This week, I'm reveling in anything that feels like cozy magic.
I'm slurping it up, like thick soup and hot, milky espresso concoctions.
I did this as a child, too. In middle school, I developed a now-embarrassing obsession with the cottage paintings of Thomas Kinkade, who calls himself "the painter of light" (complete with trademark!). I even asked for and received a book of his work for my twelfth birthday. It wasn't that I admired his technique; the artistry didn't interest me in the slightest. It was the cozy factor I was after. The glowy-er the windows of the cottage, the bumpier the cobblestone path to the front door, the drippier the wisteria off the eaves, the more enchanted I was with the image. I examined that book for hours, imagining the residents of those homes and wanting desperately to be one, myself. As a young writer, I relied on many of the paintings to be the settings for my short stories. That world was the one I wanted to inhabit, and if I couldn't be there in reality, I'd get there in fiction.
Here in San Antonio, it still feels like late-summer. Clouds of frizz form along my hairline upon waking, and I've found myself fantasizing about pixie-ing once again. (Did I ever tell you I finally pixie'd back in July? It became essential when we found ourselves back in Oklahoma City in the middle of summer.) I even had to fish some proper summer-wear out of the trunk of the Corolla; merino wool and moto boots are out of place here, not to mention uncomfortable.
Seasons might be differentiated technically by changes in daylight, weather, and natural ecology, but make no mistake, they're also marked by changes in spirit, creative rhythms, practice, and inspiration. Last week, I felt clueless about my season, still do a bit; my present geographical one feels somehow slow to catch up, and my spiritual season seems to be several months ahead—dead or, more likely, dormant; torpid beyond all recognition; impatient for new growth. I'm uncomfortable on all fronts.
Kortney, kindred that she is, sent me this line from T.S. Eliot's Ash Wednesday: "This is the time of tension between dying and birth." I keep thinking of the phoenix and wondering what happens between combustion and resurrection, how possibility exists in those ashes. I'm still considering the science of prescribed burns, the fact of shifting cultivation ("The period of cultivation is usually terminated when the soil shows signs of exhaustion or, more commonly, when the field is overrun by weeds"). On Instagram, I see leaves changing all over the northern hemisphere. (None here yet.) Lighting up in hues that seem almost unreal, a final hurrah, before dropping. Tomorrow, in the U.S., one kind of season will end as another begins.
I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, ahead of what's Right Now in my (humid) little world. But, sure as the stars, it's definitely November, so I'm allowing myself to lean in to the November vibration I believe to be true—the one I want to be inhabiting right now—and finding (or creating) comfort there. Making lots of hot tea, rejoicing in morning fog and afternoon drizzling, snuggling sachets between my clothing in hotel dresser drawers.
Where are my eyes resting these days, if not at Thomas Kinkade paintings? A few different places. These ones spring to mind first:
Do you seek out cozy magic, too? What are your standbys?
Bonne Maman strawberry preserves and the gorgeous glass and red gingham lid that's left over, an electric kettle, a milky white ceramic coffee cup, lined up clementines, a fancy dinner out, the taste of honey and gin and thyme, honest-to-goodness World Series excitement (despite never really caring much for sports before), edited photos and built albums, free sourdough, read Abigail Thomas, the end of Daylight Saving Time, moved hotels, a room with a view, walked along the river, explored the Alamo, remembered Madeleine Peyroux Radio and Gregorian Chant Radio on Pandora, ate a fish taco at Torchy's Tacos, sipped a Mexican vanilla latte from Local Coffee, wandered a farmers market, watched fog, a Monday morning together, a new round bar of Sappo Hill almond soap (I smell like marzipan and I love it), turned on all the lamps to make the room feel like home
A phrase I'd like to embody: generous listening
One of my former writing professors has, with her husband, created a movement: Dedicate Your No-Trump Vote. It's too good, too important, not to mention here.
Finding solace in others' shakiness of late: "It's OK that you don't know if the fire is on the inside, or the outside, or if it's all the same thing."