This strange month of snowstorms and snowdrops.
Days that look deceivingly warm.
Promises of spring.
In winter, I tend to close myself off and shut off from the world. I turn inward, and find comfort in little joys- whether it’s a cup of tea or a pair of warm socks. This winter has been a busy one, full of workshops and gigs.
A few highlights: I was commissioned, alongside fellow poets, Whitney French & Pushpa Raj Acharya, to write three poems in response to three paintings for the Varley Art Gallery’s Winter Exhibition: Inscapes. (Thank you Anik Glaude, Curator Extraordinaire!) I spent a magical Sunday afternoon performing Sufi poems & making a community mandala in a magnificently painted yurt at Aga Khan Museum. I delivered the first of a handful of workshops for the Women’s Writing Circle at Ryerson University, (thanks to the wonderful Toni De Mello). I wrote a feature piece on the brilliant Shannon Webb-Campbell for Quill & Quire’s April issue (stay tuned). I facilitated art workshops for brilliant students and families through Monster Arts for Youth & the Varley Art Gallery, and I teamed up my childhood bestie, Palak Loizides at Embiria to offer a reflective heart-mapping workshop.
It’s been fun, validating, busy and joyful.
However, after every gig/workshop, I found myself exhausted from the darkness and numbing cold of winter. While I was giving myself 100% to the work I was creating and facilitating, it felt like I was moving through sludge. I’d hurry back home to get warm and snug. Writing was slow at times, and non-existent at others.
When the days were somewhat tolerable and the windchill wasn’t unbearable, I’d venture out with Shiv for winter hikes. But those days were few and far between.
During winter months, I find that my friends retreat too. It’s a time that is ridiculously busy or painstakingly slow, and it requires reflection and respite. So, I’d reach out to my network through spirited conversations and debates on social media platforms. And while these can seem impersonal, draining and unwholesome (and at times they can be), they can also be a lifeline to allies and activists who are advocating for change. I am grateful for that.
But I’ve been feeling this ache.
I ache for the colour GREEN. I ache for the joy of birdsong, the sound of life returning to rivers. I ache for the robins pecking the grass for worms. I ache for breezy walks with friends, impromptu mandala-making, and open windows.
I’m ready for change.
To gear up for this change, and emerge from hibernation mode, I’ve been exploring and researching projects and possibilities around nature connection and creating from nature.
Sebastian Magnani’s mirror portraits are magical glimpses into natural worlds, and I’m utterly fascinated by them. I have half the mind to wander around High Park with a concave mirror and create my own nature portraits (if you’re interested, let’s be weird together). I’m watching and re-watching the trailer of a new film documenting the creative exploits of one my favourite artists, Andy Goldsworthy (April can’t come soon enough!) And I recently read an article about a study that correlates one’s well-being with one’s exposure to nature (no surprise there).
I’m letting the seeds of spring is take root in my heart.
How are you preparing your heart for spring?
P.S- Check out the latest feature story at my sister site, Questions for Ancestors —it will not disappoint.