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Oh, King Winter... is Spring really so far away?  Winter's Solstice blew in with a chill on December 21, and so the calendar says we have not even yet met the middle of your icy season.   A month ago, I saw your bold, branches bared, and woke to the world painted white on freezing mornings.   However, today I see you dancing towards Spring.  The Magnolias have fuzzy-peach skinned buds, and the daffodil stems are pushing aside the woodchips near my front porch.  My heart quickens with the thought of all that springs in the upcoming season, but is it not our task to enjoy each day as it rises before us?  Be with each season and fully appreciate all of a season's gifts before it moves on?

A family can embrace the four, rotating seasons by making a sacred place in our homes that mimics and acknowledges nature's dance outside our doors.   Monica Ashley and her daughters pulled out King Winter's serene rendering (above) and drew inspiration for creating a winter scene on their mantle (below).  

Purple and ivory silks match the pale colors of winter skies at dawn or sunset... Sharp, faceted crystals stand in for ice... Curly willow symbolizes the leafless branches of decidous trees in hibernation... Wooley gnomes and mushrooms capture the sense of joy, magic, and whimsy of the sparkley snowflake season.

With a little thought, I do suppose we could find many things to symbolize this season, and much to appreciate about a time that at first glance seem harsh and barren.  Winter is unique and wonderful.  I am enchanted by warm fires and wool blankets on cold nights.  I do love the Winter holidays of Solstice, Advent, Christmas, New Year's, Ephinany, Lunar New Year, and all the other cultural celebrations that come during this time.  Each of these holidays provides a wonderful occassion for feasting with family and friends.  I also enjoy getting lost in the study of small snowflakes or frost formations on our plants and stones.   When days of rain end, I do love to wander the garden and marvel at how fresh and clean the weather has left our happy places. 

King Winter, you must be very insightful to have claimed this season for your kingdom!  Monica and her daughters behold your wisdom and call you to reign over their table as well.  With mastery of wool and needle, Monica called your face into being.  Her girls now wear your puppet's gown on their hands, weaving tales of your great wintry adventures.

Will you join my table as well?  Can you help me find myself in mid-winter and ground me to the beauty of this moment?  I'll need to learn a bit more about felting in order to create such a masterful piece as this King!  Maybe I can begin by signing up for one of Monica's felting courses.  Friends, please join me!  Call Monica at (707) 236-2829:


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