Falling with Grace into Winter

As a mythologist, I tried to connect this article to the stories of an Algonquin bear hunt that explains why the leaves change colors in the fall or of Persephone’s yearly return to the Underworld that causes the seasons to shift, but I was more inspired from simply watching the animals and trees in our mountain community. The animals are not out as much, but even though I do not see them, they are busy making nests and storing food. Their work is not as obvious as their spring and summer activity, but it is important for their survival. I also noticed that the trees are turning colors and beginning to lose their leaves. Their fruit is a memory of late summer and a distant promise for next year. The animals and trees are focusing resources on the basics and preservation. It became obvious, to me, that I needed to fall back too and reorganize my mindset for the transition of the seasons.

You see, recently, I had been feeling out-of-sorts. I have felt more tired, less productive, and frustrated with myself. Regular seasonal mountain things, like power outages or road closures, felt more challenging and I was losing my patience more quickly than I should. I could not figure out what was wrong with me, but then, I realized – it is fall! Even though I have lived through enough years on the mountain to remember that the seasons are dramatic here, I forgot what those seasonal transitions mean for our day-to-day lives.

I was trying to live my life by summer standards and feeling myself falling short. While I filled my home with fall colors and good-smelling fall foods; I had not prepared myself for the fall. Instead of resisting with frantic attempts to be outwardly productive that is more suitable for summer; I needed to allow myself to do less, to rest, and to embrace the natural, more domestic nature of autumn. We physically retreat inside during the cold, dark days of winter, but we also need to give ourselves time to stop and go inside to ourselves during this time. Fall, and especially winter, are times for restorative stillness, reflection, and planning.

By researching for this article, by quietly watching nature, and reflecting to write – I learned to give myself grace and regain my patience. I learned by watching the trees that it is not only okay to release what does not serve us at this time, but also, that it can be beautiful to observe. The animals showed me that it is proper, not selfish, to focus resources on the home and that activities do not need to be obvious for them to be valuable. I learned to take time to rest, to reflect, and grow the seeds for spring.

Thank you for taking your time to read my ramblings. For more about the Algonquin myth of the bear hunt and the changing of the leaves in fall or the story of Demeter, Persephone, and the reason for the seasons according to Greek mythology, please listen to the links below.

Bear hunt
Persephone

Transformation Wall Art

Hello, my name is Tracy. I’m an artist that likes to up-cycle items – take things and through art make them have a bit more personality.

I’m calling this piece “Transformation” and below you can read about some of the meaning I found while painting.

Mostly I have only done items around our house and a couple pieces for a neighbor. This piece I found on the free table (our town has a table to leave and pick up used items).

I’m raffling this piece of artwork – tickets are only $2 for 1 or 3 for $5.

Watching the transformation of the piece …

I have a lot of article written on the topic of transformation and growth. Below are links to a few I really like.

Persephone Myth Retold

Retold by Dr. Tracy

In the time of the Olympians, Demeter lived in eternal sunshine with her daughter, Persephone. Demeter, goddess of agriculture, was an important and beloved goddess to the Greeks and nothing was more precious to Demeter than Persephone.

Persephone was fathered by Zeus, but she was entirely Demeter’s daughter and Demeter guarded her child from anyone who would wish to take Persephone from her. Hades, the god of the Underworld, fell in love with the beautiful maiden and approached Zeus to find a way to make her his own.

Demeter did not want anyone to take Persephone, but the thought of her graceful, sun-loving girl living in the land of the dead would be especially unsettling for the goddess. Zeus and Hades knew Demeter would never consent to the marriage, so they decided it would be best if Hades just kidnapped the girl.

Hades waited until Persephone was away from her mother with only her Nymphs to attend to her. He disguised himself as the most beautiful, fragrant flower and set himself where Persephone would see him – just out of reach of the others.

When Persephone knelt for the flower, the ground opened, and she fell into the Underworld. Once Persephone was below, the ground closed, and no sign was left of Demeter’s daughter.

The Nymphs had no idea where Persephone had gone and when Demeter returned, she was beside herself with the loss.

Demeter searched the earth for her daughter and with her sorrow, came famine. The plants stopped growing and people were dying. Zeus realized he had to do something, so he sent his messenger to negotiate with Hades.

Meanwhile, Persephone had been living in the Underworld with Hades. We do not know her thoughts through any part of the story. What we do know, is that while she is in the Underworld, Persephone ate 6 pomegranate seeds.

In Greece, EVERYONE knows that you don’t eat anything in the Underworld, yet Persephone does and when Mercury attempts to negotiate her return to Demeter and the land of the living, those seeds become a big problem.

In fact, eating six seeds almost got Persephone to be trapped in the Underworld forever, but Demeter was too powerful. Zeus had to appease the goddess or all of mankind would die.

To be fair to Hades and to calm Demeter’s sadness, Zeus declared that Persephone would spend one month for each seed eaten in the Underworld every year and would spend the other 6 months with Demeter.

This is the reason we have seasons today. When Persephone leaves her mother, the plants stop producing and begin to die off. However, in Spring, when Persephone returns, all the plants burst to life, and we have spring and summer.

Because of you, Ms. Susan

Because of you,
my children learned to read;
they learned their math and abc’s.

You watched them struggle.
You helped them grow.

I don’t know if we ever told you so,
but we love you more than you will ever know.

You were my children’s teacher,
but even more than that.

You’ve been so very much more
to them, to me, and our family.

Because of you
I learned to be a better mother.

Because of you
I’ve become a better friend.
A better person for my community,
for myself, my body, my children, and
every person I can.

You’ve taught us through your patience,
through your laughter, honesty, and love.

You’ve taught us all these past five years
you’ve been teaching us all along.
You walked with us through the heartaches,
through the confusion, and the tears.
You’ve walked with us so gently,
right beside us through the years.

Because of you my children learned to read;
they learned their math and abc’s.

But because of you, we all moved forward.
Because of you, we have learned to THRIVE!
Because you walked us through our darkness
Because of you, we are truly alive.

Because you are so much more than a teacher,
so much more even than a friend.

Please always remember,
our dear Ms. Susan;
when you see my children succeeding,
when you see my family smile,
when you see our life-long learning,
It’s because you are the awesome you that you are,
Ms. Susan, it was all because of you.

Ripples of Gratitude Poem

I thought of how to thank you,
the words alone seemed flat.
I had some wood,
I had some string, some nails, and a hammer too.
And with these things I made this gift,
a special gift for you.
I made this art,
From wood and strings,
From thoughts and hopes and words and dreams.
I didn’t know how else to show
my thanks for all that you have done;
but to give you this art I made for you,
I hope you like it, making it for you was fun.

By: Tracy Marrs