Settled In for Winter

Reader Contribution by Connie Moore
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By now, with a dusting of snow supposed to be on the ground and feeders up and waiting on winter birds, we have settled in for the winter. Inside and out, activities bend to the will of the weather and cold or not, we march through the month with anticipation. Not just for special days but also for what will surely be in a few months. Always, every day there are thoughts and references to warm weather and spring. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

An inside activity is always nice to have going on for the hours spent awaiting the next snow or in some cases as this winter is turning out to be, the next rain/windy day. It helps to have something to focus on after hours at the computer screen or work all day outdoors. Jigsaw puzzles have always been our family’s choice. Like defragging the computer, our lives need to be settled every-once-in-a-while. A sort of shifting back into place like a chiropractic adjustment.

A puzzle requires the participants to settle down, look for specific colors and shapes and build a picture. We take our time (yes, there really is such a thing), enjoying moments when we find that elusive piece, admiring the work in progress to the finished piece.

Perhaps it’s a scene of flowers or antique seed catalogs. Perhaps those flowers are spilling over a garden gate or stone wall behind a country cottage. Perhaps you enjoy Charles Wysocki’s work which feature Victorian houses and shops, horse-drawn carriages, and the tiniest of details which reveal themselves on individual pieces.

Maybe one of Thomas Kinkade’s cottages with lights in every window is your choice. Known as the “Painter of Light” Kinkade’s talent for creating a scene on canvas through which the observer can walk into the picture and end up fishing in a creek under a covered bridge or stroll down a flower-strewn lane with ducks and geese following or walk through the kitchen door of Grandma’s house. Lights in every window, people are obviously home, busy with cooking, conversations and a puzzle on the big oak table.

Looking for pieces frees our minds to wander from past to present to future. For a few moments we muse over anything we want. Puzzles tend to bring out thoughts which on any other day, in any other setting are lost in the din of life. Modern conveniences daily throw us into a whirlwind of flashing screens, fast sales and frenzied buying with no time to meditate on things that matter.

Once the puzzle is done, our minds have been shifted back to a more sensible state. We can hope for and work for our homes and lives to be as calm and peaceful as possible in a frantically changing world. The lights in our windows can welcome family and friends in from the cold world outside during the New Year.

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