“A Reason For The Season”

In the Highlands....

It’s early in the Holiday season, but so many of my friends, neighbors and family are feeling the stress and anxiety of current economic conditions. We are encouraged to go out  into the malls and online to spend money we don’t have.  So many are losing their homes right now, don’t have jobs, face an unknown future.

It’s all around us, and not just in our country.  This is a world wide issue and it will break so many people.  The good  I am seeing is this: some sites and programs of re-gifting, downsizing expectations, returning to a simpler concept of these various religious holidays.  The glut is all over the map, and people  are tired.

I told my dear husband I didn’t want any presents this year, though we have not been hit hard like so many others we know.  I look around and think how to simplify, to un- clutter, how to get to the real issues that my values and spiritual leanings reveal to me.  It’s a question of not listening to the hype, the glut, the maddening rush for what?  More X-boxes?

This short 200 word piece was written two years ago, but I think it holds up well for the current season.

Lady Nyo

A REASON FOR THE SEASON


I saw the Cooper’s hawk this morning. She landed on the chimney pot, probably looking for my miniature hen, Grayson. Four years ago she was a starving fledgling who mantled over while I fed her cold chicken. She’s back this holiday, my spirits lifting. A good Christmas present.

In the middle of the commercialization of Christmas, Nature closes the gap. I have noticed squirrels with pecans in mouths leaping the trees, hawks hunting low over now-bare woods, unknown song birds sitting on fences, heard the migration of Sandhill cranes as they honk in formation. You hear their cacophony well before they appear. Their chiding cries float down to upturned faces, neighbors outside watching in awe at their flight overhead.

There is brightness to the holly, washed by our late autumn rains and the orange of the nandina berries has turned crimson. Smell of woodsmoke in the air and the crispness of mornings means the earth is going to sleep. We humans should reclaim our past and our fecal plugs and join the slumber party of our brother bears.

Jingle Bells will fade and our tension with it. Looking towards deep winter when the Earth is again silent will restore our balance and calm nerves with a blanket of peace.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008, 2010

Originally published in “A Seasoning of Lust”, 2009, lulu.com

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12 Responses to ““A Reason For The Season””

  1. bluebee Says:

    This certainly is a worldwide issue, Lady Nyo and your sentiments about not wanting any presents this year, as well as uncluttering resonate with me. I don’t want any more stuff – but just to get out there, breathe in the beauty of nature and ignore the Silly Season completely this year. I love the picture your nature narrative evokes. bb.

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  2. ladynyo Says:

    I’m with you, Bluebee….it’s stupid, overwhelming and what the hell does it say about our entire society?

    Ugh.

    I did get a present though….I made friends with a litter of kittens and the mother a month ago, and am feeding them daily, watching them grow. I caught one, a chocolate-point Himmie, from what I am told, and “Sushi” is doing well….feral, but coming along. Smart kittie, it’s been only two days but he’s a heartbreaker.

    I am going to try to place the others as I can, and spay the mother.

    I would rather spend my time, energy and money on animals. Down here in the south, the over population is overwhelming. We have 12 cats and 4 dogs of our own, all rescued, and some of the cats geriatric. Of course we didn’t start out to have 12 cats in our family, but here they are…all fixed and with 12 very different personalities. They have their own room, too.

    We are slowly getting rid of ‘stuff’….furniture, clothes, crap. I make midnight runs on churches and leave stuff for their church sales…all under the cover of darkness…LOL!

    I love the Season, the beauty of the changing weather, the comfort of the woodstove (when it’s working properly and not smoking), the cocooning, the snow when we get it, and generally the silence and stillness of the season. The cats on the bed, on our heads and chests and the way they growl when we try to shift under the covers….LOL!

    Nature rules, inside and out.

    Thank you, bluebee for reading and leaving a lovely comment. Perhaps what we both do is a drop in the bucket of sanity, but at least we try.

    Lady Nyo

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  3. Margie Says:

    I remember (and appreciate) the sense of calm I get whenever I read this essay. Exactly how we have felt for many years. We try to lead a simple, frugal life; one in tune with the natural world. Simple house, simple meals, simple celebrations (though we do celebrate, not with gifts but with reflections on how darn lucky we are!) I still do cards, because I love to keep in touch with relatives and old friends – to send my love into the air, so to speak.

    We have a hawk that visits our yard, though I’ve never been brave enough to feed it chicken! LOL! What a peaceful scene you described. Happy days to you and Fred!

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  4. Liras Says:

    I thoroughly agree with you, Lady Nyo. We are caught in a vicious cycle of consuming that we cannot survive. People are so tied into giving and getting the very best gifts, that they forget about what truly matters–the love of those we love.

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  5. ladynyo Says:

    Hi, Liras– I couldn’t have said it better!

    It IS a vicious cycle…and the pressure is enormous on all classes. It is sad, especially this time of the year.

    We are inundated by TV and advertising during this holiday to buy, buy, buy. The vast majority of people have come to a situation where they can’t maintain the standard we have been told is ‘right and proper’ for life…besides the various holidays.

    It’s a culture of glut.

    How do we detach? I think families can, but they must do it mindfully. We can’t do this without a ‘master plan’ developed by each family and then perhaps trying to influence a few friends and neighbors around them. The vast majority of people are locked into this cultural glut during the holidays even though they live in poverty. This poverty is more than not having enough money to pay the bills….it’s a mentality that depends upon others (charities, social services, etc.) to pay for them. It depends upon crime (drug dealing, robberies, home invasions) parasitic behavior upon their communities for them to ‘enjoy’ a standard that is false and pointless.

    But it’s these ‘values’ that drives crime and the glut.

    I think we all can make a difference, but it’s first a decision to change a mental perception. That is the first step.

    Thank you for reading and leaving a thoughtful comment, Liras.

    Lady Nyo

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  6. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Cousin!

    I, too….get a peaceful feeling reading these words….LOL! I saw her, the Cooper’s Hawk just the other day. She was under a neighbor’s outside staircase eating something on the ground. I walked up on her and she flew off close to the ground, complaining all the way. There was a small pile of red feathers where she was feeding, so she caught a cardinal. Poor cardinal, but a birds gotta eat.

    Simplicity is the answer in the long run. Duane Elgin wrote “Voluntary Simplicity” years ago, and it’s an excellent book still. I received an email from Duane about a year ago, out of the blue, and I was delighted. He had read a blog entry on VS and wrote to encourage me. I tried to get people in my own community on board with this issue, but it didn’t go far.

    I think it’s something that individuals certainly can live by. It would be ‘nice’ if others did, but still, the individual impact is extensive when even one family can do this in some personal way. You are, and I know others.

    I think our peace comes from what we choose to embrace in our environments. There is enough outside my door, the homeless, the issues of violence and crime, etc….that makes me look upward from the level of humanity. Our wildlife, our trees, the beauty of the sky and changing seasons.

    The other day my neighbor said he saw a large raccoon come wattling down the street, straight down his driveway to the kudzu field behind him and us. He said that this raccoon must have been someone’s pet because he looked shiny and groomed. I was laughing. This raccoon had raided a community garden up the street, and was very well fed. I doubt seriously he was any one’s pet.

    But still….it’s a blessing to know that we have wildlife on the ground and in the air. We are certainly not alone in the web of life.

    Merry Xmas to you, Margie…and to Roger and the kiddies! You are blessed to have that hawk visit.

    Love,
    Jane

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  7. Mama Zen Says:

    Just reading this made me feel peaceful. Beautiful!

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  8. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Mama Zen!

    Peace is sometimes hard to come by. Perhaps that is a role for writers to strive for? To spread it around?

    Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

    Lady Nyo…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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  9. Liras Says:

    Lady Nyo, you could start a campaign, with your words.

    It requires thoughtful and deliberate refutation of the barrage of bullshit. The goal is to get our money and keep anxiety blooming in our chests, in order to keep us buying and spending.

    What do we truly value most? Some of us have no answer.

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  10. ladynyo Says:

    I think your words are better, Liras.

    ” The goal is to get our money and keep anxiety blooming in our chests, in order to keep us buying and spending.”

    Very true, but your words: What do we truly value most? Seems to be the heart of the matter.

    I think that is revealed for each of us over a lifetime. And perhaps it changes as we age?

    Lady Nyo

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  11. Liras Says:

    Lady N, I sincerely and emphatically hope that what we value changes over time, as we gain wisdom. *fingers crossed*

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  12. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Well, Liras, not so sure about the ‘fingers crossed’.

    But…..if age and experience doesn’t bring discernment….in most if not all life-matters…

    ….we are missing the boat.

    As for changes….I think those are inevitable.

    Cheers!

    Lady Nyo

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