Hello, dear readers. I’m feeling quiet and contemplative these days, but wish to send you a few notes on what I’m up to (or what I’m thinking about) lately. Although it’s unusual and maybe a little frightening that it hasn’t snowed yet, I’ve been grateful for the clear paths of the sidewalks, the frost on the grass that melts before I’ve eaten breakfast, because it means that I can still walk, if only a little bit. Once the ground is covered in snow and ice, it becomes significantly more difficult, and sometimes entirely impossible, for me to walk. Even the nearest streetcar stop or bus stop will be too far away, and besides, the city has been getting rid of the shelters and seats at some of the stops I use, so they will no longer be accessible.
Many of us are accustomed to embracing our inner hermits at this time of year, to getting cozy, staying home, writing letters, but as a physically disabled person who is often isolated anyway, Winter is becoming more difficult and complicated than it already was. I am fatigued and freaked out, wishing to retreat, but needing to find a balance and invite my friends into my home, to stay in touch, so I don’t feel too lonely, too scared, too angry about my physical pain and the inaccessibility of the city.
Last week, I drew a picture of myself as The Hermit, carrying a lantern that accidentally looks like an apple core, a magical item with many meanings, in a dress with nine buttons with a pattern of flowers each with nine petals. I love the cards with creatures with canes – they hold new meanings I wouldn’t have found if it weren’t for my own experience using a cane.
The Hermit is a misunderstood creature – The Hermit is, of course, overly romanticized, and the image of the person with the dark cloak, the lantern, the tall walking stick, turning away, face hidden behind their hood, is familiar – I feel as though I knew it before I knew the Tarot, and had already made up a story. The Hermit can be a little intimidating, too. What do they know? What are they hiding? Will they come back?
I don’t think The Hermit is truly running away, hiding, leaving anyone they like or love behind – they are simply retreating, making space to learn, to grow, to change, and they are not yet concerned with how they’ll bring their messages back to their pals, but they will. It may not be in words – perhaps a new energy, a new project, a new method of communication, a new way of listening, a new way of being (then again, sometimes words are best, even when they don’t feel like enough). The Hermit knows the differences between isolation and reprieve, hiding and recuperation – I don’t always know, of course, or I don’t always feel I have a choice, but some part of me is learning.
Although it doesn’t quite feel like Winter yet, I’ve added a winter survival coupon code to schoolformaps.etsy.com, so you can gather zines to read as it begins to snow, if you wish. Use coupon code ‘wintersurvival15’ during checkout for 15% off zines, books, and Tarot readings throughout December. Please note that I will be putting many of my zines out of print by the end of the year, so this will be your last chance to read them.
P.S.: If you’ve benefited from my writing in any way – if my words have inspired you, helped you feel less alone, or sparked some weird feeling within you; if you’ve felt encouraged, or curious, or comforted – please consider compensating me by offering a donation of any amount. Whether you’ve been reading my writing for years, or just stumbled into me this afternoon, I invite you to help me sustain the process!