Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hibernating and reflections on the Holidays

Hello my blog friends.  I have been away for almost exactly one month now.  Time does fly doesn't it? Life has been both full and quiet this last month.  I have been settling into a new winter routine, enjoying my lovely home, reveling in my wonderful pot belly stove and fireplace.  I am so relieved to report that my first holiday season as a single woman didn't break me as I had feared.  I found myself slipping into hibernation this winter season much to my delight.

  For the better part of my life I have been involved in retail in which the holiday season is to be milked for all it's worth.  I had my own store selling handmade Native American crafts and art right smack dab in the middle of a plastic glitzy mall... a respite of heart made items amongst the mad consumer driven plastic gadgets.

 My store always did well and I looked forward to celebrating my favorite season in my precious store surrounded by my sales people who were very much part of my family, as well as my treasured customers.  They were so loyal and respectful of all the beautiful things we sold.

 It was a lovely time even though the hours were long and the pressure of making enough money to get you through the slow spring was all encompassing.  As I exchanged retail for floral design and events, the insane holiday busyness didn't abate but continued.  There were hundreds of feet of garlands to make, holiday parties to decorate, jammed packed delivery vans trying to get to everyone the last two days before Christmas so folks would have their flowers for their dinner table.  Then we would load up our car and head to the desert in the wee hours of Christmas morning to spend time with family, though we were bleary eyed and exhausted.  We always felt that we had been thrown off a fast spinning merry-go-round to land in the desert not sure of anything but a deep tiredness.  There was always a long re-entry period after the holidays where you tried to get back on some kind of normal schedule and rest up a bit.

This holiday season, I did sell some of my Faerie creations at several holiday shows which allowed me the joy of creating beautiful things late into the cold evenings sitting by my fireplace.

However I couldn't enter all the shows I wanted to as some had been pre-booked for months.  I also didn't have much floral work not by choice but seemingly more by Universal design.  It felt as if all the world conspired to keep me in my cave, quiet and dreaming this winter.

When I made plans to celebrate the winter solstice I caught a rather all encompassing cold that took me to my bed for several days and made me cancel all plans.   I hadn't put up any decorations to speak of so no mad rushing around decking the halls.  I had decided that to put up a Christmas tree and decorate the house would be far to sad, all those ornaments of years gone by would bring up too many painful memories, I just couldn't do it.  However I knew I needed to do something...  The child in me needed some bit of cheer or sparkly bits.  I come from a huge tradition of very big celebrations.  My Mom was Christmas personified!  Every single room would have decorations up, including the itsy bitsy bathroom we called the "Mud Room".  Any holiday TV special required we plan our evenings around watching the shows with hot cider and snacks.  There were beautifully set tables with friends invited for meals, an embarrassment of presents for everyone!  I remember one particular Christmas a neighbor of ours had fallen on hard times.  The poor woman was a single mom with two kids, recently split from her no-good husband.  She had tearfully related that there would be no Christmas at her house that year.  Mom quietly conspired and very, very late Christmas eve Mom and I went into her house while they slept (mom had a key), with a pre-decorated and lit Christmas tree which we plugged in and loads of presents for her boys and her.  We left her living room filled with Christmas cheer, cookies, presents, and all aglow by the light of the twinkle lights on the tree.  That memory completely overshadows whatever I got for Christmas that year, I can't tell you anything about what was under our tree.  We were all so eagerly waiting to see her astonishment and happiness.  That was worth all the presents is Santa's Sleigh.  Mom loved the giving part of Christmas, the coming together of friends and family and the celebration.  The rest of the year we were more on the quiet side, not terribly social.  Christmas was different.  Ever since she passed away when I was 12,  I carried on the tradition.  Happily being the red-nosed ring leader, decorating anything and everything, making sure everyone had presents, cooking Christmas dinner...  You name it I did it.  Underneath it all I always had a pervading melancholy.  I knew that if I didn't lead the charge it wouldn't happen.  Most folks were not really into the holidays so I had to cajole everyone into their part.  Even when I was with others that were into Christmas I still felt down/happy.  I would be missing Mom, our family traditions.  It always felt so sad even though I still also enjoyed it.  Feelings are not always very clear are they?  This year I didn't have much work, no parties to attend or throw, only two people to exchange gifts with, no decorations...  To say I was worried is putting it mildly.  I knew I needed to recreate the holidays for myself in some manor or potentially fall into a very deep abyss of dispare.  I needed to make it special for myself but fresh and new, no sad memories.  Something to mark the season, my new path, honor where I have come from and where I am going.  I decided my new tradition was going to be a soft and quiet Winter Solstice ritual.

I invited 3 of my friends, 2 dear old-soul-sisters and one new, old-soul-sister.  I cleaned my house, put fresh pine boughs on my mantle.  Set candles everywhere.

Created Cedar, Sage and Sweet Grass bundles, collected shells and designed a magic ritual about letting go of the old, the patterns that doesn't serve us anymore and welcoming in the new beautiful blessings that we are asking for.  We were to write on small bits of handmade paper what we were letting go of and tie it to the bundles and then toss them in the fire for the smoke to carry it away for us.

 Then we were to write our prayers, our desires on shells with water soluble markers and then place them in the ocean.

All the while calling in the love and support of our ancestors, our guides, and God.  Asking for guidance and expressing our gratitude for all our incredible blessings.

It would have been a beautiful ritual....   except I got pretty sick and spent the day in bed!  "OK" I thought, this holiday is to be completely solitary!  I did a quiet, very small ritual for myself and then went back to bed.  The rest of the days and Christmas I slept a lot, read books, watched movies, went for long walks, and enjoyed my quiet, now clean (for the solstice) house.  Christmas day I went to see the Hobbit (Fabulous!!!!!) and thoroughly enjoyed myself  (I have since gone back 3 times!).  I kept gingerly feeling around in me for the sadness, like one keeps gently touching a once sore tooth with your tongue... and much to my surprise I was OK!  After a couple of days of reflection I figured it out.  This was the first Christmas in my adult life (or since the age of 12) that I didn't have to please anyone but me.  No trying to keep up with traditions, no being the only one that was into it and feeling alone in the process.  Here I was now actually alone and totally content.  Quite a revelation!
I am now slowly coming out of my quiet time.  I think I really like this idea of hibernating through the winter.

I think I might plan for this every year (next time I will be able to anticipate the money situation better and not be quite so concerned about finances).  I was able to rest, reflect, write, dream and plan.

It was wonderful and a very gentle way to start the new year.  I did have several days of sadness, missing my partner, but I had the time to work through them and come out the other side.  I think this tradition of winter hibernation is more in keeping with my European ancestry.  It feels as old as time and very right somehow.  More about going within, honoring the passing of the seasons, reflecting and being grateful for my life and my many blessings, limiting my time in public and enjoying the company of my kitties.  Being quiet and listening to my soul, my guides and God.   I tell ya... will miracles never cease!
Anyway all in all it has been a good winter, still is.  I am remaining quiet for a bit longer but also starting to work on projects too, booking events for this year, starting to plan some beautiful weddings.  I spent a couple of days filming some floral design classes that I will be offering in the next month or so, very exciting!   I will share with you all about that project in a later post.    I have also finally compiled a bunch of pictures of all my great stuff and put them onto a web site thereby launching a vintage prop rental company.  It is called Vintage Vignettes and here is a link
I have mentioned that I have a lot of cool stuff and now you will see for yourself.  There are over 270 items and I am not even close to being done : )!!!  So even though I have been quiet I haven't been completely idle (though mostly).  I have slept a lot (lovely)!  Lots of insightful dreams.

I process so much in my dreams...  do you?
I have also started Instagraming!  Soooo much fun!  If you are interested follow me at triciafountaine
There will be tons of pics of cool props, behind the scenes of weddings, flowers and kitties of course.  Also ranch life and pretty sunsets.   I love these new "magazines" of inspirations, Tumbler, Pinterest, Instagram...  sooo many pretty pictures to devour.  So many ideas rattling around in my head.  I guess hibernating is good?!  Who would have thought...  hmmmm...  wonder what other great new traditions I should look into...

 I promise I will be back soon.  Loads of pictures of 2012 weddings to show you.

Winter Blessings to all of you.



  1. Hey Pretty girl, did you know that instagram wants to be able to sell your photos???? I don't think it's a done deal. BUT I would love to follow you on tweeter or FB or ,.........where am I following you???xo

  2. Glad to hear that you have not just survived your first holiday alone - but grown and healed as well.

    Brightest Blessings to you.


  3. What a Heartfelt Post my Friend and I'm glad that everything turned out exactly as it was supposed to for you. Sometimes when OUR best made Plans don't pan out as we envisioned, and we're forced to allow something quite unexpected to happen that brings fresh revelations and Peace, it is the best 'Gift' to ourselves ever! I Loved the Story of you and your Mom Creating Christmas for the Neighbor. We have done that a few times too and it does surpass most other Christmas Memories because it is in the True Spirit of what Christmas is about. I am the one that Leads the Charge and so I can relate to how conflicting that can sometimes feel. Though I thoroughly Enjoy the Holidays it would be nice to have more participation in the "Process" and doing it in Unity. Sometimes I've wondered if I chose not to do any of it... would any of the Decorating and Purchases of Gifts be done at all?!? We'll never know... because it wouldn't seem like Christmas to me without those Cherished Traditions that I do so Enjoy... and I've come to have a Peace that its not that way for everyone and to allow them to Celebrate in the manner that suits them best. Our Son is 26 and has never put up his own Tree or Decorate... he prefers to come Celebrate with us and then visit all his Friends and for him I suppose that is quite enough and contentment. Strange to me... *LOL* but if it works for him who am I to argue? *Winks* May 2013 bring you continued Peace and Contentment and Introspective Delights!

    Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  4. You are truly following my new word for 2013
    Direction and you are moving that way. I am proud of you. This post was amazing. You sound relaxed and following in a great direction. Happy and healthy 2013 and on to better things.

    Just incase you don't know...I live in Michigan and it is 7 degrees above 0.

  5. Tricia, I so enjoyed reading this's raw honesty and strength and beauty. Sometimes hibernation is what we need, yes? The story of the Christmas Tree for your neighbour touched me deeply - what a beautiful gift. You obviously share your generous spirit with your mother. Truly - thank you for sharing. It's always such a treat to hear from you. I just love coming here to see what you are up to, and to marinate in all the visual beauty you create. Keep on shining beautiful girl...big hugs x