I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
Jack London – To Build A Fire
I was in Kashmir when I first got surrounded by snow. It was white everywhere. Powdery white snow was still coming down in Gulmarg. I remember being frozen to the bones, waiting for the room service to get the fire in our room going. My first tryst with snow, and I felt disoriented. Hours passed. Fire began to crackle. Room got warmer. Kahwa was served. I still remember the feel of the massive blanket I wrapped around myself, and stepped closer to the window, looking out.
Nature had decided to wipe off its writing and had left behind a white canvas. It was hauntingly beautiful and intimidating at the same time. It made me think of an old story I had read in my school book – To Build A Fire. Jack London wrote about an unnamed man who chooses to hike the formidable Yukon trail alone, with his dog, and loses his life.
I stood at the window, looking out at the weather that could easily kill, and yet could not take my eyes off it. It was ghostly, and ethereal, and held the same promise as a blank page. I was watching the Winter Wonderland for the first time. And I fell in love. Wide expanses of white, with silver streaks running through the edges, no sign of the sun, sky full of infinite, looming grays, woody skeletons of trees cloaked in snow. I wanted to run out, make a snowman, and catch a flake on my tongue. But I just stood there, and the day melted away into dark patch on the window.
This December has been a long, weary one for the family. We lost a young member. Before that, injury and illness brought in a reality check. I needed a magical escape. It’s not always possible to find one. So I created my own. I made a small Winter Wonderland. It’s amazing how therapeutic these tablescapes have become for me. Thinking of a concept, getting everything together, and watching my vision come alive just makes me forget about everything else. And even if for a really short while, I was back at that window, not able to sense the passage of time, looking at life turn over a page.
Setting Up The Winter Wonderland
I covered the table in a fur rug, reminiscent of the blanket wrapped around me, on that first day of snow. For the place setting, I used a simple, classic white and silver combination for the crockery – along with a single stem glass, and matching silver and white mug for the inevitable hot chocolate. Crystal snowflakes got turned into coasters for the stem glasses. Most of the colour came from a broad Christmas ribbon that I used as a rustic runner for the white table. Just that simple. Two beautiful, regal antlers, perched on white platforms, some gold baubles, tiny pine cones, and some clay stars turned my table into a winter wonderland.
DIY Winter Wonderland Trees
But something was missing! I made a few, quick DIY trees, using nothing but some doilies and wooden skewers. An acrylic icicle held a handmade “Merry Christmas” note. A juicy pear, adorned with a white wool tassel and a silver flower added a bit of whimsy. Star shaped lights brought in the warmth that I had felt next to the fireplace in Kashmir.
Just the setting up of this table lifted off a huge cloud that was hovering above me this past month. I guess white does have some healing powers. I am doing a bonus setup, exclusively for my Facebook page, using the same basic setup, but a more fun, cute place setting. Also, to make up for the missing table, I will be doing two tables each week, for the next couple of weeks.
Going back to the dark story about a clueless man and snow, as Jack London wrote in the story – Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes playing a poor hand well.