For many of us, December offers little time for breathing room. I know that’s the case for me.
This past week was particularly packed as we prepared for a neighborhood holiday gathering at our home, scrambling to get the Christmas decorations up earlier than usual and organizing food for forty people. With a fair amount of turnover in recent years, many of the neighbors hadn’t met one another before. And the old-timers rarely cross paths. It was a lovely evening of connection, leaving all of us grateful for our community.
The morning after, with the kitchen still in shambles, I felt pulled into the garden. The morning light glowed on the dormant hydrangeas outside my window, evoking a soothing kind of magic. I had slept a little later than usual, missing my quiet time for meditation before the family woke. But those first rays of sunlight offered an opportunity to bask in the beauty of the present moment, so I bundled up, grabbed my camera, and headed out into the quiet, chilly morning.
From any distance at all, my garden looks like a disaster zone. The lawn and flower beds are pockmarked by Apollo the Plant-Eating Puppy’s digging escapades, the young dwarf Japanese maple has had half of its branches chewed off by that same rascal pup, and my general neglect this year has failed to protect whatever multi-season interest the garden boasted in previous years.
But, when bathed in the fairy dust of the early morning light, even the “dead” stuff can sooth my soul when I focus closely enough and breathe in the beauty of the details…
This final image is of magnolia seed heads given to me a few months ago by a little girl who lives down the street. Finding them yesterday reminded me how grateful I am to know her and her family (and their puppy, who is Apollo’s best friend).
What about you? Are you finding opportunities to take a step back from time to time during the busyness of the holiday season? I felt calmed and grounded after my foray into the seemingly barren garden yesterday. Let me know how you are finding ways to stay mindful in December!
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