November 11, 2012

The Yin and Yang of Seasons : Cabin Bliss.

The other day I was doing some thinking about Summer & Winter, how they are similar to the concept of Yin & Yang.  Interdependent in the natural world, giving rise to each other in turn, in relation to each other.  They are not opposing forces, but complementary forces, that interact to form a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system. (Wikipedia)
In Minnesota, we get the full feel of that dynamic.
Summer in Minnesota is wonderful.  It's time to get exterior projects done.  Time for the lawn & gardens.  Time to explore our endless lakes, pick berries, and seek wildflowers.  Time to soak up the sun.  We tend to spend every minute of the nice weather outdoors enjoying it & getting those things done while we can.  It's busy.
But now the woods & garden are dormant (or currently filled with rifle hunters.)  The kayaks & bikes are put away, days are chilly & evenings dark.  Everything I love about the outdoors is on hold, redirecting me to all the things I love about the indoors.
During the middle months of the year, our living room almost never gets used.  Over the past weeks our family has been gathering more & more in the living room by a warm fire. We're physically closer as we go about reading, playing, & each doing our things.  It's nice. 
As Dame Edith Sitwell said, “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” 
And for me - it's a time for creating. 
With dreary-gray days, cold weather & less daylight.. I'm hunkering down with a creative to-do list a mile long.  While I use my camera so much more during the nicer months, the quiet time indoors allows more room for other kinds of creativity.

I picked up a pair of knitting needles recently.  I bought this yarn when visiting New Orleans' French Quarter a year or two ago.  Finally putting it to use, I decided I'm making a cowl.  I hadn't knitted since last winter.

I've been playing away on the piano.  I'm by no means an accomplished pianist.  (I wish I'd stuck with it as a kid.)  But I can play a handful of songs, and I've been teaching myself some new ones.  It's something I enjoy finding more time for. 

The above piano book, from 1945, is one of many recent thrift finds.
Throughout the past months I've been finding all kinds of treasures at garage sales & thrift stores.  Now I look forward to finding ways to use them all.  (I look forward to sharing, too.) 

My mind is thinking about how to better the use of our home at all times.  Nesting is in my nature. 
The other day I had an idea and started sketching...  

We're considering enclosing our front porch into a mudroom, and I'm thrilled with the possibilities.
Winter is also a wonderful time for indoor home improvement projects.  More to come on that, I hope.

I guess I'm experiencing the opposite of Cabin Fever.  Cabin Bliss?  I can't wait to read more good books & plug away at my set-aside-over-the-mild-months hobbies & to-do list.  I look forward to time cooped up with my ideas, my family, & my home.


  1. I know exactly how you feel! We are so looking forward to snuggling up here, working on indoor projects, and dreaming of outdoor ones for spring!

  2. Wonderful post... 'Cabin Bliss'. I like that. :)

  3. I love the idea of an enclosed front porch.

    1. Me, too! I think it will improve it's usefulness greatly!

  4. Love your post! I think I tend to focus too much on being cooped up in the winter, so your post made me more thankful and aware of all the positive things :) Thank you!!

  5. Now that I have my own home, I have come to appreciate winter much more than I did growing up. Summer on my own property is so busy (in a very good way!) with so many things to do outdoors, I'm looking forward to slowing down a bit this winter and having more time to so some crafty things.

    (And that ball of yarn in its self is a work of art--so light and creamy, with such a wonderfully texture...)

  6. "Cabin Bliss" ~ I love it, it's perfect!! That's how I feel about the cold, winter months all cozied up inside :) It makes my heart happy! Your writing and your photos are just beautiful!! Have a wonderful day!

  7. Hi Amanda, such a cozy post and pictures! Winter is about nesting and doing things inside, I like your quote ón winter!

  8. Hi there - I dont knit, do have a ten year old boy, blog and love cabin bliss! Almost the same story, but different people!

    If you like "following along with my travels" I think you would enjoy my other blog - link off the photo blog you know about - thats more about words than pictures. Hope you get time to have look.

    Cheers – Stewart M – Australia

  9. I hate to give my age away but that green Schaum book does it. Yes I took piano lessons and made it thrus all of them till I reached the point my mom descided I was about to duplicate Van Cliburn... seriously. :)

    1. Wow! Do you still play? We got this piano in the twin cities - the owner was a professional musician, she played violin for the Minnesota Sinfonia, and had three pianos in her little home. Two baby grands, and this 100 year old upright that we ended up with for free. I LOVE it.

  10. You described the difference between summer and winter beautifully!