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Winter Walks

Winter Walks

Gökotta is the Swedish word for waking early, stepping outside, and listening to the first birdsong. Isn’t that a lovely practice? To take a moment each morning—before checking our phone, reading the paper, and thinking about any of the pressing matters that absorb our attention—and just listen to the world as it wakes up.

The week before December 25th might be the busiest week of the busiest month of what’s been quite a busy year. There’s such a lot to do—parties to plan, projects to finish, shopping to complete, cards to write, gifts to wrap…

Let’s be sure stress doesn’t take the brightness out of our holidays.

We’ve extolled the merits of staying in, but now we’re inspired to go out! We’ll leave all our bits and bobs of technology behind and let our party planning—gift wrapping, shopping, cleaning, baking—rest. Breathing in brisk, fresh air will be a well-earned break.

Yes, we know it’s winter. It’s rainy and snowy and chilly—but that won’t deter us. The British rambler, Alfred Wainwright, wrote, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” We knitters have the skilled fingers and endless enthusiasm to produce closets of suitably warm garb. We’ll dig into our stash of woollies and bravely (and snugly) face the frosty air.

In the midst of all the holiday hustle, wrapping ourselves in our hand-knit woolens is a perfect reminder of all we’ve already achieved. Each and every finished object is an accomplishment. We’ve created something both beautiful and useful! The colorwork snowflakes on our muffler are not just pretty—floating strands and in-the-round knitting double its warmth.

As we bundle up, mitts following muffler and cap guarding our ears, we remember how much we loved knitting each piece. Wasn’t it fun to figure out jogless stripes on those mittens? And what a pleasure it was to work with such a squishy yarn on that beanie. We should find that love of the process, of the journey of making, in every other activity to which we set our hands.

While we shop for gifts, we keep our loved ones in mind. As we bake cookies, our home fills with sweetness and warmth. Our search for the perfect tree is a snow-filled adventure, fueled by promises of sledding and cocoa to follow.

If we keep the pleasure of doing in mind, our holiday task list transforms from an ominous doomsday countdown, to bright festivities culminating in a happy celebration. The minute it stops being fun, we’ve lost the meaning of this wonderful season.

So take breaks when you need to. Get out of the house. Listen to the birdsong. And have your mittens and mufflers, hats and headbands waiting by the door, ready to be put to use. A hot cup of cocoa (with a bit of peppermint), and a better outlook will be waiting when you get back.

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