Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Winter has come early this year. According to the Farmer's Almanac, it will be a cold, snowy season for us. Winter has always been rough for me. I struggle with Seasonal Affected Disorder and have a history of general depression. I often enter this time like a warrior prepped for battle. I have my extra B and D3 vitamins at the ready,. I bulk buy epsom salt and stock my essential oils for to baths to lift my mood and saturate myself with magnesium. I organize my schedule to include yoga, physical activity especially running, and forays into the cold, sunlight days for fresh, rejuvenating air. These preparations get me through the winter but I feel battered and weary at the end.
This year my thoughts and focus is a bit different. What if instead of struggling against the very nature of the season, I just gave myself over to it? Oh, the vitamins and fresh air will still be important but what if I just embraced this time of year.
This idea came to me one morning. I woke early and saw the neighbor kids.waiting in the cold and dark for the bus. You see, this is one of our favorite parts of home school. We wake up in accordance to our natural rhythms. Now those natural rhythms are pretty dang early but there is no frantic rush to our morning. Instead we snuggle on the couch wrapped in blankets as we slowly open ourselves to the day. What if I treated the coming season the same way and with the same calm deliberation?
I am a driven and focused person. It is impossible, or at least silly, to criticize my children for their almost obsessive mindset on a given subject because they come by it naturally. Watching them has helped me know myself even better. We are driven to discover, to understand, and to succeed. Oh our success doesn't look like the model touted by the word, but it is strict, rigid and disciplined in our own minds. This all comes together to mean it is hard for me to slow down and relax. It also means it is very, very good for me to do so. I can drive myself past normal stops and burn myself out until I am just a shell. That doesn't benefit anyone or anything.
Perhaps and extended rest is just what I need, what the whole family needs. Winter is a time for rest and reflection. All of nature slows down, sleeps, and hibernates. It is a time to turn inward. What if allowing myself to be slower, more sleepy, is exactly what I need to be rejuvenated? Taking time to read more, reflect more, focus on slow, methodical knitting, practicing slow yoga, and increasing mindful meditation. Just curling up more often to read with the children would be a benefit and a balm to my soul.
I believe things come together for a reason. I have been interested in pursing slow education even more. I will write about hat particular subject in the near future. But it is instinctively coming together and settling into the foundation of our lives. It just feels right. I find the world is speeding up around us as I deliberately and intentional apply the brakes to our lives more and more. It is a very good thing for our family.
So unlike Frost, I think I shall divest our lives, temporarily, of extraneous commitments and instead literally and figuratively explore that woods so lovely, dark and deep.
Here is a little something to keep you warm on these cold, snowy evenings.
My Favorite Hot Chocolate
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 teas of cinnamon
a pinch of cayenne pepper
Whisk all ingredients to together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until chocolate chips are melted and liquid is steaming.