About what matters

Writing about what really matters

Category: In the garden

Forty-eight things I’ve learned along the way

Leo cropped

Nora Ephron famously felt bad about her neck (though hopefully she no longer does). I do not, despite having the sort of neck not found on any swan, the sort of neck not flattered by a flaw-concealing turtleneck.

In those moments when I could be feeling bad about my neck, I instead choose to feel good about the head sitting on top of it–specifically the many contents that were missing in the days when the neck beneath was flawless.

In honor of my birthday, a list of 48 random things I’ve learned thus far. (Links are mostly to previous blog posts.)

  1. How to choose my battles. It’s amazing when I think about it now, how many (unimportant) things I was once willing to pitch battle for.
  2. Being able to recognize my ego’s involvement has really made all the difference. At least 99% of the time, that’s what the battle was really about.
  3. Compassion is a great thing to have on hand when your own or someone else’s ego flares up.
  4. Kindness is also pretty important. Even when you need to draw a boundary firmly, it’s generally possible to do it with kindness.
  5. How to forgive continually.
  6. And how to release bitterness–also key.
  7. I used to think being smart was a lot more important than it really is. It’s nice, sure, but far from the most important thing.
  8. Love–that would be the most important thing.
  9. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear …” (I John 4:18, KJV). When fear comes up in one of its many guises, love is the antidote.
  10. Learning to meditatelife-changing for sure.
  11. I learned I was an artist–and I bet you are too. I’d love to see everyone find a really good way to access their right brains.
  12. I grew up laboring in a huge organic vegetable garden, but only as an adult did I discover the joy of working hand-in-hand with Mother Nature to unleash plants’ amazing desire to grow and thrive.
  13. I still remember reading the magazine article that taught me to recognize a narcissist. Based on my early experience, I was choosing narcissists as friends. (Word to the wise: they don’t make very good ones.) I’ve finally learned to stop doing that. Woohoo!
  14. I’ve also learned to allow others to be exactly who they are. If people in my life are behaving badly, I generally do say a few words about it–and leave it at that. People have to change, if that’s what they’re going to do, at their own pace. I hope that if they’re not ready to hear now, they will be later.
  15. But just because I must allow people to be exactly who they are doesn’t mean I have to allow everyone into my inner circle, regardless of their behavior.
  16. Much if not most of what I was taught as a child simply isn’t true.
  17. It’s OK to be uncertain. Embracing a model that offers a complete set of answers about how the world works is certainly tempting, but it’s also a pretty good way to be wrong.
  18. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter a great deal what people believe, if anything. What really matters is how we treat others. Living a good life isn’t dependent on a particular worldview.
  19. Therefore, beliefs are generally not worth fighting for–but a value might be. Justice is worth fighting for.
  20. Karma is real–a universal law to which there are no exceptions.
  21. At the same time, if you’re a graduate student in the school of life, expectations are higher for you than for someone at the elementary-school level–and that’s fair.
  22. I no longer believe you only live once. I find this comforting, because it means there’s no need to try to accomplish everything, see everything, do everything, in this one lifetime. Accordingly, I don’t have a bucket list–or if I do, it’s a short one.
  23. It’s OK to relax. In fact, it’s a really good idea.
  24. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert. Oh, I am an introvert. (I was quite sure for awhile that I was right and Myers-Briggs was all wrong.)
  25. Models are really helpful, but there’s still a lot they don’t reveal.
  26. Life is not a competition.
  27. Cooperation is really enjoyable.
  28. Sarcasm is best in small doses, and is probably not one of the world’s great art forms.
  29. Participation in social media is not a measure of the validity of my life. And Facebook friends are not the same as real friends.
  30. Complaining isn’t a tool for making anything better, though feedback might be.
  31. Having companion animals is totally worth the trouble and mess. And just think of all the money I’ve saved by eliminating carpet and rugs from my life!
  32. An old house is worth the trouble too. But it’s best to have an excellent plumber, electrician, carpenter, and painter on speed dial.
  33. I am the very best person, bar none, to define what my life should look like.
  34. A good, hot bath can cure what ails you.
  35. A good cup of hot tea (my favorite: acai green tea) is also a pretty good idea. I leave my desk for at least one cup of tea every day I work.
  36. Whether or not you should listen to your mother depends entirely on what your mother has to say.
  37. The leaders of my country may or may not be wise. If they are not, I should notice and take an active role in electing those who are.
  38. Self-help is ultimately the only help there is.
  39. But we could all use a hand up.
  40. No one asked me to judge.
  41. The less I judge, the happier I am.
  42. This is what a feminist looks like.
  43. I should decide what is and isn’t BS on the basis of how well it works, not what other people say about it or what it looks like on the surface.
  44. But when in doubt, follow your gut.
  45. It’s a good idea not to abdicate control, but it’s a mistake to think that every aspect of my life can and should be within my complete control. Forces of nature came by their name honestly.
  46. I am responsible for making the world a better place–and so are you.
  47. I’m not perfect, and neither is anyone I know. Discovering anyone’s imperfection should not be surprising. We’re all human.
  48. The best is yet to come.

What have you learned along the way?

This post is illustrated with my SoulCollage® card Personal power + Leo.

SoulCollage cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

Trust the tides, but row the boat

Trust

Trust the tides, but row the boat. –Danielle and Russell Vincent of Outlaw Soaps, quoting the best business advice they received

When I came across this quote on Pinterest recently, it really spoke to me. I believe in setting intentions, and in a supportive, benevolent, abundant Universe, but sometimes what’s needed is some muscle behind those intentions.

Above is the SoulCollage card I made to represent “Trust the tides,” and below is the one I made for “Row the boat.”

Row

I’ve just finished an impromptu pruning of my largest rose bush–my dog needed to go outside and, knowing the pruning needed to be done, I grabbed my Felcos on the way out. I find this process a bit symbolic of what I’m doing in my own life right now.

When you prune, you remove deadwood, spent foliage, and the less important of crossed canes in order to create space and potential for growth, and direct the plant’s focus of its energy and resources toward its most important, freshest goals.

Just last month, I journaled about being unsure what to prioritize first, but recently, what needs to happen in my life has been speaking with a bullhorn. Intuition is hardly needed to discern my priorities.

I found out, for example, that even cast iron has its limits. My next-door neighbor’s original terra cotta drainage pipes gave out years ago (with a bang, not a whimper), and my cast iron ones apparently just recently had begun wearing through. I found out that under my pier-and-beam house, varying degrees of outgoing water were leaking at most of the major points in my plumbing system. When my plumber gave me his quote and I mentioned that I would need to check on how much I had in my account and how much I needed to transfer, he gave me to understand that the project needed to be started now, while I figured that out, not later–though we ended up having to wait for snow and ice to clear, and the plumbing supplier to re-open for business, to begin.

So this priority has been addressed this past week, and now my much-loved old house has a brand-new drainage system–more cast iron that I expect to outlast me. The first set lasted more than 80 years, so I expect this to be something I don’t have to deal with again–in this house anyway. The process was fairly painless, thanks to a good plumber–though writing the check was decidedly not! I love my old house, but as an old-house owner, you certainly do get to invest significant sums in things you can’t see or directly enjoy.

This past week, as other items indicated in various ways that they needed to be addressed now, not later, I made a fresh list of my top five most urgent tasks and goals, and prioritized them. All require varying amounts of money, perhaps for a tool I’ll need–the latest version of TurboTax so I can complete my 2014 tax return, for example. Some also require significant effort.

It feels good to have them spelled out on paper now, and ordered. Now I know exactly where I need to focus. What I’ve been doing, and plan to continue, is each day to take at least one step toward the top goal on my list, until I’ve done all I reasonably can to make it happen. If a goal is blocked, waiting for input of some kind, I’ll begin addressing the next one.

How do you determine what’s most urgent or important in your life? How do you go about accomplishing those things? Do your priorities speak with a bullhorn, or a whisper? Please feel free to share in the comments below.

SoulCollage® cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

 

 

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder

Rumi

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. –Rumi

On New Year’s Eve, I was asked if I’d made any New Year’s resolutions, and I mentioned this quote from Rumi that I’d recently seen and loved.

I think that mostly I’m a lamp, and sometimes a ladder or a lifeboat–but it’s difficult to accurately assess your own contribution, or anyone else’s, for that matter. It’s often impossible to know what impact we’re having, or will have. But it is possible to know whether I’m creating light, or darkness … that much I can tell.

I remember a coworker from years ago who told me she volunteered at a suicide prevention hotline. I’m not sure whether it occurred to me then, but it certainly does now, that she must have had a very particular reason for choosing that volunteer opportunity. She was a lifeboat.

We can, though, be lifeboats without ever knowing it. I’m reminded of an account in Michael Newton’s fascinating Destiny of Souls, which I’ve written about before. (Michael Newton’s story is somewhat similar to Brian Weiss‘s. He was a highly skeptical hypnotherapist who was into science, not new age stuff, when he accidentally regressed a subject to a time frame he didn’t even believe in–one prior to the subject’s current life. His work is different than Weiss’s in that he focuses fairly exclusively on the period between lives, from death to reincarnation.)

In the account I’m thinking of, when the subject completed his life, he learned that one of the most important accomplishments of his lifetime occurred when he stopped one day on the street to comfort a woman who was crying in despair. Had he been asked to list his accomplishments, that day wouldn’t have even crossed his mind–but on that day, he was a lifeboat.

How we interact with other people is key, but I believe being a lifeboat applies to all sentient beings, such as the many cats and dogs who cross our paths. I brake for squirrels and birds, and the life of every lizard in my garden is important. Caring for animals who need our help, even keeping an organic garden, is another way to be a lifeboat.

Being a ladder is, I think, a bit tricky. To me, it is saying, Here’s a possible next step, a higher vibration, love rather than fear, a way to lift yourself higher, to move forward. But in every case, the choice to see by the light of the lamp, to step into the lifeboat or onto the ladder, is not ours. People, even animals–who in my experience are often easier to reach–can and do refuse the light and the help at hand.

Even so and nonetheless–be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.

There will be days when, to put it bluntly, it will seem that no one is interested in your light. There will be days when people overtly choose the darkness. That can be heartbreaking–but shedding light in darkness is its own reward.

If you persist, there will also come a day when you find out you’ve made a difference–that someone has seen by your light, stayed afloat, climbed a rung of your ladder. That is a truly wonderful day.

Whichever kind of day it is, each day of this new year, I want to be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.

This post is illustrated by the SoulCollage card I made today.

SoulCollage® cards are for personal use, and are not for sale, barter, or trade.

Communing with nature

Japanese garden

I’m writing from the Japanese Garden today, and I’ve just seen the smallest possum ever, apart from rescued babies. Since it’s shortly after 4 pm and possums are nocturnal, I guess I’ve just seen the Benjamin Franklin of the possum kingdom.

Multicolored koi swim gently beneath the platform where I’m sitting on a bench.

For years a possum family lived in one of my pecan trees, but you couldn’t have proved it by me–I never saw them once. I only received reports from my next-door neighbors, who smoked outside, giving them opportunity to observe all the nocturnal wildlife.

A mosquito just bit me–clearly there’s plenty of food here for the possum family. I’ve been told that each can eat up to 10,000 insects a day, so they’re highly beneficial. I thought about wearing mosquito repellent today, but didn’t. The scent is repellent even to me!

As is usually the case, I suppose, the people are making far more noise than the animals, though birds call, squirrels scamper, koi tussle over fish food, and ducks bathe noisily. Only the humans hoot and holler; only the human babies wail. Many, but not all, are the quiet types you’d expect to see in a Japanese garden. Most look as though they’d just as soon not see any other people.

More ducks swim by, almost silently, leaving chevron-patterned ripples in their wake.

My brochure says this garden was once a gravel pit–an immense improvement, no doubt. This is not wild–in fact, it’s less wild and more groomed than my own backyard, the dogs’ domain–but it’s nature, and I’m grateful to be here. I’d love to be somewhere truly wild, but I’d have to go much further than 5 minutes from home to get there. I’m lucky to have such beautiful gardens so close to home.

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Following my visit to the garden, I felt a tremendous sense of peace and groundedness, making me think that I need to make it a priority to spend time here more often. Several times since I starting writing this, I’ve come across the term “communing with nature” or “communion with nature” in various contexts. How interesting that the term we naturally reach for when speaking of nature references a sacrament. We were made to be in nature, not in fluorescent-lit, indoor-outdoor carpeted cubicles, and really not in houses either. We’re meant to see the sun and sky, trees and rain, leaves and flowers, other creatures … not just occasionally, but every day.

My experience of peace and groundedness after visiting the garden also made me want to create a garden of my own. I have flower beds and potted plants, I grow herbs to cook with, I’ve had trees and shrubs planted (I don’t have the muscle or fortitude to dig into solid clay sufficiently deep to plant something large), but I haven’t done anything that’s fundamentally changed the nature of my urban lot. I understand now why my aunt restocked her koi pond over and over, despite repeated incursions by local raccoons with a taste for expensive seafood. (I don’t understand, though, why it wasn’t possible to devise some sort of pond cage that would have defeated the raccoons!) I’m thinking now about how I might be able to create a secret garden, a place that would be an escape, a place where I could commune with nature. It would be a challenge, but I’m sure it’s possible …

Nourishing the soul

Lavender fields

This coming week, I’ll have the luxury of time. Following plenty of grueling work, I’m taking a little vacation time, and I’ve also been given some comp time. With the weekend, I’ll have nearly a week off. I thought about taking an impromptu road trip, but ultimately decided to stay home.

So I’ve been giving thought to this question–how best to use this time to enjoy myself, to relax, to experience what brings me joy and pleasure–how best to nourish my soul?

I believe that the soul and body are differentiated, that the soul has its own trajectory before the body is born, which continues after the body dies. But for now, during this life, they are one–so what truly nourishes the soul also nourishes the body, and what truly nourishes the body also nourishes the soul. Meditation nourishes the soul, but it’s also been proven to change the mind for the better, as well as improve health outcomes for the body.

So here’s what I’d like to do next week … I may not get to all of it, but I’m going to have a good time trying!

  • As I do every week, I’ll take time to write. I hope I’ll feel inspired to write a bit more than usual.
  • I meditate twice a day, nearly every day without fail, but I often struggle to carve out the necessary time. Some months ago I accepted a challenge to meditate 40 minutes at a stretch for 40 days. It was a true challenge to find the time to do that, but often it felt like a true luxury rather than an obligation. I plan on some luxuriously long meditation time.
  • I’ve been thinking about a bath each and every day. That sounds like a little bit of heaven. (I take a shower every day, in case you’re picturing Pig-Pen! But I usually only have time to take a bath once a week or so.)
  • As a child, I read all the time, escaping into the world of books. I usually finished a book or two every day. These days, I read a lot of short-form writing, but books? Not so much anymore. I want to find a lovely new book and read it cover to cover.
  • While I’m at the bookstore, I’ll probably indulge in one of my favorite I-have-a-few-hours-all-to-myself activities. I like to select a large pile of magazines from an extensive newsstand, look through them, and choose two or three with the most beautiful images (useful for SoulCollage) to take home.
  • Perhaps I’ll feel inspired to make some collage art.
  • Have I mentioned sleep? Lots and lots of sleep-debt-erasing sleep.
  • Cooking is a beautiful way to be creative, and with immediate, tangible results too! I plan to cook something delicious and a bit decadent–probably my meatloaf, which I shape on a jellyroll pan, and cover entirely in bacon + glaze. Perhaps that’s more than a bit decadent?
  • I’ll definitely take some time to work in my garden. Gardening is a guaranteed way for me to quickly drop out of clock time and into the flow, where I feel I’m working hand-in-hand with God. It’s a great time to do some fall cleanup in the cool early morning hours.
  • Antiquing is another activity I find really relaxing. You never know what you’ll find, and usually I have no shopping agenda. There are no wrong turns, and serendipity very well may be around the next corner. You may see something you’ve never seen before, or find something stunningly beautiful–and be able to take it home for a song. (I’ve been to fancy antiques shows where I admired very old celadon pottery, each piece selling for thousands. But I find the glazes of 20th-century pottery just as pleasing, and nothing could be easier than finding a lovely piece, certainly for less than $100, and probably less than $50. A few weeks ago, I found a vintage red Swingline Cub stapler–à la Office Space, only one of the funniest movies of all time–for $6, and couldn’t have been more pleased.) I’ve made plans to visit one of my favorite town squares and its shops, antique and otherwise.
  • I love new experiences–they’re rather addictive once you start–and so I’ve made reservations at a restaurant I’ve never been to before. It’s in a restored 130-year-old house, just off that town square, that I can’t wait to see!
  • Naturally I’ll spend time with the people and animals who are important to me. I hope to get together with my sister. I’ll wish a friend who’s moving away bon voyage over brunch at a favorite restaurant. And hopefully the weather will be perfect for a visit to the dog park.
  • And of course, solitude is lovely too. There will be some (but considerably less than a hundred years!).

Probably some of the same things that feed my soul feed yours, but I suspect you have a long list all your own. How might you be able to nourish your soul today, or this week, in a truly meaningful way?

This post is illustrated with my SoulCollage card Lavender fields.

How to go with the Flow

Flow

I remember when I first started reading about the Law of Attraction, in books by Esther Hicks/Abraham and others, one of the first things that struck me was the emphasis on ease–the implication being that life shouldn’t be a struggle.

But my life was a struggle. I fought for everything, and always had. I thought that’s how it was done. (Maybe you think so too.) Every day I felt like a salmon swimming upstream. I decided I’d like to try living life a different way.

I started setting positive intentions for experiences I wanted in my life to flow to me, using intention to align myself with the Flow, and the Flow with me. I figured that if I did this, I’d no longer feel I was swimming against the current.

This turned out to be quite true.

If you find yourself struggling today, here are some ideas that may help …

  1. Be sure your purpose is aligned with the Flow. You may notice that striving for things that are, when you come to examine them, actually unimportant, feels like an uphill battle. After all, there’s nothing natural about a lawn without weeds–or even a lawn, full stop. Maybe there’s a reason you feel like giving up when you try to please a difficult person, or lose those last five pounds, or climb a ‘ladder’ someone else invented. Instead, try getting in touch with the Love inside you, and find a purpose–even a very small one to start with–that springs from that place of love. Then turn your attention to this purpose that’s in alignment with the Flow, away from the goals that aren’t.
  2. Plug in to the Flow by getting out in nature. Take a walk. Plant something you find lovely in your garden. Feel the beautiful life Force all around you. Inside you.
  3. Be creative–just like the Universe. Cook something delicious, or make a collage. Look at your handiwork, or taste it. Observe that it is good.
  4. Try a guided meditation that makes you feel 100% better, and puts you in touch with your higher Self.
  5. Listen to uplifting music that raises your vibration. Anael is a favorite of mine.
  6. Keep a gratitude journal to help you become aware of all that is right and beautiful and Flowing in your life.
  7. Ask a favorite saint, angel, or ascended master for assistance. You may just be amazed at the results. (Doreen Virtue’s Archangels and Ascended Masters is a favorite resource of mine. My copy is seriously worn.)
  8. Set some intentions that align you with the Flow, and the Flow with you.

This post is illustrated with the SoulCollage card I made today, One with the Flow.

Planting elfin thyme

Crown

Today, after the storm had passed, the weather was utterly perfect for gardening. Neither too cold nor too warm, not a mosquito marred the air.

The harsh, icy, on-again-off-again winter took out all but one of the lavenders in my front flower bed. The mint, of course, survived. Mint would probably survive an apocalypse. I’m not sure whether to be comforted by the thought that anyone else who survives can be assured of minty fresh breath!

Today I replanted the vacated half of the bed. Bowing to Mother Nature, I planted more mint–peppermint this time. Defying Mother Nature, and the original (heavy clay) character of the soil, I planted more lavender, which prefers excellent drainage. It’s Munstead lavender, which smells absolutely delicious. Perhaps because I’d just read about its medicinal properties, I planted rosemary, for remembrance–apparently it improves memory. And for whimsy, I planted elfin thyme, which I hope will spread into a lovely little carpet.

Gardening is excellent exercise, and I feel limber, muscles–including unfamiliar ones–stretched but not sore.

I can’t wait to do this again!

This post is illustrated with my SoulCollage card Crown chakra + Toad totem.

How to spend Black Friday

Trinity Trails

Today was a lovely day where I did not much of anything. No shopping atall … the only money I spent was at a restaurant. What I was doing today was relaxing … that was my mission.

I was raised to believe that being productive was next to godliness, and I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard “Time is money.” Here’s the thing: It’s not.

This is what I’ve learned on my own (heresy as usual): Doing nothing is a completely worthwhile activity.

Today was, of course, Black Friday, which has virtually no meaning to me, not least because my goal is always to have my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. I don’t always achieve that goal, but this year I did. I shop throughout the year for the people in my life who I know will be on my Christmas list. When I see something perfect for someone, I buy it and put it on my gift shelf.

Each fall I make a list of what I have, and then just fill in a few gaps. My mother and her husband are big coffee drinkers, but would never spring for fair-trade or organic on their own. (“Isn’t all coffee fair trade?”) Since it needs to be fresh, that’s one of the last things I buy. I believe I did that in October.

So instead of shopping today, I slept in. Ate a leisurely breakfast. And lunch. When I went out to water the garden, I also cut back my tender plants that have been taken out by the frosts thus far. Also cut up a fall tree branch (my light-weight purple Dramm loppers, a past Christmas present, totally came through for me), and put everything in my yard carts (the city makes free mulch from our yard trimmings).

I did a tad bit of essential housecleaning, then took a long walk by the river. Tried something new–a pumpkin, coffee, and Kahlua drink, and some brisket-stuffed peppers.

Dropped by my mother’s to pick up the gravy I forgot to ask for yesterday to go with my leftovers. As I drove, I noticed how relaxed my muscles were. Ah … my strategy of doing nothing is really working.

How not to worry

How indeed. I would love to be told.

It’s the lovely four-day Thanksgiving weekend I’ve so been looking forward to, and I am worrying about work.

It seems I’ve found a way to worry even in my sleep, because when I return to consciousness, that’s exactly what I remember doing. Clearly I am not an amateur.

What to do, what to do …

  1. Release the worry, just like releasing thoughts during meditation. When I become aware of it, I let it go–like cutting the string on a helium balloon and letting it float away.
  2. Use breathwork to release the worry. Some years ago I remember reading that your guides will bring things to the surface of your consciousness so you can release them. This seemed like it could be true for me as there certainly was plenty to release at the surface of my consciousness, but release it how?! I put the question out there. The answer came in the form of a weekend breathwork workshop. The technique I use involves taking a deep, a very deep breath, using your diaphragm, filling every corner and cavity of your body with breath. (You’ll want to make sure you’ve discarded any shapewear or anything with an underwire or boning beforehand!) Then let the breath out all at once, preferably while intending to release what’s bothering you, even if you can’t otherwise name it. For example, on the in breath you could think or say, I receive love. On the out breath you could think or say, I release all fear (or all worry … and it probably comes down to the same thing). When your out breath sounds like something that’s been dammed up, you know you really need to be doing this. When it calms, you know you’ve released something that wasn’t serving you.
  3. Release attachment to a particular outcome. My intention is to trust that if I show up and do the right thing, the results will take care of themselves. I know that there are many possible positive resolutions to this situation (and the same is probably true for yours).
  4. Do something that engages you. Unfortunately it’s really too cold to garden today–that’s one of the very best and immediate ways for me to drop out of clock time and into the flow. Writing is another good way.

I suppose that in taking step 4, I’ve written just what I needed to read today. I post it here in the hope it’s of help to you too.

Now that it’s fall

To be interested in the changing seasons is … a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring. –George Santayana

All at once the leaves are finally changing color, and just beginning to fall and crunch underfoot.

Today at lunchtime, when I took Gracie out into the front yard, I noticed how beautiful the trees have become. My Chinese pistachio, redbud, and ash are all shades of gold and red. My neighbors’ trees are also turning beautiful colors. A gorgeous one across the street that I’d never noticed before caught my eye, now that it’s wearing its fall coat.

Now come the gifts of the latter seasons. Woodsmoke hangs in the air, lingers in the dogs’ fur. Friends walking in the arched front door of my English cottage-style bungalow say how cozy it is (no one appreciates cozy in the sweltering heat of summer). Hot chocolate, Dublin Dr Pepper short ribs, brisket braised with carrots, cobbler warm from the oven–these all belong to the fall and winter seasons.

Opaque tights, booties, warm woolen skirts, layered sweaters, cashmere-lined leather gloves, a plaid wool lining zipped snugly into a trench coat–getting dressed really is more fun in cooler weather.

All these gifts are ours, now that it’s fall.

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