A couple of weeks ago my husband went on a ski trip in the remote mountains of British Columbia.  He and a group of guys stayed in two cabins that can only be reached by helicopter!  Some of their pictures take my breath away.

Photos by Harris Jordan, one of the skiers.

Over the holidays, my oh so chic sister was wearing these Penelope Chilvers clogs.  Comfort plus shearling on the inside?  Yes, please.

I want to go to here.  Turpan, China, and the Silk Road as seen through the lens of Jacky Douchet.

A big thank you to Liz, from Say Yes to Hoboken!, for featuring By Its Own Design on her list of up and coming blogs from the Alt Summit!  Such lovely company to be in.

My other half has been away for over a week, ski touring from a remote cabin in British Columbia.  I've been taking advantage of a quiet house to try and write as much as possible, and am sure ready for a little break.  Off to the pictures to catch either The Fighter or Black Swan.  Such different options, I know.  Inspired by the words of Roald Dahl, have a magical weekend.  Whether it be snowy or sunny!

Can't remember where I found this image.  Let me know if you know its attribution.

What I'm thinking about and working on today.  A little glimpse of the novel I'm writing about various generations of a family (some of them peach farmers) that live in the high desert of Western Colorado.
Harlan grew up studying both at the little school down the hill and along the shaded rows of the orchards.  During the summers he worked underneath the trees, picking and packing alongside everyone they knew.  His long body would be covered up in overalls and his tawny hair tucked underneath his broad cowboy hat as he tried to shield himself from the deadly desert sun.
Redhavens were the first ones to ripen, as early as mid-July.  They were plump, like rosy cheeks, and had vermillion rings around their pits.  Redglobes were the giants of the group—to an untrained eye they resembled apples, until you wrapped your palm around their velvety skin.  Suncrests were like little precious stones that grew on trees with their yellow undercoat and brushing of red fuzz.  Cresthavens came in towards September, right when the light would start to turn, and it often seemed to Harlan that their amber flesh was a harbinger of autumn’s fading golden days.   

photographs by J. Nordberg

Ahh, winter.  I am one of those people whose mood goes kaput when the sun circles low in the winter sky.  Little threads of doubt creep into my head.  They usually revolve around the same theme: “your work/writing is total rubbish—why are you even attempting this?”  I try very hard to keep these thoughts away, and am forever coming up with new solutions.  Exercise!  No matter what, fresh air makes you feel better.  Embrace the coziness!  Light candles all around your house and stay warm, then you won’t feel depressed.  Wake up early with the light and go to bed with the dark, and you’ll feel energized! 

The thing is, that none of these things have ever really worked for me.  The fact is that when the sun goes away, my usual optimistic “I can handle it with a smile on my face” attitude sort of disappears. 

I remember once when talking to a friend about struggle, she told me that for years and years, she would bang her head against whatever obstacle was in her way, and no matter how heavy it was, she’d try to push it away.  Only it inevitably turned out to be way to heavy for her to do anything about it.  Then one day, doing something completely mundane, she realized that she could just walk around the boulder, rather than walk into it.

Walk around it.  Hmm.  What exactly does that mean?  I’ve thought about it for a while now, and I think what it means for me is surrendering.  That there are times in life—seasons in the year, where you aren’t always in control over how you feel.  And that this is OK.  Here’s the real thing: not only is it OK, it’s totally natural

What would happen if I gave in to these feelings of somberness and soberness?  What would happen if I let myself sleep in rather than waking up and going for a run?  What would happen if I allowed myself to be quiet and still.  What would happen if I acknowledged that I feel less “good” than other times when I’m energized and feel great and life is good?  After all, what’s the worst that could happen?  I’d be what I already am: a body in sleep mode, waiting for spring.

photos credits. top: Katie de Bruycker, middle: MariaJC, bottom: Lara Alegre.