Happy New Year! As you may have come to expect by now, my focus is generally on trying to have a great time - whether in the month of December, since we last connected, all winter, and all year long!
Between Winter Solstice, my birthday, and all the general cosy winter holiday vibes (aka lots of sweets and sparkly lights) I had a great month to end an extremely challenging year.
For me, 2022 was filled with injuries, deaths, and many unforeseen other life challenges - and so I look forward to a great new year and I hope the same for you.
This is my self image for 2023 - breaking through to the other side!
One of the most fun things I've done in these past 2 weeks since winter began was finally get to swim in Devil's Den Spring!
I've been wanting to visit this spring for literally 15 years and idk why I hadn't gotten around to it. But I fixed that - it was saved for a special day I guess!
And to add to the specialness, we got to swim on a very cold air temperature day, which was really unique.
Well, Floridan aquifer spring water is 72f year round - warm in winter and cool in summer.
And since Devil's Den spring is basically a cenote, the heat from the water was being trapped in the cave. This made the cave air about 25 degrees warmer than the air outside the cave up on land! (The temp that day was low25/ high45. You do the math!)
You could feel the significant difference as you descended and ascended into the cave. It was spectacular!
The Florida Springs are fed by the Floridan Aquifer which is one of the most productive aquifers in the world. It is estimated that there are over a trillion gallons of water stored in the Floridan Aquifer. Florida is home to the largest concentration of freshwater springs in the world. Amazing.
Contrary to popular belief, not all things in Florida are Disney and hurtful politics. The springs are something that, in my experience, everyone agrees are completely amazing.
Things like the springs, like nature's wonder and beauty, things that we can all agree and come together on, are what we need more of to heal and move forward into 2023. Focusing on coming back together is my goal for 2023.
You can learn more about the amazing Florida Springs from the Florida Springs Institute, floridasprings.org
During the past month's time, I also caught up on a few things that I am super excited to share with you in January & February - and which I hope inspire your winter too!
So Speaking of blue things this winter...
The Blueberry Book Awards:
On of the things I made time for was watching the live webinar hosted by the Natural Start Alliance focusing on shining a spotlight on the Blueberry Awards, a new literary award that honors books about nature.
A book award focusing on children's and YA books that "can change the world" is right up my alley for sure! What a dream it would be to win a Blueberry Award. I would love to make this a life goal of mine, I just have to work up the courage to commit to it!
The admirable Blueberry Award panel shines with brains that really know their stuff when it comes to children's books. This webinar was really fantastic as it covered not only some of the winners of the 2021 award, the first award, but also how and why the choose the books they do.
Check out the Seeds to Sprout section and make the time to watch yourself! And be sure to have some paper nearby to write down titles you'll definitely want to check out!
My top 3 are:
I am Smoke, by Henry Herz,
The Night Walk, by Marie Dorléans
Wonder Walkers, by Micha Archer
(& I'm pretty sure my nephews would pick the book I Eat Poop :)!)
And since I started off talking about water and winter weather....
Mother Nature got really excited about celebrating the season change with prolonged freezing temperatures, even in the deep south.
It wasn't so great for my garden's papaya and banana trees, but it sure was fun to finally be able to actually make ice catchers (from the Wonder Wednesday 29 project) outdoors down here!
This gorgeous one was made by a family friend who is 15.
His ice catcher, with it's classic minimalist look, gave me the idea that this would look amazing cast in resin to hang all year long!
What an idea - to make ice catchers as temporary sketches and then used fused glass or resin to create permanent versions!
Maybe you will take this idea and run with it?
Ice is sublime.
It's full of the contractions that make nature so fascinating.
It is beautiful and dangerous, silent and ear (and limb) shattering, strong and fragile, and so many more anomalies all at once.
I don't like to drive in ice (or like the destruction ice storms can bring), but there are 2 sides to every coin, and the sparkle water and ice bring are the most awe inspiring things I'm thinking of at this moment.
We humans are made of mostly water after all!
Cheers to that sparkle in you, in me, and the spark that happens when we reconnect with each other and our world.
With what, who, and where do you want to reconnect the sparkle in 2023?
Share in the comments below!
Share your ice catchers on Instagram #wingswormsandwonder
Seeds to Sprout
The Blueberry Awards
Watch the replay of the Natural Start hosted webinar with the creators of the Blueberry Awards: Children's Books That Can Change the World - and see the 2021 winner list for yourself!
Learn more about the biggest chunks of ice and be inspired by nature photographer Malin Hanning's icy work!
Wonder Wednesday 29: Ice Catchers
The end of December temperatures were cold enough to create freezing in Florida! So to celebrate groundwater and also very cold temperatures, let's make ice catchers!