Friday, November 20, 2009

Falling Into Winter

I admit it. The change of the seasons gets to me. And technically this might make me a hypocrite at worst, and fickle at best, because my most consistent whine as a teenager growing up in a season-challenged location was, “This place sucks. I want seasons!” I even used to write hostile, geographically based poetry about the constant heat, brutal blue skies, and the permanent absence of even a single cloud (with much swearing added for teenagey, angsty goodness).

Now, I’m grown up (technically) and living in a place with real seasons (the leaves change, the snow falls, the flowers bloom, and the fireflies beam), and I love it here, but...

You knew there was a but coming; well here it is.

... but watching the leaves fall and knowing how long it’s going to be until spring really does get to me.

I get a little more mellow, except when I’m racing to touch my face (and the dogs’ faces) to any ray of sunshine I can find, knowing they are there to be counted and revered until the sun once again graces us next summer. I also take stock of my life, occasionally like an officious and ill-tempered dwarf of some sort, measuring accomplishments, logging productive hours, and searching for the meaning of it all. And I find myself thinking more about what I want, what accomplishments I have yet to begin the course toward, and who I want to be when I really grow up.

It really isn’t a sadness that autumn finds in me, more the willingness to focus inwardly and open myself to the beauty/agony of change. And for that, I think the fall likes me (if you will allow me to anthropo-season-ize a bit). The past two and half years (since moving to a new place and away from everything known and everyone loved) have been a time of near-constant change. And after so much change, it’s easy to think that I might want things to settle down, but I find the opposite is true. I’m all wanderlusty and wondering what my next adventure will be, both on the actual landscape as well as on the inner landscape. I will definitely let you know how that goes.

For now though, I’ve realized that I always seek out two things to help me weather life as we fall into winter and I thought I would share them with you.

The number one thing that accompanies me through this change of seasons is the music of the brilliant and talented Loreena McKennitt. Her music seems made for introspection, for seeking the beauty in simple moments, and consequently makes for an excellent soundtrack through the inner landscape of a questioning soul. The purity of her voice leads to thoughts of different times and different places and brings the knowledge that everything around us has changed and is certain to continue changing. And we can either change with it or be left behind; perhaps even in the stasis of being left behind, we might one day fuel the romantic sensibilities of artists as the Celtic culture has for Ms. McKennitt.

The exquisite lyrics that accompany her music’s journeys provide her with some serious street cred as a poet. Take a look at these.

Dante’s Prayer (music and lyrics by Loreena McKennitt)

“I did not believe because I could not see
Though you came to me in the night
When the dawn seemed forever lost
You showed me your love in the light of the stars”

Penelope’s Song (music and lyrics by Loreena McKennitt)

“Long as the day in the summer time
Deep as the wine dark sea
I’ll keep your heart with mine.
Till you come to me.”

Caravanserai (music and lyrics by Loreena McKennitt)

“What is this life that pulls me far away
What is that home where we cannot reside
What is that quest that pulls me onward
My heart is full when you are by my side”

Never-Ending Road (music and lyrics by Loreena McKennitt)

“Here is my heart and I give it to you
Take me with you across this land
These are my dreams, so simple and few
Dreams we hold in the palm of our hands”

Ms. McKennitt’s music provides a companion for me along an often solitary path and for that reason will always be my autumn soundtrack. The second thing on my list seems too much of a trifle to discuss now that I’m listening to my favorite songs and waxing nostalgic about a pretty darned blessed life. So, I’ll save it for later.

If you’ve never seen or heard Ms. McKennitt, take a little walk with me through my favorite of her songs and one that makes me pine to travel not just the inside world of me, but through the amazing world around us (okay, and maybe I pine just a bit for the hurdy gurdy player, but I can't help that!).

Quote for the Day from Full Circle by Loreena McKennitt

“Somewhere the sun rose, o'er dunes in the desert
such was the stillness, I ne'er felt before
Was this the question, pulling, pulling, pulling you
in your heart, in your soul, did you find rest there?

Elsewhere a snowfall, the first in the winter
covered the ground as the bells filled the air
You in your robes sang, calling, calling, calling him
in your heart, in your soul, did you find peace there?”


Jemi Fraser said...

I love the changing of the seasons. We've been looking at bare trees for a bit, and we're a little surprised we haven't had real snow yet. We've had a dusting or two, but it's disappeared.

What a lovely sound Loreena has. I'll have to pop a few of her songs onto my iTunes :)

DebraLSchubert said...

Beautiful post, Julie. I love the change of seasons, too. If only winter would last only a month and be filled with lightly falling snow, carolers singing, and hot chocolate and a good book by the fireplace. Then, after that picture perfect winter month ended, spring would arrive, the flowers would bloom, the sun would shine and all things would start anew. ;-)

Indigo said...

Beautifully heartfelt dear friend. I lived in Fla. for 9 long years and missed the seasons change. There is something so wrong about palm trees with Christmas lights.

I feel this displacement just before the holidays overtake us. Ready for the festivities, yet not.

My heartfelt thanks and more for posting some of Loreena McKennitt's lyrics. She was one of my favorite artist. I used to listen to her all the time. I got rid of every CD I owned when I became deaf, I didn't want to be reminded of what I lost.

Slowly the past few years I've fallen in love with music all over again from a lyrics standpoint. Thank you for reminding me how much I appreciated Loreena's music. If I close my eyes I can remember her voice. (Hugs)Indigo

melane said...

Thanks for sharing this. I have never heard of Loreena McKennitt, but I will check out her music now. The lyrics are beautiful.

Julie said...

Hi Jemi,

Our trees are just about finished holding onto their leaves and we are still blessed, like today, with sunny skies (which the dogs heartily approve of) occasionally.

Definitely check out Loreena's music. I strongly recommend "The Highwayman," "Stolen Child," and "She Moved Through the Fair," as well as those mentioned in the blog. But what am I saying, I've never heard a Loreena song that I didn't love.

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Julie said...


I get to see you and meet my new mini BFF in just a few days. I can't wait!

When you take over the universe, I totally expect you to implement your new season plan. I like!

Julie said...


You made me cry with your comment and also reminded me of all the things I take for granted that I should be appreciating. Thanks so much for that and for always stopping by the blog.

And I'm glad that you are rediscovering Loreena's lyrics because they are pieces of art with or without the music and vocals.

All my best.

Julie said...


Thanks for the comment, and welcome to the wonderful world of Loreena music. I suspect you might just end up a life-time member. :)