After I submitted my dissertation, I went deep into winter hibernation.
It was another aspect of our experimental lifestyle this year. I wanted to shut myself away from the world, and take stock.
Besides my frigid walks along the coast and in the woods, I left the house exactly two times in two months.
Since our house opens out onto the big, wide, ocean, I never felt a trace of cabin fever.
The winter felt like a big, deep breath taken in between deep dives into life. I reveled in my transition time, and clung to my solitude, and thought everyday how lucky I was that I had the time and the means to take big, long rest.
"O ye that have your eyeballs vexed and tired,
Feast them upon the wideness of the sea!"
I basically spent my winter doing three decidedly un-academic things. Reading by the fire was one of them (posts on the other two later).
It was on my List of Things to Do Before I Die: spend a winter reading by the fire. No TV, no movies, no Facebook, minimal communication with the outside world... just me and winter and books and a fire.
So we made it happen. Marc spent the greater part of the autumn scavenging firewood, sawing it all old-fashioned like, and chopping it into perfect logs. Man, did he stock us up a lotta wood. Even now, emerging out the other side of winter, we've hardly made a dent in our stash.
Our evenings were pretty much just like this painting: big old fire, big old house, hardwood floors, slightly uncomfortable antique furniture. Piles and piles of books from the Goodwill Outlet Store (praise it forever and ever amen). No restrictive black dress, though. More like sweats. Purple sweats.
Just me and the winter and the fireplace and the books. I had romantic notions, clearly.
So what did I learn from my winter reading by the fire? That reading by the fire, like anything, can be overdone. ha! Why did I not suspect this before?
Books and I are taking a break for a while.