The Soul

All Is Safely Gathered In

If there is ever a constant to this life that rivals death and taxes, it’s that laundry will always need to be done.

Even tax-evading vampires need to do laundry.

Looking ahead, laundry is going to be the main chore through the winter. Laundry and sweeping up dog hair. Today we did the last of the fall chores. Cleaned the cars for the winter punishment. Raked the leaves and put them under the shrubs to compost. I closed the garden for the year, harvesting the last of the celosia:

Celosia harvest

And also the remaining green tomatoes, which I will pickle tomorrow:


I’ve begun using my winter feel-good light in the mornings, setting the alarm a little early. One problem I have as the darkness sets in is a tendency to expect too much of myself. To use the word “should” excessively. This is tough to combat – I was raised a Calvinist, from a long line of Calvinists going back to the 1600s. During the Scottish Revolution, Petheric McCurdy and his two brothers fled the Isle of Bute (which they had basically run since the 1400s) in a rowboat, landing in Northern Ireland. (The tartan I wear at St. Patrick’s Day events is the green version of the Stuart plaid, because the McCurdy’s are part of the Stuart clan – nobody knows the difference anymore, and I get a secret ironic giggle. That said, Petheric and his brothers would fairly well strangle me if they knew I’d converted to Catholicism.)

All of which is to say – if you are of a mind to expect more of yourself than you can reasonably fulfill, winter can be a hard time. Like so many, I dread the darkness. But somehow, as a civilization, we manage to get through it year after year after millennia after year. So the darkness comes – because it must – but it seems we’ve discovered that we don’t have to succumb to it. We can find our pleasures in the ordinary things.


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