Notes from Three of Earth Farm: Winter Mind

In June, I wander, adventure, explore. And it’s all that matters. In January, I have a winter mind. The summer wanderlust is put aside and I stay put, content to be tethered to the armchair in the corner window, a fire crackling across the room. Content to be home.

It’s my eighth January here, eight winters since I exchanged my own hearth fire and the window onto the deck, where cardinals showed off their crimson red against new fallen snow, for my mother’s home and the muted greys and browns—save for the blue Stellar Jay—of Pacific Northwest birds that peck at the feeders I hung from the overhang. (And why did my mother—Stellajoe—dislike the Stellar Jay so?)

It’s New Year’s Day, grey out the window from sky to flooded valley below this hillside home. A small fire has burned all day and a candle flickers a spot of color on the coffee table. My mother has been gone from the house five winters, and from the earth two of those. She spent 55 Januaries here. I’ve not lived in any other house for eight winters since I first lived in this one. Four decades lie between.

Why am I still here?

Whatever the reason, I’m glad. And when it’s time to move on, it will be the right time for whatever is next. Until then, the fire will burn, the bare trees will turn green, then gold, then bare again. In summer, the garden will grow whatever it deigns to grow with little help from me and lay fallow again as the January winds howl and the rains pour in a continuous cycle until I give it up and it returns to meadow. The buttercup will win, burying the brick walk and rotting boxes around the raised beds. The apple shoot wattle fence will crumble. Until one day—hopefully long after I am here to bear witness—a bulldozer will dig it up for a house build and construction will halt while an archeological dig commences.

For now, my family will live here with me during Pandemic Winter #2. Until the vaccine prevails, schools reopen, life returns to something that won’t make history and they return to some semblance of the life they expected to be living, though no doubt with a different look.

And then what? And then we will see.

I am content with the not knowing; and with wandering in the summer and indulging my winter mind when the rains come.

For now, my companion cards (drawn randomly from the decks) for 2021 are the Explorer of Earth (in the Gaian Tarot) and the Hija of Earth (in the Herbcrafter’s Tarot) as I deepen connection with the earth and with nature, especially in my own backyard. Living here on this plot of family land close to nature, making a connection to home. And, as my mother’s daughter, channeling the best part of her and her 55 Januaries here.

Happy New Year!


I decided not to share the rest of my tarot spread for the New Year that I began (here) on New Year’s Eve. You can explore my friend Joanna Powell Colbert’s Doorway Tarot Spread for yourself with the questions and instructions posed here. Joanna is the creatrix of both my beautiful decks.

4 thoughts on “Notes from Three of Earth Farm: Winter Mind

  1. Lovely to read your words, Gretchen. I, too, did Joanna’s reading and a beautiful 12 day process from Abbey of the Arts, Give Me a Word, for 2021. Last year, “home”. How remarkably prescient! This year “nature” as teacher, healer, guide and companion. Happy New Year.

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    1. Home! That is amazingly prescient! I think “nature” is my word for the year too. Not for the first time I’ve promised myself to be more in tune with the woods by my home, but I will keep setting the intention. Love to you, Katharine. I would so love to meet on Whidbey again. G

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  2. To “be content with not knowing” is a lovely theme and it’s one I am hanging onto as well. It has been a gift I took away from 2020.  May it continue to resonate. (I drew an Explorer of Earth card this week too. I love the message ! My spread for the New Year was thought provoking, as it should be)

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