The Japanese art of tsutsumi or gift wrapping is both inspiring and incredibly beautiful. Typically large cloths are intricately folded to create simple, yet elegant packages. But inspiration needn't take the form of replication. To translate this time honoured art into every day gift giving, simply replace the delicate shibori with a vintage pillowcase and the fine pleating with some slightly more crude tucks and folds held tight with a torn fabric bow.
Sometimes the contents of the parcel in their muted tones and subtle patterns are best left as is. The gift of a beautiful printed tea towel or tiny hand knitted garments needs nothing more than a piece of jute twine and a wisp of nature to adorn it. Why conceal the loveliness beneath swathes of paper?
And the jumble of op shop baskets often yield delicate treasures, rattan or wicker and filled with home made biscuits in a large glass jar (also second hand). Or some jam and a loaf of artisan bread tucked into a woven vessel would be received with pleasure and gratitude.
Gift giving on a simple scale is a great joy of life. And when it's packaging impacts gently on the earth , the pleasure is heightened. Presents with much heart and little burden.
She watches the clouds from a shady spot on the grass,
We decorate the front doors and windows with snowflakes,
Ruby red strawberries are being picked in abundance,
Woollen projects are dotted about the house,
Good coffee and pastries are being savoured in the Winter sun,
Little pots of homemade yoghurt are filling the fridge to bolster tummies against seasonal maladies,
Grand tree shells become homes forforest sprites,
Earthen cups are filled and refilled with tea.
This time of year in all its tea drinking, blanket wrapping ways nudges us inside for longer periods of the day. King Winter blows windows closed and air, although infused with sandalwood, spice and warming soups, can become stale. Moods can sour too. So on crisp mornings we pack a thermos of something warming and nourishing to drink, don thick socks, knitted woollens and gumboots and head out into the wild.
Under a canopy or the clearest blue we set out. Open and sun dappled walking tracks lure us and without the burden of Summer's humidity we walk further and discover new little woodland nooks to fossick about it. Limbs move quickly and sporadically in response to the cold; we exhale hot breaths into the cold air. But it isn't long before the gentle exertion warms our bones, turns our cheeks pink and we start to explore.
Nature's palette is subtly altered and wildlife is quieter and more elusive now. Our eyes become sharper as the minutiae about is less vivid; we have to search harder. But it's there. High up in silver leaved gum trees the flying foxes are napping, their calling less squabbly and raucous at this time of year. Male brush turkeys never cease their incessant mound building and the tiny black specks of native bees buzz in and out of a giant, ochre hued tallow wood tree. She finds a crumbled piece of abandoned termite mound and claims it as a treasure. He is content with a stick and a speckled leaf.
On these days we step away from all that is structured and organised and wind our way through tangled, growing places. There is no right or wrong way of being just instinctive exploration and natural fascination. We fill our lungs with clear air and blow away Winter's cobwebs. We walk into the wild.