Celebrating the Time Before Beginnings

It’s hard for me to write a holiday post this year. To say I’m not in the Christmas spirit is the understatement of the year. And yet, this is the time of more than just canned Christmas music and out of control commercialism. I’ve always been bah humbug about that. But the fact that we’re in the dark days, the fact that we’re about to find in each of us newness in spite of all that has happened, all that has laid us low in the past year, the fact that we’ve found a commonality a sense of connectedness in those dark days, well that is something I’ve always found worth celebrating. This year, with the loss of my sister, more than ever, I need what those dark days can offer me, that womb of darkness, a place of being and not doing and that’s why I’m sharing this post with you again.

 

As I was walking along the canal the other day between rain showers, watching the moorhens leave water con trails across the surface, I was thinking about why this time of year is such a big deal. It’s dark, it’s dreary, it’s seemingly dead. Really, it seems like something we should just want to skip right through as much as possible, and yet we celebrate this time of year more than any other.  For several years I celebrated the seasons of the year with a Wiccan coven, and one of the best parts of that time in my life was the effort made to understand and live in sync with the changing seasons of the year. That I’ve held onto long after I left the coven. That ebb and flow remains an important part of who I am and how I celebrate.

 

Then, as now, the magic of this time of year intrigued me the most. In the Pagan cycle of the year, the winter months are represented by the direction of north, the cold, dark direction, the place where everything seems dead and silent. The days are short and the nights are long and it’s a temptation to go to bed early and sleep late. In the darkest days it’s even a temptation to follow the example of our bear cousins and sleep the whole dreary time away until the spring returns. The holidays aside, by the time January gets here it’s all about the return of the light. We’ve all had enough dark days, and we want sunshine.

 

So what’s so magical about that? Of course we want the sunshine. Who doesn’t? But the magic comes in the waiting. The dark powers of the north, the dark earth energy of the pagan wheel of the year is dream magic. It’s the time before beginnings. It’s the time when we sit with a cup of tea clenched in our hands and reflect on what has been, while everything in us looks forward to what lies ahead. On the one hand we dream of the past and we say our good-byes to this turning of the year, on the other hand, we dream and scheme and anticipate the future that will begin, just like new life, in the dark place. And we wait for the end that has to happen before the beginning. The time before beginnings. It’s a phrase that has no meaning if we don’t have a past to reflect upon. It’s a phrase that has no meaning if we don’t have a future to anticipate and to dream and scheme for.

 

This time of year the sun, when we do get it, is never very high in the sky, and it’s often a cold anemic sun. This time of year when everything seems so dead, there are already buds fattening on the trees — the beginnings of the leaves that will shelter the birds and shade us from the sun when it’s at its most powerful. This time of year even the winter visitors, the waxwings and the fieldfares, are anticipating new beginnings, feeding up for their return to the north and for the raising of the next generation.

 

It’s in these dark days, in this space in between when it’s not quite the end, but it’s not yet the beginning either, it’s in this liminal space that we experience a magic that’s different from any other time of the year, a magic of stillness, a magic of holding ourselves tightly and inhaling deeply just before the sun returns and we’re off once again, running forward into the headroom and the creative momentum that this time before beginnings has afforded us.

 

Happy Time Before Beginnings!

 

Dark Days and Birdies

(Archives)

The darkest day of the year has come and gone. From now on it’s a slow, teasing progression toward spring and glorious sun-filled days. But even the dark days bring their own pleasures.

Every year in early December, something wonderful happens in our back garden. The wagtails return! We’ve had a pair of pied wagtails over-wintering with us for the past four years now. I’d like to think they come because they’ve developed a warm spot in their little birdie hearts for us, but I know they really come for the shredded cheese.

 

Wagtails are insectivores, and these two lovelies, whether they are the original pair who first visited us on that dreadful winter four years ago or some of their descendants, have probably come down from Scandinavia to winter here in South England. They come here because there are certain kinds of insects that survive in the moss on the roofs of the houses and every time the temperature warms slightly, they come out briefly. It’s a day to day existence for the wagtails, and I can’t imagine how any of them actually survive, so I put out shredded cheese, which they love.

 

I associate Christmas with a huge influx of birds in our back garden, and it’s a time when I feel closer them and am more sensitive to their needs. Though food is the obvious need – fat balls for the general population, mixed seeds and nuts for the tits and doves, currants for the blackbirds and of course shredded cheese for the wagtails (though the starlings and the magpies also love the cheese and currants) the big draw during the coldest days of winter is the birdbaths. People might not realise birds have no source of fresh water when everything is frozen. Imagine nothing to drink when the weather is cold, no place to bathe.

 

Every morning, as soon as it’s light enough to see, we go out and fill all the feeders, spread currants and cheese for the blackbird and the wagtails and then we tend to the two birdbaths, clearing out the ice with hot water. When that’s done we go in to have our own breakfast. Our dining table is in front of sliding glass doors that look out into the back garden, so every morning during the bleakest days of winter, we are rewarded with an feeding frenzy and a pool party.

 

We live in a wonderful symbiosis with our avian friends. We keep food and water available for them throughout the coldest darkest times and in turn we’re rewarded with a close-up and personal view of the natural world we wouldn’t otherwise get. The blackbird perches on the retaining wall and stares in the window at us if there are no currants for him. The wagtails show up out of nowhere when they hear us filling feeders. They’ve learned there’ll be cheese.

 

Through December, we’re all waiting for the daylight, waiting for the sun to return. We’re all waiting and longing for light and warmth and new beginnings. Through those darkest months, I marvel at how the birds survive the bleak harsh days when there seems to be nothing for them to eat, nothing for them to drink. I know that lots of them don’t survive. I know that when the temperature dips below zero, whether or not they survive the night can depend upon how much they’ve been able to forage the day before. The difference between survival and death is such a fine line. And every year I’m astounded and amazed by their tenacity, by their will to survive the dark days.

 

In the spring, the wagtails go back to Scandinavia to breed and the bird population in our back garden changes, and the dynamic changes. We get fledgling starlings and blackbirds and the whole garden becomes a nursery for the next generation. But there’s something magical about those winter months, the dark cold days, the times when the closeness I feel is a deep admiration for the ebb and flow, for the push to hang on one more season, for the deep powerful urge to survive and bring forth the next generation. I watch the starlings fluttering in wild abandon in the birdbaths, the water freezing on the edges even as they bathe. I watch the wagtails and the blackbirds treading frozen ground, eating cheese and currants, their feathers fluffed to nearly twice their body size to keep warm, and I feel that somehow, I’ve become a part of something so much greater than myself and my little understanding of the world. This is the gift I receive every year in the dead of winter, and it’s a gift that I treasure long after the sun has returned and the Dawn Chorus has begun in earnest and the wagtails have flown north.

 

Happy Solstice, everyone! May all the gifts you give and receive be gifts that touch the heart.

 

Out Now—False Memory by Meli Raine (@meliraineauthor)

THE FALSE SERIES: False Memory (Book 1), False Hope (Book 2) & False Start (Book 3)

Author: Meli Raine

Release date: November 13, 2018

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Series Description:

She’s faking her amnesia to fool a very real killer.

FALSE MEMORY (Book 1)

Release Date:  11/13/18

Apple Books Exclusive:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/false-memory/id1387687477?mt=11

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40405827-false-memory

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/books/false-memory-by-meli-raine

It all started with the bereavement flowers with my name on them.

Not the best way to wake up, right? I work in a flower shop. I know a funeral arrangement when I see one.

I know a killer when I see one, too. And one is standing in my hospital room right now, straight behind the man who saved my life.

I can’t tell anyone the truth, because that’s the fastest way to really die. So I do the next best thing. I “lose” my memory.

I fake my amnesia.

Pretending not to remember a brutal attempted murder has its perks. The killer is backing down, spending less time around me, loosening the noose.

The less I claim to recall, the more my rescuer, Duff, works to help me “remember.” I hate lying to him.

But he doesn’t understand that my memory is dangerous. To me. And to him.

Fooling everyone isn’t easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Except it’s starting to look like I’ve been fooling myself.

In more ways than one.

 

FALSE HOPE (Book 2)

Release Date:  12.11.18

Apple Books Exclusive:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/false-hope/id1421994196?mt=11

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42088265-false-hope

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/books/false-hope-by-meli-raine

 

FALSE START (Book 3)

Release Date:  01/15/19

Apple Books Exclusive:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/false-start/id1421999168?mt=11

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42088271-false-start

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/books/false-start-by-meli-raine

 

Author Bio:

Meli Raine writes romantic suspense with hot bikers, intense undercover DEA agents, bad boys turned good, and Special Ops heroes — and the women who love them. Meli rode her first motorcycle when she was five years old, but she played in the ocean long before that. She lives in New England with her family.

Social Media Links:

Website:  http://meliraine.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/meliraine

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/meliraineauthor

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/meli-raine

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13536295.Meli_Raine

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/beV0gf

Release blitz organized by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Multi-Orgasmic Vol 2 by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) #erotica

Blurb

If you’re a fan of erotic short stories, then get your hands on this collection from the pen of award-winning erotica author Lucy Felthouse.

From famous movie stars to sexy farmers, holiday flings to seducing delivery drivers, and even unusual household items being used as bondage, this book has variety galore. It’s sure to get you hot under the collar and eager to turn just one more page.

Enjoy nineteen titillating tales, over 54,000 words of naughtiness packed into one steamy read.

Please note: Many of the stories in this book have been previously published in anthologies, as standalones, and online, but three are brand new and never seen before!

Buy links

Amazon: http://mybook.to/MOV2

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/multi-orgasmic-vol-2-lucy-felthouse/1129829792?ean=2940155871637

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/multi-orgasmic-vol-2-a-collection-of-short-stories/id1441592585?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/multi-orgasmic-vol-2

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/905453?ref=cw1985

*****

Excerpt:

“Yvette!” Jack snapped. “Are you even listening to what I’m saying?”

“Yes, Sir!” I’d only missed a bit. Maybe a couple of words. And it wasn’t my fault.

“So what’s the problem? Are you uncomfortable? Would you like a cushion?”

“No, Sir. I’m fine, thank you. It’s just…” As another noise filtered in through the double glazing, I was unable to stop my gaze slipping in that direction.

“What—?” Jack strode past me, all stompy and masterful.

I allowed myself a shiver of pleasure at his demeanour. He was sexy when he was grumpy, though naturally I didn’t enjoy it when he was grumpy with me.

He peered out the window to see what had distracted me. “Neighbour is mowing his lawn, that’s all. Can’t very well go around there and complain about that, can I?” he muttered.

Jack stepped back in front of me. “The window is closed, Yvette. I can’t really do any more than that.” He shrugged.

“It’s okay, Sir. He’ll be done soon. I can ignore it. It’s not that loud.” Ever since he’d given me that look and ordered me into the bedroom, my pussy had ached, and I had yearned for his orders, to do his bidding. To please him. I certainly didn’t want to displease him by allowing the next-door-bloody-neighbour’s garden maintenance to get in the way of our scene, but it’d be tough to remain entirely focused with that racket going on.

“Hmm. All right, then. Let’s continue. So, where were we?”

I hoped like hell that was a rhetorical question, because I’d been distracted enough by the noise outside that I hadn’t, in fact, heard all of what he’d said. I bowed my head and waited, mentally keeping my fingers crossed that Jack would answer his own question. Luckily for me, he did.

“Come here, take out my cock, and suck it.”

“Yes, Sir!” I almost got carpet burns on my knees as I eagerly shuffled forward. I reached out and undid his zipper. Slipping my right hand through the gap, I manoeuvred until my fingers closed around his shaft—which was rigid, red hot, and irresistible.

Carefully, I popped his cock out through the opening in his boxers and trousers, where it stood proudly, looking just as irresistible as it felt. All purple and swollen; raring to go. Licking my lips, I pumped my fist up and down his length a couple of times, before closing my mouth around his glans. Immediately, the delicious musky, salty taste of him hit my taste buds and I hummed happily and prepared to start sinking further onto him.

Just then, a high-pitched roaring sound reached my ears.

Jack picked up on my flinch. Stepping back—and slipping his dick out of my mouth in the process—he exclaimed, “Oh, for heaven’s sake! It’s really distracting you, isn’t it?”

I sat back on my heels and pouted. “I’m sorry, Sir! I can’t not hear. If I could switch my ears off, trust me, I would.”

Jack’s expression softened. “Hey, it’s okay. It’s not your fault. It’s just… kinda ruining what we’ve got going on here.”

I bit my lip. “Yeah, I know. But what are we supposed to do about it?”

*****

Bio

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller), The Persecution of the Wolves, Hiding in Plain Sight and The Heiress’s Harem series. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 170 publications to her name. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Join her Facebook group for exclusive cover reveals, sneak peeks and more! Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. Subscribe to her newsletter here: http://www.subscribepage.com/lfnewsletter

 

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

 

A Tribute to My Sister

 

My beautiful sister passed away suddenly on the first of December. I am heartbroken, but I doubt if anyone could claim more rich and wonderful memories that I can with my sister. She was my best friend, my confidant, and my partner in adventure. I have no words for the crater her absence leaves in my life, but wow! What a friend she was, and how glad I am that I had such a sister and such a friend. The post below is our last adventure together, which I shared only a few months ago, but it seems right to share it again because I treasure it.

 

While my husband and I were in Oregon for the memorial service and to help clear her things, we ate some of these wonderful huckleberries, jam-packed with laughter and joy, every morning for breakfast in our oatmeal. There are a million memories of her I wish I could share, but this was quintessential Nancy, and I wanted to share it with you all once again.

 

A Berry Yummy Time

Huckleberry picking with my sister in Oregon. I’ve wanted to do it forever, but could never seem to manage my visit to coincide with the elusive fruit in season. Finally I managed! And the experience did not disappoint. The only disappointment was that we didn’t get to camp while we picked.

 

 

Official picking tools: a plastic ice cream bucket clipped onto a belt to free up both hands for the yummy, but backbreaking, task at hand.

 

 

The delightful fruits of our labours are the wild cousin to the blueberry, smaller and much more tart, tiny round packets of tastebud titillation.

 

 

In the UK, they are closely related to bleaberries and bilberries. We picked three days and over that time managed nearly three gallons of berries. LOTS of work.

 

 

But time spent in the sunshine on the wild flank of Mount Hood is SO worth the effort.

 

 

And yes, it was sunny, though from the distance where I’d taken this photo, the clouds hadn’t cleared yet. This is a little closer to our destination.

 

 

Oh, and did I mention lunches at one of the best cafes in the world?

 

 

We seldom picked later than three in the afternoon.

 

 

By that time the back was not caring at all about the belly’s greed, and of course we ate almost as many as we picked. Well, in the beginning at least.

 

 

I had to pick frantically to keep up with my sister who is an expert at the job. She always managed more than I did, even with her ‘one for the bucket, one for the mouth’ technique.

 

 

And then there was clean-up before we headed home. The remnants of huckleberry stains from three days of picking were still with me when I got on the plane back to the UK.

 

 

At home, the berries had to be cleaned and bagged, then put in the freezer.

 

 

All this happened while we laughed and chatted about the wonderful day we’d had.

 

 

BUT! We always made sure we’d left plenty out for the best part of the day, the reward at the end …

 

 

Homemade huckleberry pancakes for dinner!

 

 

 

Nancy Thomas, my dearest sister, you will be missed.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

Site created and maintained by Writer Marketing Services | Sitemap