12.27.2010

More or Less

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Sitting in front of the fire late one evening with my husband, I confessed to him my struggle with a desire for more. Not more stuff, but maybe more . . . magic? spirit? joy? cheer? All those words emblazoned on store fronts and shopping bags?


The holiday season is brimming with excess. Excessive shopping, excessive advertising, excessive seasonal decorating, excessive calendar engagements, excessive eating and drinking, and for my husband, excessive overtime. I should have been full, but instead I felt like I had opened a big, fancily wrapped box to find nothing inside. Just a department store prop. A hollow facade. A nasty trick.


Then my husband gave me a few unwrapped ideas and changed my perspective. “It’s actually the season of less,” he said. “It’s winter. The earth is fallow.”


He’s right. There is less daylight, less heat from the sun, less fruits and vegetables in the garden and at the market, less leaves on the trees. Nature is taking a break; maybe I should follow her cue.


So I started appreciating less more. The silhouette of bare branches against a gray sky. The glitter of dew drops on blades of yellowing grass. The pink and orange sunsets sandwiched between shadowy hills and threatening clouds. The lyrical rattle of dried seed pods clinging to a tree. How in this world could I feel empty? Why did I forget to notice the magic all around me?


I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved to put the Christmas season behind me. With all the gifts wrapped, unwrapped and put away, with the (slight) slowing down of my husband’s work schedule, with important dates checked off the calendar, we can finally put up our stockinged feet, sit in front of the roaring fire, and truly appreciate the season. Winter, nature in her simplest garb, less in the best sense of the word. May you too enjoy less more. 'Tis the season.


26 comments:

  1. I've been noticing all your beautiful photos of "less"! The one at the top of this post captivates me. All those repeating lines look like a pattern on fabric.

    I'm always ready for less in this week after Christmas. Tonight we had black-eyed peas and collard greens for dinner. To counter all the peppermint bark of last week...

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  2. As usual - I couldn't agree more - about less. I felt much the same way this year - like it flew past without really giving me what I wanted and yet I was so glad.

    I think I try to make it too magical for everyone else. I am not a fan of winter and the darkness it brings has never felt good on me by the time February comes. But - I too, am so ready this year. I want to pare down - put away - take all the excess and get it away.

    We've got the boys birthdays in January and I feel caught up in the same - wanting to make them feel special - celebrated but wanting to find a way to do it even though I am so done and ready to hibernate. I imagine there must be an answer to both and maybe if I am quiet for a minute I will find it.

    I even cut out so much from our holiday this year and it was too much. We harvested mandarins, lemons, lettuce, carrots, radishes and greens today and it too felt a little wrong. I usually love harvesting but I am also a little ready for the garden to go to sleep as well.

    I am ready to find the beauty of this next season - a little bareness - and leave the other seasons behind.

    Happy New Year Molly! Thanks for the post.

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  3. A nice post. We need to appreciate the restful times as well as those full of activity. Thanks for the reminder.

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  4. A nice post. We need to appreciate the restful times as well as those full of activity. Thanks for the reminder.

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  5. Beautifully said. Oddly enough, until this year, for me, Christmas was the highlight of winter. Not being a fan of the cold or snow, winter did not offer much to me. However, this year, Christmas is still the highlight, but I have finally noticed how much nature has to offer during the winter. All those berries I never noticed, the ice. It is quite beautiful. I am ready to put up my stockinged feet with you and enjoy the rest of the winter season. all the best.

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  6. despite my aching arms from shoveling - we got 16 inches of snow yesterday - I too, am ready to fall into the quiet of winter.

    Just hanging by the woodstove, reading with my son, wrapped in blankets.... winter demands we slow down and be still and I'm so ready.

    Beautiful photograph and post!

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  7. I am ready to slow down and appreciate the simple quietness of this season.

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  8. Very timely post, wanting more joy, magic and cheer, I find myself thinking the same. Then your dear husbands response! This is the season of less, nature withdraws to renew, there is the beauty of less.

    Great post! Thank you for sharing, I needed to hear this!

    Blessings.

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  9. I have been trying to tell others this same message. This is the season to hibernate - sleep a bit more, maybe even gain a few pounds without any guilt. Enjoy doing less overall. This is a hard message to sell though in our vastly different world.

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  10. Yes! You said it! You defined my feelings exactly of this season where we gather with family and suppose to feel this magic. This magic that for me never "materialized" this year. Thanks for putting it all into perspective! Let's celebrate less! oh! YES! to less...

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  11. such a lovely way of looking at it. What's funny is that just a few hundred miles away, in sunny Phoenix, it's a season of more. Our gardens overflow, our citrus is ripe, and the markets are full. It's still the strangest thing to me.

    Happy winter, friend. xoxo.

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  12. beautiful and perfect molly.
    and that george is a wise man.
    much love to all of you.
    xo,
    tara

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  13. beautiful and perfect molly.
    and that george is a wise man.
    much love to all of you.
    xo,
    tara

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  14. I generally feel a lot of disappointment and sadness around Christmastime, too. For me, I know these are 'old' feelings, rooted in some family (of origin) issues and I try to push past them and enjoy the way my own children enjoy Christmas - the traditions, and yes, of course, the presents. That said, I am also glad to put it to bed and to move on...I do love the simple, nesting aspects of winter.

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  15. He's so right. I have been downsizing Christmas for years now, and enjoy it more as I do less, year on year. Winter is a special season if you only look, wait and watch, and it tells us much about resting, building reserves and getting ready for the glorious activity of Spring. Enjoy it while you can!

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  16. Beautifully said. Less is definitely more. I have been noticing the views outside my windows and my self so much more this season. I am glad to read that so many feel similarly. Thanks!

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  17. this winter feels different to me. for me, it is smaller. it is more personal. it is oh too easy to get caught up in the commercialism of it all. i am definitely guilty of it from time to time. thanks for the reminder of less is more.
    happy winter to you.
    what are you reading??

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  18. I was just thinking similar thoughts about the trees this afternoon. I was driving down a road where the trees were very bare. It looked "dead" until I saw how brilliant the sun was. With all the leaves the sun would be muted.

    It was one of the "aha" moments to let me know, winter has it's own special beauty even if we don't get the snow of up north.

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  19. Beautiful post and entirely in line with my sentiments at this time of year.

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  20. George is so wise, and so right. This has been the most mellow Christmas we have ever passed and it has been the one I will recall for its absence of anxiety, depression, and general let-down. Enjoy your less, you are my wise wise mentor in this.

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  21. What a perfect lesson for today--less is more. I do love winter for it's minimalism...(and from that growth and new beginnings,right?)

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  22. some good thoughts here.
    now that my children are older - 15
    christmas is much quieter and more lovely - there is a lot of resting.
    we do not have a lot of family close by so our "fixed engagements" are minimal. we are fortunate that way.

    I really like how you remind us to focus on the season - winter has just begun. We are still promised lots of snow here on the west coast. I will orient myself towards preparing for some quiet cold months.

    always glad when you write.

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  23. so true...
    I was just thinking as I was reveling in the quiet of this morning that there is nothing reverent or awesome left in my Christmas season--only panic over getting the house clean enough, getting presents that are acceptable enough. It's a mess. I know historically, nature's break is the impetus for the festivals of winter, but I have ramped it up to a frenzy, robbing myself of all magic. Today I am taking a lesson from you and George this morning and embracing the sparseness of nature and hopping on my bike...right after this last piece of English toffee

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  24. Thank you, there's such a great peacfulness coming out from what you've written.

    Makes one think and...stop...

    Happy Slow and Easy beginning of New Year,

    Karo

    PS:
    Your photography is so... etheral ...I think that's the right word...

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  25. yes, please. Less of it all. Especially snow, after we were clobbered by a blizzard 12/26. (but who am I kidding? I love all that glittery white goodness)

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  26. Lovely post. Hooray for enjoying the simplicity of this time of year! I wish more people (including myself) would adopt you & your husband's sentiment this time of year.

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