from 2.1.23 newsletter
The final stretch of winter is upon us here in Ohio. Snow barely dusts the grass outside my bedroom window, accompanied by the sounds of the slow drip of melting ice from somewhere overhead.
The melt reminds me of warmth and the coming spring. Reminds me that grass has been alive whether we could see it beneath blankets of ice crystals or not.
This evening marks the beginning of the festival of Imbolc. While this particular festival is not part of my tradition, I know many a witchy folk who look forward to this celebration of light and the coming of spring. Indeed, we find ourselves at the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The Ohio days only grow longer, brighter, and warmer from here.
Yet even a dream of spring (damn you, GRRM) must be balanced with the knowledge that many more days of bitter cold and snow stand between us and the first blooms.
We are still in deep winter.
For me, that means I must still draw on the warmth of my loved ones to sustain me until I can bask in the sun once again.
I revel in cocktail nights curled on a couch with long unseen friends, adventurous hikes through muddy woods, and shared meals in cozy spaces.
Each winter, I am often reminded of the words of my high school anthropology teacher. She said that sharing a meal together is one of the easiest and strongest practices in kinship bonding (blood and chosen) most of us participate in. I am not sure for how many of you this might be true, but it certainly resonates with my idea of care, affection, and reciprocity.
I take the preparation and sharing of a meal with loved ones as seriously as one might care for the stained glass windows of a church or the flowers blooming near sacred tombstones. For me, it is a process and gathering to be honored and held close. Those invited to share a meal at my table (okay, I don’t technically own a table), or any table we decide on, are folks woven into my chosen family somehow. Invited to traverse deeper, to navigate the hard and soft lessons of RELATIONSHIP. Whether it be platonic or romantic.
A dear friend of mine even suggested to me some time ago that we are soulmates. She then doubled back to say “platonic” soulmates. Then she laughed and said “well, actually I think platonic friendships can also be romantic on some level.”
I adore her musings and am excited by the tricky dance of navigating the actual definitions of these terms while also understanding the nuanced examination of the ways in which we love others. We love our friends, our families, and of course, our lovers on occasion. We recognize that “love” looks different in each context and are averse to muddying up those definitions because they seem to serve us so well.
But platonic soulmate, as a concept, feels just absurd enough to convince me it’s a real thing. The care that goes into speaking with a friend every day, setting up special times to talk, celebrate, or simply be in the presence of one another - it certainly feels romantic, like the planning of many dates.
When can I see you again?
A phrase with the ability to stir butterflies. The prospect of sharing more time with someone we love grows our excitement whether that someone is a romantic partner or a platonic friend. Do we really know, in our bones, the difference between platonic and romantic all the time?
And what about our ability to truly, romantically love many people simultaneously?
With Valentine’s Day and the consumer “love season” approaching rapidly, I am thinking a lot about romance, ownership, and polyamory.
Polyamory as a navigation of multiple aspects of the self searching outward for connection. Feeling for other hands in the muck and creating a web of belonging with each other, however briefly.
A practice in digging into our ideas of love and ownership over our companions and deciding that conquering and control is not the same as commitment and desire.
How does ownership and the need to control others play into our relationships? The ways we would like our partners, friends, and family to behave?
Reciprocity and expectation matter, but what if we can both soften and refine our approach to how we move in our friendships, romances, and family bonds? Soften and refine until it flows like water.
Or…flows like soup. Steaming and shared across from one another in front of a snowy window. Open ears, open hearts, and warm bellies.
As we journey through the last leg of winter, take your final moments of retreat, reflection, and connection in these dark months. Slow and quiet before we burst forth in the spring and explore other ways of being. Break bread and explore belonging with the people you care about.
I think perhaps it can be as simple and mystical as that.