Permit yourself the luxury

Neighbors on a winter afternoon stroll, York County, Virginia 2010

“Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do – or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so.” —  Stanley Crawford

Each year, I enter January with delusions about how much I will get done — I will clean out my closets, sort through old letters, put my photographs into albums or digitize them to send to others.   I never seem to accomplish all that I plan to do in the winter, partly because that season is rarely as idle as I imagine it will be, and partly because, more than any other time of year, I permit myself the delicious pastimes associated with the dormant season: browsing through books, strolling on a cold, sunny day, and daydreaming about the coming spring.  I wish for you the wonderful winter luxury of taking a break while nature itself is half asleep.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. You can view the original with comments here.


  1. Cherie Calvird

    Julia, thank you so much for sending me your Defeat Despair. You have been helping me slowly grieve Ron ever since his first major surgery in 2014. It just took 6 more years to finally take him across that Crystal River.

    I know you know what I am feeling. We were married 30 years and were always together except a few times.

    I think of you and Matt just about every day now. I want to give you both a big hug.

    I am so glad I put up the Christmas tree early. Ron always loved Christmas. I put the beautiful Cardinal ornament right in front that you gave us. He always loved that because he was from St Louis. He loved baseball.

    I am hoping to be able to stay right where I am. I thought before I might go back to Arkansas, but I don’t have anyone there. I want to be here where he was.

    I do hope you and Matt enjoy the day.

    Love and Light!🌞🌞🌞


    • Cherie, it made me so happy to read that Ron loved the Cardinal ornament. I am keeping you in my prayers more than ever and my heart is with you as you face the countless sorrows and adjustments that go with the loss of a decades-long marriage. I will add to my prayers that you will be able to stay where you are for as long as you want. One of the best pieces of advice given to me about bereavement was not to rush any decision. There are some choices I’m still in the process of making, but I’ve found that giving myself time to grieve, as well as to navigate all the changes involved in building a new life, is essential to my peace of mind. Blessings, prayers and cyber hugs to you! ❤ ❤ ❤

  2. Chris

    Hi Julia,
    It sounds so peaceful; the pastimes with the dormant season. But, here in Florida, we don’t have a cozy warm blanket of snow. It’s also ‘a new beginning’ of sorts. January is such an exciting month to me. As you noted, it’s rarely idle. It’s one of my busiest months at work, and one in which all my volunteer affiliations seem to want to schedule ‘big’ meetings. When I pause to take a breath, the month is practically gone! 😊 I do look forward to the day when I have some idle time to enjoy the pastimes of dormancy!

    • Chris, I imagine that Florida summers are so hectic and packed with activities and tourists (to say nothing of high temperatures and humidity) that it makes sense for January to be a super busy time. Try to grab a few minutes of calm here and there, and look forward to the rewards of retirement, which are many. At the same time, give thanks for all the work that gives life so much meaning. I think staying active is one of the most important secrets to enjoying life, however much time we are granted on this earth. Thanks for being here!

  3. MaryAnn

    Playing in that snow & sledding down the hills are my dreams! Your list of “planned things to get done” matches mine! Sending much love!

    • Mary Ann, perhaps someday you can visit in winter and we’ll have one of our very rare snowstorms while you are here. Although the way winters have been so mild recently, the chances of timing it right would be less than catching the cherry blossoms at peak bloom! But I’m not complaining. I love the milder weather and I still miss the California winters, with all my flowers continuing to bloom year round and fruit (especially lemons) there for the picking from my neighbor’s trees. Sending love from Matt and me. ❤

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