Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

A New Year—Acts of Waiting, Acts of Faith


Frosty day in Santa Fe

Frost-laden day in Santa Fe

Window of my writing room.

Window of my writing room.

As I sit and look at the lights wrapping the trees outside of my writing room and think back on the past year, what shines through are thoughts of how very much can change in one year. Our family began this year in another home, made an unexpected move, and have spent the past months creating a new nest.

Snow now covers all of the new plants and trees planted during our biblical summer of water and wine. Every morning, I look at the hibernating twigs and branches and wonder which of the plants will make it through this first winter. Birds swirl around the bird feeders we’ve hung in the piñon tree outside and swarm around the fallen seeds on the snow beneath. Our dog, Clyde, is now used to this daily feast and no longer tries to chase them away. The family of quail that visited us all summer has moved on and I hope they will return. 

Painting to books-on-CD.

Painting to books-on-CD.

As planned, now that the weather has turned cold, our focus has shifted to the inside of our nest. Noé replaced the 20 year old brown shag carpet (yes, truly as delightful as it sounds) in our central hallway with a gorgeous wooden floor and I am forever with a paintbrush in my hand and move through a home filled with stained wood. I carry the CD player with the latest book-on-CD (currently “Eldest” by Christopher Paolini) with me into whichever room and am soon lost in the strokes and story. When Noé built this home years ago, raw wood was a main decorating theme. While appropriate for a nest, I find the clean and open feeling of “Bone White” (I choose my paint by the name) opens the home with a clean and polished feel. The other morning, Noé looked at me and said, “Inch-by-inch you’re painting this place. Inch-by-inch.” I grinned. Busted. The soaring wooden ceilings of the berm home with a loft will remain wood. 

Wyatt returned home from college and all our baby birds were back home in the nest.

Baby birds all home in the nest.

Baby birds all home in the nest.

Mom and Dad came from the ranch to spend the holidays and this year they actually made it! Living in western South Dakota has thwarted many of our holiday plans with blizzards in the past. An incoming blizzard had to have the final say, when Mom and Dad had to leave earlier than expected to make it back to the ranch when the storm hit. Prairie people understand.

Grammie and BopBop with grands.

Grammie and BopBop with grands.

In our family, dish duty is decided by ping-pong matches. This year, the boys broke the tie with an arm-wrestling match.

Luke and Wyatt arm-wrestle for dish duty.

Luke and Wyatt arm-wrestle for dish duty.

After Christmas Eve worship, we took the traditional walk through the Plaza.

Moon peeks through the lights above the Plaza.

Moon peeks through the lights above the Plaza.

I woke Christmas morning to Wyatt reading by the light of the Christmas tree.

Wyatt reading.

Wyatt reading by the light of the tree on Christmas morning.

Lilacs under the snow.

Lilacs under the snow.

My thoughts turn to the New Year and I look outside to the plants covered in snow for inspiration. In the midst of a busy year of work at the college and the move, the manuscript for the next book, LOVE STONES, scheduled to be published this past year, remains on my desk. The first draft of the manuscript was submitted to my publisher and returned with editorial notes, all quite do-able. I thought the book was done and I had only to weave in these editorial changes and re-submit. It was only when I started these edits that I realized half of the book was missing, had not yet been written. Now that is a bummer of a realization when you think the book is done.  

At the same time, it is exciting.  Michelangelo said of carving, “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and in action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.” With writing, one starts not with a block of stone, with nothing physical at all other than perhaps stacks of messy notes and papers. I don’t see the finished product of what I write. Instead, I have a sense of what might be and it is within the writing itself that this hazy idea takes shape. 

Roses under snow.

                  Roses under snow.

I look again to the trees and plants that appear dead outside and think of all the potential within that will, with luck, blossom and grow this summer. The rose bushes will again blossom into scarlet, peach, yellow, and shades of salmon and pink that reflect the sunrises and sunsets. Four types of lilacs, with flowers ranging from deep purple to bubblegum pink, ring our stucco wall. Apple and apricot trees were the first planted, soon followed by New Mexican locusts, aspens, and cottonwood. The hummingbird mint that brought hummingbirds to our home last summer now peek forlornly over the snow. The wild array of hollyhocks of every color I could imagine to plant now bend under the weight of the frost. It is an act of waiting and of faith that they will survive and bloom again this summer.

Two of my writing heroines, Isabel Allende and Terry Tempest Williams, reserve the winter for writing as a time to turn inward and focus on the next book. It is time to turn inward now and focus on this next book. The original hard-copy of the manuscript returned to me by the publisher is now filled with notes and scribbles, missing scenes that tie all together yet to be written. Like the world outside, new life within the stalks and branches that appear dry and dead, so too are the scenes yet to be written in LOVE STONES.

Love Stones mss

All I need to do is lift my eyes to the world beyond my window for solidarity. Under the cold and snow of the world outside, dormant life course their their roots. How very like a manuscript. With a bit of luck, a lot of listening, writing, and work, all will blossom in Spring. 

Window of my writing room. Fairy, flower, and snow.

Window of my writing room. Fairy, flower, and snow.

Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

24 thoughts on “A New Year—Acts of Waiting, Acts of Faith

  1. Your zest for life is exhilarating. I’m sure you inspire so many to make the jump into the unknown. I hope this year brings you light, love and loveliness. connie durand Date: Thu, 31 Dec 2015 14:35:44 +0000 To: connie.durand@hotmail.com

    • Dear Connie, how wonderful to hear from you! Thanks ever so much for taking the time to connect. Ah, jumping into the unknown… now this is something I have some experience with for better or worse! There is an adventure always, and its the only way for certain discoveries, I’ve found. Heres to light, love, and loveliness to us both.

  2. I like the contrasts in your descriptions of a chilly wintery outside and
    a warm, cozy companionship inside. True inspiration for that “writing room.”

    • Dear Judith, I loved that contrast, as well. Seems a good combination for deep writing. Thanks so much for taking the time to connect and her is to both of our writing!

  3. Dawn, I too pick paint colors by their name!! Read my first Isabel Allende book this week. Thank you for leading me on to her work. Love your posts and pictures.

    • Dear Lucy, I love knowing this! I literally have put back colors that I loved, simply because I didn’t like the name, and selected other based purely on their paint prose. Love this. So glad you read your first Isabel Allende book. Which one? I love them all. Mom just gave me her latest, “The Japanese Lover” for Christmas. We’ll dive into our Isabel Allende books together!

  4. May we all be touched by the snow that fell ( literally, at least 15 inches at my house!! ) and the stillness winter can embrace; then reappear in the spring all the more nourished and vibrant!
    Happy New Year! Thank you Dawn for the continued presence of family in this day and age.

    • Dear Barb, I love this…”and the stillness winter can embrace; then reappear in the spring all the more nourished and vibrant!” Beautifully expressed and is going above my writing desk. May we all experience this!
      Thanks so very much,

  5. Your family is so wonderful, Dawn. May it ever be so. Love, Connie

  6. What beautiful words and pictures to greet me on this final day of 2015. Your writing is so beautiful and so heart-felt, Dawn, I can hardly wait for Love Stones to be published. But . . . wait I will and with anticipation of a truly memorable and beautiful book.

    • Dear Lindy, oh, do I think of you so very often. Thanks so much for taking the time to write and for us to connect on words and life. Your words give me inspiration and strength to dive into what needs to be done in Love Stones. Thank you, thank you! Sending much love.

  7. I loved your evocative, beautiful sense of the beauty, richness and spirit of winter, the darkness enhanced by the light and the cold snow hiding the treasures of spring blooming. I love how you describe life, your life and the photos enhance the atmosphere. That huge tree covered with frost is a winner!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Dear Marta, I was driving by that huge tree covered with frost and had to spin back around for this photo – it was simply too majestic! So grateful to share. Here’s to us both under the cold snow hiding the treasure of spring blooming. Sending hugs to you! Dawn

  8. Dawn, how INCREDIBLY beautiful! Both photos and what you write. As usual. But still, I simply don’t understand how you have/make the time for all that. I would love to plant everything you do. But there is no earth for trees or even flowers at the summer house. And the energy needed… I am SO HAPPY for you! You look so alive, and you are so fortunate. Comparing with the unhappy girl you were when I first met you – it is a wonder, and everything seems to be JUST RIGHT. Love, hugs, and an energetic AND peaceful new year! Tove

    Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, email:SkutnabbKangas followed by @gmail.com; home page: http://www.tove-skutnabb-kangas.org. For most recent books, see http://www.tove-skutnabb-kangas.org/en/most_recent_books.html

    • Dearest Tove, ah, the passage of time… I am SO very GRATEFUL to share these different chapters of the journey with YOU! Made all the more treasured exactly because of who I was when we met and who we both are now. So much love to you and Robert! Dawn

  9. Dawn, so loved your ideas about new life waiting to bloom. Meanwhile we keep our life going and creating, what could be better?
    An aside about your family. Your mom looks so young! Amazing! Happy New Year🌞

    • Dear Judi, I just painted the wall upon which Black Madonna Honey hangs. Oh, does she look gorgeous! I’ll take a photo to share. Yes, new ideas amidst all of the busyness of life that still needs tending, thus a creative life. I know you are in the midst of all, as well. My mom – yes, not only does she look young, she has an incredible spirit full of joy and energy. Happy, Happy 2016 to you! 🙂

      • Dawn love to have a photo of the print! I’m so glad we have connected. I know how busy you are but would love a coffee or lunch sometime ( even brown bag at your place)
        Hugs ☕️

      • Hi, again, Judi – Oh, I’ll take a photo and send. Yes, let’s definitely get together! We have a lovely little cafe on campus, perfect for us. Big hugs, Dawn

  10. Well done, dear Dawn. I am so happy to hear that you will be filling in the spaces to make LOVE STONES a wonderful, fully realized book. I am also very happy to have you in my life as we venture forth into 2016! Happy New Year to you, Noe, Wyatt, Luke and Winn!

    • Dear Liz, yes, at last will finish LOVE STONES. Of course, the book has it’s own time and I realize now that it needed to wait until now to be complete. Here we go into 2016! So much love to you, Dawn

  11. Dawn – I love this time of year, always feel a promise of renewal. Your post sort makes me believe you feel that too. Stay warm, write away.

    • Dear Fitzjerrellk – Isn’t that so true about the promise and potential of a new year and all of the possibility it holds. I am grateful to know we share this. Here’s to both of our new year’s of promise!

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