February & March 2021 - Notes in the Margins
The winter months after the holidays but before Spring are often the hardest months. This year is no different…hell, this year seems like they were even harder. 2021 seems to be challenging 2020 to a shitty year battle…and we all hope 2021 will lose gloriously.
Throughout these months, I've found myself turning time and again to lines from “Ode to the West Wind” by Shelley. I read this poem as a teenager during a bleak time when the winter was long. (Though I can admit, that a long winter in California for a teenager is likely not quite what our pal Percy had in mind.)
O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
These months have felt bleak and hopeful. And I think just the weight of that balance between extremes has worn many of us down. For myself, I have sought solace in what I always go to…WORK. I have thrown myself headlong into the challenges we are facing and as is my nature, given hour after hour to the problems at hand. And in some regard this was good for me, for the company, hopefully for the team.
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
In other ways, it has meant that I once again have fallen into the trap of my belief that if a job is worth doing it is worth doing with all of your energy, even at the sacrifice of other things. Other things like writing, like self-care, like laughter. I have been very fortunate that a handful of friends (those I call "the bubble) have been pushing me to laugh and to take joy where it can be found.
Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!
But, spring is coming. Percy says so. And I say so. She's shown up on a handful of days already…though today as I write and the rain (and perhaps later snow) beats again the roof, all I can do is keep my eyes out for the sunshine. And when the sunshine comes, we will all lean into it. When flowers bloom, we must stop and smell them. As babies are born and ideas return to us, we will welcome Spring with all we've got!
The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
Here are a few books I enjoyed during February & March:
Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi
Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage by Anne Lamott