'm a texter , rarely do I make a phone call , except to my hubby ( we speak a few times a day at least ) I'm downsizing all this stuff that I've somehow accumulated so I can enjoy life again. The stuff was taking over. Now that our garage is done ,were christening it with a Garage sale which I'm really looking forward to. If I shut my eyes ,I hear crickets , guinea fowl and hubby telling my boys to go to bed. Haha. As for Bolognese ,I like both. When I met my hubby he was carnivore and I was vegetarian, over the next few years we compromised. I eat some meat , he eats a lot of veggies and some vegetarian meals. It's really good. This weekend I'll be catching up on washing as we just got a load of water and catching two guinea fowl that I've inherited. p.s. I'm glad the post worked �� Naomi Bishop

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  8. We never seem to appreciate the here and now, it's the modern way of society always looking for the next best thing and I personally don't like it. So glad that you are slowing down, worrying about things and thinking about what's next just wastes time usually good sleeping time. I think it's a wonderful idea to take your daughters out for a coffee individually, strengthens the bonds. Your photos are stunning well done.

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    1. Thank you so much lovely Jackie. I don't like it either and the more I think about it the more I want to try and stop myself each time I go there out of habit. I hope you have a gorgeous weekend. xx

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  9. It's interesting reading your post today as I have experienced much of the same feelings. Simply just getting on with my life, doing things true to my values. One deliberate mindset that I've been trying to shift, is doing things because they'll make me happier. Instead, I'm just doing them and it's had a profound impact on my mood and energy levels, which is not common in the middle of a winter, one that I can feel in my bones sometimes! Stay warm in front of the fire this weekend. Jade xx

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    1. Anything that keeps us happy and motivated in the depths of winter must be a good thing I think. Long may it continue. x

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  10. Lentils all the way.
    I am a fair bit older but not wiser than you. If i were to finish a third of the things you just mentioned you accomplished I would feel like a super hero. I love that each of us can decide what is 'enough' for ourselves, but it is important that you realize just how very much you do do. And I mean you specifically. You are a gift, thank you

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  11. Hi hun,
    Firstly you do make a difference - Your blog uplifts and is thought provoking in a wonderful way :) We are in our last month of Summer in the uk and it's quite cool compared to the hot July that we had. We are busy pickling,freezing, dehydrating and canning our home grown produce ready for the long winter ahead.It's lovely to read about your slow pace of life, yes it may change but for now enjoy the moment. It's all we have - yesterday has gone and tommorrow isn't here yet :)Kate you are an amazing lady (and family) and your Dad sounds like a wonderful man - how lucky you are! :)I am looking forward to the Autumn when the pace will begin to slow down and everything gets ready for a rest - including me :)
    Hugs
    Sue
    X

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  12. How about you? I'm good! more reding less scrolling.
    Are you slowing down and enjoying your simple life? Yes. Or are you not quite there yet? Yes.
    If you shut your eyes right now what can you hear? cockatoos! Those giant black ones.
    If you had a choice between meat or lentil Bolognese, which one would you choose? I would choose lentil because I'd like to try yours. x
    Your PHOTOS ARE BEAUTIFUL!!! x

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  13. I think we are in very similar space. A few months ago I realized than nothing brought me pleasure. Even things I usually found fun became a slog. Eventually I realized that I was living in the future. Like you, everything I did needed to be finished so I could work on the next project. I've made a real effort to not dwell on all the things I could be doing and just focus on what I am doing. Life feels a lot lighter now.

    As for those occasional pesky thoughts of chores that do have deadlines, I've made myself a list that I check on once a day so that I can give myself permission to forget about them all for the rest of the day.

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  14. Inspiring blog post. Great photos. Just wanted to tell you. No reply needed.

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  15. A week ago my back decided to give up. The pain was undescribable and it is getting better very very slowly. But it has made me slow down and while I regret what I have missed (Kinky Boots, lunch with a friend, 2 quilt supplies sales and the DogLovers Show) I have done a lot of crocheting. I realise that I will not die of dusty furniture etc. Fox has stepped up and while he doesn't do things the way I do them I bite my tongue. What I'm trying to say is my nagging voice has gone too. Overridden by pain and I'm starting to enjoy the quiet. Julie

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  16. Oh my what beautiful photos! I so look forward to your Friday posts, thank you for taking the time to share with us. A little while ago we moved to the country and life has taken on a gentle pace,I like that. Right now I can hear a clock ticking and my hubby sleeping. Lentil bolognese for me. Have a gorgeous week Kate x

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  18. Lentils all the way for me! (though I would have to make a meat one for my hubby and kids...) feeling reasonably zen as the kids are off school and have been for a few weeks. I guess, for me, as I am not a naturally organised person, trying to be more organised helps my stress levels massively. My kiss and hubby are my priority, everything else has to fall in behind that. I think I would like to start a masters this year, just for me. Avoid bullshitters and flakes. Eat good food. I'm trying to be more creative. Yup, all these things are good for me..... Love your blog and photos, as always, as well as your book recommendations.

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  19. Pretty photos Kate, as always. I must admit I am not quite there yet in terms of slowing down and taking in each moment...I am notorious for rushing from one thing to the next. But, I am trying. Thank you for your honest and wise words and for sharing them with us each week x

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  20. Oh my what a wonderful post. It is calming just to look at your wonderful photos. I want to sit in your greenhouse and quilt...Your place looks picture perfect..enjoy the day...it is the only way xxo

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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