Beginning in September and making steady progress through December, magazines oriented toward homes and food feature warm and cozy pictures on the front. The September issues generally feature Fall colors and recipes for what my husband calls "deer camp food" such as chilis and stews. October brings photos of pumpkins and other colorful squashes. November is roasted turkeys or fall table settings. Finally, December is Christmasy with lots of red and green, fireplaces, evergreens, and snowflakes.
Then comes January—January magazines are generally about half the thickness of December issues and feature cool and calm subject matter and colors on the cover. My new issue of Better Homes and Gardens came in a couple of weeks ago, and the cover features a pretty and perfectly organized home office in shades of cool pink and yellow with that beautiful clear white winter light spilling through the uncovered windows. The main headline reads " Cool, Calm, and Decluttered." In the upper corner is another headline that says "Fast and hearty dinners." I saw a piece on a television show last year where a magazine editor was explaining how this seasonal transition is planned out every year, and "cool" and "calm" were the primary goals of the January issue.
That left me to wonder…is the media following a natural pattern created by us? Or has the media created the pattern that we tend to follow? As a child, I would see adults, especially mothers, getting more and more frazzled as Christmas approached. I heard people discussing how they dreaded Christmas and I thought they were obviously out of their minds. Christmas was the best time of the year!! Now, as a middle-aged mother, I start out early in the Fall making preparations, assuring myself that this year will go smoothly. But no amount of advance preparation ever seems to totally hold off the frenetic chaos that the holiday season becomes by December 25. I have been saving my January magazines for January, but have been gazing longingly at the covers, at those cool, calm, and organized scenes.
My mother was saying that once Christmas is over, she is just waiting for the first warm days of Spring. Well that’s a long wait, even in the semi-tropical area where she lives! I have learned to enjoy winter as a time to work toward cool, calm, and decluttered—both in my external environment and my internal environment. Last year I wrote about winter being a season of contemplation, which can be kind of frightening to we who have become so accustomed to constant stimulation. I received a gift of a plaque that reads "Be still and know that I am God (a verse from Psalms)." I feel as if I need that verse nailed to the wall in every room of my house, just to remind me.
I believe we were built to have some time to be still, especially in our minds. Winter invites us to practice that with its long nights and cold temperatures. I invite you to make the most of it instead of just seeing it as something that must be endured to get to Spring. I wish all of you a cool, calm, and decluttered Winter! SpringCreekArtsGuild@gmail.com