In this season of my personal Winter and the beginning of Nature's great Winter, I find myself drawn inward. Craving only the company of a hot cup of coffee or a steamy pot of tea, my fibers, threads and fabrics and perhaps some music. It's a season of introspection, of slowing down and of sitting with my soul. I do the deep work at this time of the year, as I stitch, crochet or recently, spin. My mind wanders, fingers trailing the lengths of fiber like Theseus' trail inside the Minotaur's maze, and I go to the dark places. Dredge up the things that the Summer sun beats in to submission, to sit with them and determine what needs changing, healing or burning off.
It's a time to inventory my thoughts, to stitch up the tears in the fabric of my mind and to recharge. Time to do the work that is best done alone, where the opinions and emotions of others cannot affect it in any way.
However, it is also the season of gathering and giving thanks. It is a time to be flung in to the mix of our communities and tribes, to laugh and reminisce and step in to the light of gratitude and joy. The joy of having these communities; be they blood family, chosen family or friends. Gratitude for the things that sustain us. And so, in the season of my introspective Winter, there is a tug to be social and to spend time with cherished ones. There is a giddyness that overtakes me and makes me agree to doing more than my inner self probably appreciates me taking on, like hostessing a Yuletide party where everything needs to be just so, or cooking Thanksgiving dinner for friends who don't have nearby family, or picking a half dozen names off of every wish tree I come across though my funds are tight or nonexistent.
It's a contradictory season for me, this desire to be social and to love on my friends and family battling with my need to be alone and do some soul work. Some years I'm frantically sprinting around the house with my blood pressure soaring and cursing myself as I try to get everything ready and other years I manage to keep this balance with barely a sweat breaking out.
I don't think it's a coincidence that the latter happens when I've been working fibers regularly. My fingers work a trail for me to follow through the labyrinth and the fibers themselves ground me. The work is humbling, it is simple and it keeps me in the moment. I truly believe it is the reason that I, for the most part, leave the vibrant colors of paint and pastel behind when Winter comes. Because in a contradictory season, especially one with so much baggage and expectation behind it, I need something to keep me connected to the simple and to myself.