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I did not mean to disappear from blogworld for so long. Between the run-up to November elections—in Minnesota we were voting for two senators, a governor, a state attorney general, and a congressional representative in my district as well as a number of other offices. Everyday the news was politics politics politics. Campaigns inundated my email inbox and my phone as well as all my social networks. It was too darn much.

Add to that the farce that was the supreme court hearings and what seemed like a neverending barrage of lies, hyperbole, gun violence, weather disasters and the anger, tears and grief the IPCC climate report caused me, and well, I had to step away from the computer. Not that I was never online; I’m a librarian and my job requires me to be connected. But I had to withdraw as much as I could, set some boundaries, step away from the computer when I was not at work. It didn’t solve the stress and worry but it did make it manageable.

I spent a lot of time cycling —commuting to work, working out, long rides—and chatting with cycling friends about cycling. I read some excellent books with Richard Powers’s The Overstory being the standout. I loved it so much and I sobbed a number of times throughout for the beauty and sadness of it all. I read some amazing poetry too including Octavio Paz’s A Tree Within and Tracy K. Smith’s Wade in the Water. Never having been much of a podcast listener I’ve been finding myself tuning into a few now and then. Mostly LeVar Burton Reads (I don’t always like the short stories but his voice is so comforting), The Sonya Looney Show (mountain biker and vegan she talks to experts on nutrition, mental health, motivation, and all sorts of interesting topics) and Harder To Kill Radio (Steph Gadreau is all about women being strong and taking up space and talks to experts on health, nutrition, energy and mindset).

Work has also been using up more mental energy because I have taken on an additional role to my circulation and interlibrary loan duties. I am now—I’m not sure what to call it since there is no official title—a writing advisor. What that means is, I have been conducting short weekly grammar sessions for the foreign law students who are here for a year to get a master’s in American law. I am also having one-on-one consultations with first year law students who would like a little extra help sorting out their writing. Currently we are considering it a pilot project. I am so excited and darn near giddy about it though that I am hoping everyone involved considers it successful enough to allow me to keep doing it.

The garden has been put to bed. I have a seed catalog from Pinetree, my main seed squeeze, and an order ready to go. Yes, I barely have this year’s garden finished and I am already planning and preparing for next year’s. More to come on that of course!

The delightful Dashwoods are doing well. Bookman and I have winterized the coop and run. They don’t get to wander the garden much anymore because it is dark by the time I get home from work. Bookman lets them out of the coop in the morning and I shut them up at night. On weekends and when Bookman has a day off midweek they get to come out into the garden for a wander. The weather has been cold and windy, so more often than not they huddle under the deck or beneath a tree or turn around and go back into the run where they are protected from the wind.

There have been an abundance of gray, cold days since October, multiple dustings of snow, some sleet and freezing rain too. It feels like we are all of us gritting our teeth and beaks and digging deep for the long stretch of dark and cold. None of us it happy about it or ready to give in, so me and the Dashwoods keep pretending that it’s nicer than it is and then crash a bike on black ice or get stuck on the deck because the snow is too cold to walk over back to the warmer run. It seems like mere days after I finally got to stop taking my allergy medication for the season I had to start taking vitamin D because I don’t get to be out in the sunshine (when there is sun). This probably explains why I am already planning next year’s garden!

I am hoping to have enough energy to make at least a weekly appearance here and get out and about to visit other blogs too. We’ll see how that goes. I hope all of you are doing well and, to those who celebrated yesterday, I hope you had a Thanksgiving full of love and gratitude.