Musings + Essays


By: Jen Shoop

In winter, the trees winnow down to stick figures, and their branches — accustomed to the filigree of petals and leafwork — bear the burden of ice and snow.

What might it be like, to exercise that conservationist strength?

To lean one’s roped and weary shoulders against the cracking white?

To carry the heaviest load when stripped bare?

I think we all know. We have all stood in Skaði’s* icy company.

And yet we forget —

“Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible,” as Kate May put it. From winter’s austere offices emerges the tenderest green. And after the longest and darkest day of December, dawn opens the door a few minutes earlier: come in, come in. You must be freezing out there.

Post Scripts.

*Skaði is the Norse goddess of winter. She was considered austere but not necessarily cruel or retributive.

+Some musings from a few years ago on Kate May’s concept of wintering: “Our movements in times of adversity need not always be so frictional and against the grain. Maybe there are seasons designed for fallowness. Maybe we learn important things there, in the quiet and bare.”

+The sandpiper.

+Comparison is the thief of joy.

+Living life in the interrogative.

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Shopping Break.

This post may contain affiliate linksIf you make a purchase through the links below, I may receive compensation.

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+The classiest black leather gloves from a family-run French business.

+For those Magpies asking for ski attire: HalfDays is another great place to check! I love the colors of these fleeces and base layers.

+Just ordered a few new holiday books for my children, including this and this.

+Zara has some seriously cute finds for children — love this bow sweatshirt and this fair isle sweater. More recent Zara finds here.

+The first thing I ever bought my son (a few weeks into his pregnancy) was a De Buci bear that I had personalized with his name on it. Such a treasure to me.

+Increasingly drawn to Tod’s classic leather handbags. She’s timeless!

+These ornament organizers make life so much easier.

+These hand-painted personalized children’s chairs are so darling. Her hand-painted ornaments for baby’s first Christmas would also make a sweet gift for new parents.

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4 thoughts on “Skaði.

  1. Thank you for linking back to your post about how comparison is the thief of joy. I was just musing earlier today about feeling behind my friends with regard to dating/marriage. Earlier this year I went a college friend’s wedding, and I was the only one in our group of friends who didn’t have a significant other. It was a weird mix of feelings – happy for my friends and their partners and excited for us all to be in one place, but also lonely/jealous that I didn’t have a boyfriend to share it with. Reading what you had written was genuinely reassuring. I’m very grateful for 1) your vulnerability and 2) your consistency with posting everyday. I always look forward to reading your posts!

    1. Hi Sarah – So glad those words found you at the right time. I can imagine that would have been a gathering with lots of mixed emotions! But you are exactly where you are meant to be. What is meant for you will not miss you!

      Thank you for your readership, friend!!


  2. I sometimes feel alone in my love of deep winter. Our cultural narrative doesn’t really allow for an embrace of those fallow times, doesn’t really support finding peace in stillness and silence. Whenever people talk about “surviving winter” I’m like, you literally couldn’t survive without it! You are a mammal too, and you need times of rest. Not every day can be high summer!

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