Sunday, February 04, 2007


Our windows have been covered in ice crystals for days. I like to pretend that our bedroom windows have transformed into frosted forests; and the others are covered in intricate layers of sparkling lace. This is a morning photo that Vinny took. Our world is brittle and cold--even by my standards. Things break easily in this weather. Last time I checked, it was -35 degrees.

Having worked all day, it feels especially nice to be home. We ate big bowls of homemade chili with freshly baked cornbread for supper. The furnace runs almost constantly, trying to keep up with the cold outside. These old houses are not insulated well, but I have a healthy dose of candles and incense burning to complete the perceived sensation of warmth.

Lately, I've been catching myself looking forward to summer. This catches me off guard, because I'm a winter soul at heart. Whether I'm walking the dog or waiting for the car to warm up, for some reason, I find myself daydreaming of green grass, easy walks, and hot humid afternoons spent napping under the ceiling fan in the bedroom.

Winter in the city has been harder than winters up north. I feel more isolated here. It's strange, but it is harder to get places. You would think the opposite would be true--but, in my case, it's not. Even walking Anu in the woods has become more difficult. They've turned all of our favorite trails into cross-country ski trails--walkers are not welcome. Because of this, our routes have become limited and so, lately, these woods have been making me feel bored and irritated and like I'm going to get in trouble for something.

Last year, I spent much of the winter running with Anu on the frozen lake. Out in the middle of all that big-white-nothing, we were happy as could be. I don't miss that town, but I miss the lake. I miss the open space. And I miss all those acres of ski trail-less, people-less woods. It is space that I miss having the most. I have space here...(lots of it, actually), but it's different. It is easily interrupted.

These past few weeks of winter have been oddly unsatisfying. And now this is intense. But I've decided to use it to my advantage. I've taken the next week off from work to get some real work done. It's too hard to accomplish much with only a day or two here or there. I need a chunk of time and decided to take it. I wish it could be more than 5 days...but I'll take what I can get. Anyway, 5 days is a lot like heaven--and I'm grateful for it.

Winter is the symbolic time of "going within." And, while many people can't stand the idea of all those cold, dark months, I've always looked forward to it. For me, it is a time of hunkering down, a time of of reflection. It is a quiet time, a time to focus inward.

And because there is nothing else I can really do about it...I've decided to renew my appreciation for winter.

I'm going to spend the next 5 days:
  • writing
  • wearing big, wool sweaters
  • and fleece pajamas underneath
  • and fuzzy socks
  • and slippers
  • burning candles
  • and incense
  • and more candles
  • writing
  • enjoying the ice crystals that form on the windows
  • getting up in the early morning dark to write
  • drinking large amounts of coffee...including lattes and mochas (because the colder it is, the better they taste)
  • snuggling my cats
  • and my dog
  • and my husband
  • writing
  • taking long hot baths before bed
  • eating warm, home-cooked food
  • not answering my phone
  • hanging out in my office with the door closed
  • with my star lamp turned on
  • wrapped in soft, warm blankets
  • and yep, you guessed it...writing
For the next five days I do not exist to the outside world. I'm not going to leave the house except to walk Anu. I might allow myself to go to a coffee shop or an Indian restaurant for inspiration and sanity. I've alerted all family members that I am not available for anything. Period. I'm going to wear pajamas until well into the afternoon--or maybe all day. I'll take long baths instead of showers. I'm going to listen to music and stretch and stay up late or get up early. I probably won't talk much. Life will revolve around writing.

In short, I'm going to hibernate.

It has been a long winter. But, despite such extreme cold, I've decided to use it to my advantage.


Anonymous said...

Not answering your phone?! *weeps*

It sounds wonderful...have a wonderful week.

And if you get a wee bit lonesome...I am seven digits away.

Jessie said...

oh, i'm sorry, mardougrrl. nothing personal. i'll miss you lots and our very wonderful phone conversations too! i've fallen off the map for a week...only a week. ;) i'm still daydreaming about that fire we sat in front of at the coffee shop. it was divine.

Kristine said...

Sounds wonderful - although I'm gonna miss you.
(I guess I can handle five days without your brillance... ) I hope you get in some time well spent. Your plans sound divine!

tara dawn said...

I cannot even fathom such intense cold...I was shaking and trembling all over last night with the temp reaching down to the 20's here:) Yet despite the isolation and lack of space, I envy you a bit...especially this week as you take this time for hibernation, this time for writing, this time for warming your inner self.
I can picture you bundled in layers, a huge mug of coffee in your hands, Anu curled sleeping by your feet...and the words beginning to flow.
Miss and love you bunches,

martha said...

Hi Jessie
Its me martha who is going to send you a book and who needs your address..and who also is on the Finding Water and the Sunday scribblings blogs but who doesnt publish her musings.
Good luck on your week off dash inner working week.
Send me you snail mail addy and I will find you a good book.....hard to find one, just one. So many books..many books many masters...any needs loves must haves?? I have a feeling we have read many of the same ones.

gkgirl said...

i feel relaxed
and rejuvenated just having
read that...

sounds like a master plan!

Laura Bjerk said...

Jessie, I'm so happy for you. This sounds like an exciting adventure!! I hope you find inspiration in this vacation, in your house that seems so cozy and perfect for hibernation. Good luck.

Jamie said...

How inspiring! What a beautiful perspective on winter - get cozy and enjoy it! I'll follow your example, though it's only an easygoing -15 here, hehe. Enjoy the quiet.

melba said...

Do you know how delicious you make hibernating sound?

I love that star lamp!!!

Still no snow here. Just kind of cold. At least the sun is shining.

Wishing you a snuggly and fullfilling hibernation!

swampgrrl said...

this sounds like divine intervention. snuggle up, girlie!

Anonymous said...

Your writing, your spirit, they sit well with me. I feel cozy reading your posts. And I thought of you the other day.... I pulled up behind a car on a busy street with ANU as the last three letters on their license plate. I thought of you walking your dog through the wintry woods. A lovely thought.

Sacred Suzie said...

Enjoy the internal sunshine!

bee said...

i am purring for you - all that time and only you and the words that will tumble out, knowing they have the space to - savour each drop of them, sweetheart, they will come. i know it. savour that, and each cup of coffee, each bath, each walk. become the wintry pixie goddess *i* know you are...full of creativity and the wisdom of knowing when to step back.
i am excited for you.

having said that, i'm going to miss the fuck out of you.

bee said...


as if you didn't know, i LOVE YOU. you are such a large part of my heart, ms. jessie, and my soul sister for life.

i'm with you in solidarity, writing stories and poems for a contest deadline on thursday.

kj said...

jessie, yet again your post hits my heart. here in new england the windchill is below 20 degrees. stella and i headed out today and even she had trouble walking.

i wish i could steal 5 days as you describe. i just don't. you've gotten me thinking why not....

hiberate, write, breathe, eat, drink, think and feel.

then, it'll be welcome back jessie!


Anonymous said...

i am glad that you have a chunk of time to work on your thesis...i hope you are able to get a lot done; i miss you, though, and hope we can connect soon...xoxo....

Amber said...

This sounds like a week in heaven to me. Alas, I think I will have to wait awhile before I could get such time alone! So enjoy a little minute for me, will you? And get some good writing done...

I do love all those things you said about winter. I really do. But when it goes on too long, I start to get blue. I am not ready for the freakin' hot-ass summer here yet, though. Maybe a nice long cool Spring would be nice!


Endment said...

wonderful list of things to do --- perhaps I will add most of them to my "to do" list :)
Have a lovely and warm hibernation!

deirdre said...

Oh, I hope you're having a wonderful time deep in hibernation. It sounds lovely. And I feel like such a wimp. You wouldn't believe how I bundle up to walk in 30 degree weather. OMG any colder than that and I'm staying home!

daisies said...

i am loving your writing ~ i can't stop reading, entralled, beautiful ... and i love your take on the frozen air, beautiful photo :)