Something I’ve really started to pay more attention to this year is the small things that bring me joy. And I thought that sharing a few examples of what’s been making me happy these past few days would be a restful – yet still hopefully inspiring – way to wind down this hectic (but positive and creative) week.
Something of an oddity, yes, but my word, it was sublime.
There has not been many hard frosts this winter. Not in the urban area where I currently live anyway. So on the odd occasion there is one, my mood soars stratosphere high. A few days ago, I forgot to check the weather forecast in the evening, so, to wrench back my curtains in the morning and find the unexpected gift of a heavy frost shifted the ache I always carry when winter isn’t making itself known.
Soon after getting up, I went out for a run. My route takes me out of the town and down some country roads. By the time I’d reached the end of my street, I’d slowed down to a snail’s pace. I acknowledged it was a day for going slowly. It was a day to pay attention to the frost brightened branches. To stop in my tracks and watch the crow hunkered down on the tip of the tallest, spindliest tree. To tip my head back and wonder at the extraordinary blueness of the winter sky. It was a day to marvel at frost painted leaves and crouch down besides yet-to-be-shattered iced puddles and study the artistry that would be gone before the night.
Filling My Notebook
I hardly used notebooks in 2019/2020. I rarely had anything to say. I was rarely inspired by something enough to make sure I got it down on paper. But recently, this past week especially, my notebook has become, once again, my constant, closest companion. Hardly half an hour would go by without me reaching for it to scribble something inside.
My notebook is messy, my words all tangled up with each other – I doubt anyone would be able to decipher what lies inside – but that’s the magic of it. It’s a place where my thoughts can be as untidy as they like. And it would seem the more untidy my pages are with notes, the more valuable they are.
When I try and write as neatly as possible and make orderly entries, bit by bit, line by line, my passion for what I’m putting down can fade. I can become irritable, uninspired and unwilling to stick with it. It’s a bit different when I’m making my ‘to do’ lists or setting goals, but when it comes to getting thoughts and ideas down, its best for me to do it rapidly and without a care for shaping each letter perfectly.
Getting To Bed With A Book (and my notebook and pen)
Reading before bed is something I’ve always loved to do, but recently it’s become integral to my happiness and well-being. For a few years my routine of reading before bed was disrupted. I ended up watching films or a TV series before going to sleep. But doing this would leave me with a peculiar feeling, like my body knew as much as my head that I really should have given that time to a book instead.
I start to look forward to getting into bed with my book by late afternoon. If I’m struggling with something, I always think ‘well I have my book to look forward to in a bit.’ There’s always a cup of tea to hand and my notebook and pen within grabbing distance. This most tranquil time of my day almost always turns out to be the most inspiring.
Dajana Heremic’s Inspirations
The wool witch Dajana Heremic is a hugely influential creative being. In the 34 years I’ve been treading the earth, I’ve never encountered someone so intruiging. So, when she shared on Instagram that she’d updated her website with a list of books, podcasts and films that served as inspiration to her, I knew it would be an offering that would enrich my life beyond my wildest imaginings. It was this morning that, with feverish excitement, I studied her extensive list and made notes of all the things I wanted to go on to read, listen to and watch for myself. You can find her list here.
The Creak Of Snow Underfoot
We haven’t had a thick enough covering of snow to be able to get that most special creaking sound underfoot, but in one of the books I was reading, the author wrote about experiencing it. Immediately, I was magicked back to when I was wintering in Norway. I would go for long, solitary walks in the forest and often, the only sound I could hear was the creaking of snow beneath my boots. Of all the winter sounds, its one of my very favourites.
The Discovery Of A 57,000 Year Old Wolf Pup
While the wolf pup Zhur was discovered in Canada’s Yukon Territory quite a long time ago now, it’s only been in the past week that I’ve caught wind of her story. Astonishingly well preserved, this grey wolf pup was only seven weeks old when she died. She belonged to a population of wolves that first arrived in the Yukon by migrating from Siberia across the Bering land bridge.
Her little body was so well preserved by the permafrost that even the papillae on her tongue had remained intact. Zhur is now helping scientists to better understand how wolves migrated across Europe, Asia, and North America. You can read about her and see some extraordinary images in this National Geographic article. I’ve been inspired to write a poem about Zhur and I hope she prompts you to make something too, to celebrate her short but momentous life.