Wintry Wanderings

We went on a few adventures this week, one being to Kew Gardens. We got there in the late morning and stayed through mid-afternoon. Frost covered much of the greenery, and the pond was mostly frozen over. I’m from a place that never gets too cold. I only just this winter purchased my first sweater (besides what my parents dressed baby me in) and my first ever hot water bottle (I didn’t even know what a hot water bottle was until my thirties). So my experience with cold, as you can tell, is rather limited. I was apparently “giddy as a child.” I crunched over frozen ground, slipped along an icy walkway, and watched the frost melt in fat drops off of branches once the sun climbed high enough into the sky. We could see steam rising from trees and plant beds in some places. Our breath plumed in the air. Yes, it was cold, but it was truly beautiful. While we will certainly return to Kew Gardens in the warmer months, seeing it in winter was well worth it.

I really don’t know what more to say about it. I was awed.

Here are this week’s suggestions for fun and enriching activities:

  • Relaxing Music: The album Ancient Voices by Ah-Nee-Mah. You can listen to some of it here or find the album on Amazon or streaming.
  • Soothing Sounds: “Vintage Letter Writing ASMR” by Moonlight Cottage ASMR. Here is a link to her beautiful video.
  • Puzzle: Mahjongg. You can find the game here along with everything you need to know about how to play.
  • Movie: Balto (1995). You can find it on Amazon or on a streaming service.
  • Creative Prompt (write, draw, paint, sculpt, photograph, or collage something based on this subject): Wind
  • Mythology Lesson: Ouranus. Read about him here, and do a little further research if the mood takes you!
  • Short Reading: “The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids” by the Brothers Grimm. You can read it here, or you can listen to it on YouTube.
Venus and Mars by Botticelli

Today is National Religious Freedom Day in the United States. Someone who isn’t Christian might bristle about the subject of religious freedom because most businesses and schools only take Christianity into account (Easter and Christmas holidays as well as Sundays having shortened business hours). Meanwhile, some Christians claim to be marginalized because companies extend their holiday greetings to everyone (Happy holidays!) now rather than solely them (Merry Christmas!). I know this is a touchy subject, so I won’t dwell on it for too long. But consider this. I’ve been to several perfectly good and lawful Christian gatherings and several perfectly good and lawful Pagan gatherings. Both groups had permits and kept their volume down, etc. No rules were being broken at either group’s gatherings. Regardless, the police were called on a few of the Pagan gatherings, never the Christian ones. Why? Because someone thought it was illegal and evil for Witches to come together to celebrate and worship. In those instances, the police officers either watched from a polite distance or asked to see the group’s permit to be where they were. That was it. No harm done. But the fact that people call the police on religious gatherings different than their own shows that ignorance is still rife. And that’s to say nothing of sweeping prejudices I’ve seen and heard against Muslims and Jews. While people cannot be jailed for practicing their religion, which is a wonderful thing, the United States still has a long way to go when it comes to acceptance of people of other faiths.

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