Sometimes the flowers get too much, all that colour and fragrant loveliness, and you want brambles instead. A discomforted sky, a difficult kind of beauty.

Sometimes the words get too much, and you want to stand between them, in the pauses, in the unsaid moments and secrets, and listen to the story that is refusing to tell itself.

I wonder what's going to happen to all the seasonal writers, if climate change keeps going the way it is. Earlier this week, I found blossoms on a tree that still carried its brown wintered leaves. It was an eerie sight. We need winter for as long as winter should go on. I myself need it, for my creativity to be restored. Not plumped up and warmed, but chilled right through, windswept, until all the words are shrivelled away and I can properly hear a story's secret heart. That's what winter is for. If we don't get enough of it, stories and trees and medicinal herbs and children's weather wisdom will not develop quite right. Their heart will not have had enough silence to form their song.

I wish I had the nerve to go back to this journal, where I got the balance perfect for myself. But there is not a lot of call for wintering in this culture, and I am a coward, offering flowers instead of bare branches like this from gnossienne ...

All day I have been shuffling words. They clack clack against my fingerbones.

Until finally I throw them all up and inbetween the long wild rising and the fall I find what I've been looking for.

I shall go down to a beach in my mind. I shall become half invisible behind the high sharp grasses at the edge of New Zealand. And when I have dragged drowned things from the dark waters, and when the stars are all buried in the hills, and when I am a story right through me, then I'll know how to shape that heart-stopping, breath-holding moment of silence into words that lie gently in my hands, surrendered and ready for dissection.


  1. Provoking thoughts of winter chill, stories and silence, and the mix thereof.
    Beautiful post.

  2. I love the beauty of winter, even if there are hardly any colors to be found. It is a kind of a rest, isn't it? Sometimes I fear winter though. When I remember that it will be here soon enough. It can be so long, and just at the very end of it, I get so tired. But, I love it too. Somehow it's easier to write during the winter months.

    Maybe the world is warming up. Or just being filled with storms. It's not very warm here, but not cold either. The winters are more rainy than some people think they should be. Anyway, beautiful post :) I always love coming here.

  3. I love this so. Brambles and a difficult kind of beauty. Yes. And for me a desolate coast in Winter, with wind-scoured black sand. Witchetty trees, with their aching, naked limbs. I seek rest in the old bones of Winter.

    "Their heart will not have had enough silence to form their song". This is the core of it, for me. And it's also the melancholy I feel when I experience the chaos of disordered seasons. x

  4. I agree - we've not had a 'proper' Winter for several years in the UK... the rosebushes still bud in December/January - it's just 'wrong'!
    I love your gnossienne posts xx

  5. i like bare branches (both in nature, and in those lovely words above)...

    i've often thought i should like to have two houses---one for summer, and one for the rest of the year---but not in the usual "holiday house" way, and not far from my usual house. my summer house would be very simple, very zen; pale cool colors, stone floors (ah, the blessed coolness!), minimal furnishings and "stuff". a large fountain and many plants about it. a deep, sunken tub. a rose garden in front and a japanese style back garden. in a place like this, i could think and write and make things, perhaps. (although there seems to be an absence of Other People in this daydream...hmm.)

    this climate change is going to be harder than people thought, even for those of us privileged not to live in a marginal area.

    must look at your gnossienne now...

  6. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the edges of our seasons are often blurred, but they have become even more so over the past 5 to 10 years. Leaves hang on stubbornly long into winter, winter winds blow well into spring, and summers are unusually hot and dry one year, then strangely cool the next. I need the seasons....without them I feel uneasy and fitful.