Genmaicha On A Cold January Day

Decorating my home for Christmas is fun, but putting everything away is even better. By the time the holiday is over, I am feeling overwhelmed with things. The taking down, throwing away, and boxing up makes me feel free. I re-evaluate what is normally on the walls and shelves, often deciding to keep things bare, enjoying the physical space after the time clutter of festivities. 

Green tea is perfect in January with its wide calmness. The delicate taste can be lost if flavors and spices are infused, if milk and sweetener are added, so I usually drink it simple. However, genmaicha is a version with bits of toasted rice added. The subtle earthy flavor does not detract from the green. When outside my window is cold and asleep, the genmaicha warms my inside, like the memory of harvest.

But I don’t hide from winter yet, there is no need to escape into other seasonal fantasies. (I won’t be so accepting in March…) January fills me with peaceful images of candlelight, quiet, warm drinks, books, and pretty snow- the snuggling of the year. Not that my life is like a children’s picture book, but my expectations slow down this month. Yes, our “regular” routine after the holidays is back, but less traveling, more inside activities, allowing time for weather issues means scheduling lighter, the muted colors framed in the window change my pace.

(Also the end of Christmas music. Things were becoming repetitive this last week on the playlist. Except last night, while the fam was playing the card game “Hearts”, a funky version of “We Three Kings” by The Piano Guys, came on. I don’t remember hearing that one all month! We put it on repeat to figure out the timing: 4/4 on verses, but 5/4 on chorus…we think. My husband kept giving us “helpful” suggestions like, “I think it’s five flat eight on the final measure, right?” This is what I get for peering over his shoulder most days while he’s editing genetics papers and giving him “helpful” tips with made-up molecular language. I, of course, am hilarious.)

In seed time learn.
In harvest teach.
In winter enjoy.
-William Blake

I appreciate this triangular approach to the cycle of the year. The enjoyment time is often overlooked in our need to accomplish goals. What if the new year was less about noting failures and gearing up for productivity, and instead more about an acceptance of where we have been, gratitude toward our present selves, and quiet expectation for the discovery of truth? A decluttering of ourselves.

May the spaces you create be filled with joy, and a cup of warm genmaicha on the side.

Rise unfettered.
Move with intention.
Be grand.

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