I am wintering. I am remembering how to be in winter. Right now I have positioned myself on my couch with my laptop. I have a quilt that my mother in law made wrapped around the lower half of my body. My feet are up and I am gazing out the window at a world of white. We have been experiencing fascinating frost lately. These large crystals of snowy fuzz embellish all of the trees branches. It's almost like they all got dressed up in sleek, sparkling finery to adorn their svelte shapes. This wonder of winter has me slowing down to appreciate the scene more. Everything is still. Quiet. I feel the pulsations of the energy within me even though my body is still. This is the representation of winter. Winter -- as I experience it in the northern hemisphere -- is frigid, icy, snowy, and barren. There is nothing outside that represents growth, but beneath it all there are pulsations, the energy that continues to beat, to vibrate -- even in hibernation.
In January of 2022 I made a concerted effort to make nice with January. For all of my years, as far as I can remember, January was something that made me cringe and recoil. I saw it coming toward me as early as November. It was looming right there past December. Past the holidays and all the jubilation that surrounds that. January waits patiently, unavoidable, and for most of my life -- I felt that it was also unforgiving. I was annoyed at its patience and slowness. I was frustrated that my speed of doing felt like muck. I felt stuck, stagnant and unmoved by what it had to offer.
My efforts in January of 2022 really revealed a different side of January that I had not been willing to see before and am now embracing in January 2023. I'm reveling in this wintering and how it can actually be enjoyed. As long as it is above zero, I am willing to go outside with the appropriate level of bundling -- all skin covered with multiple layers. I walk, snow shoe, or cross country ski. There is something different about heating yourself up in the cold of winter that feels life giving and refreshing. I also don't spend a lot of time outside -- just enough. I know myself well enough to know that I can push myself to extremes, hit the boundary and then think "shit, I should have turned back awhile ago". January has taught me to turn back far sooner because conserving my energy is a vital part of winter. Just enough is a beautiful balance that I am thoroughly adopting.
A lovely part of being outside is the transition back indoors. Once inside brewing a cup of hot tea or a mug of hot chocolate is the sweet layer of winter I truly enjoy. The aroma and the taste -- an awakening of the senses to what January offers is something I have come to appreciate. I also welcome this process of not pushing things forward right now. Resting more and taking a slower approach to life is a complimentary way to be with winter rather than opposing it.
January is a long month of 31 days. You know what else? We gain daylight throughout January that actually speeds up by the middle of the month. Currently we (here in Moorhead, MN) are experiencing 1.35 minutes of daylight increase each day. By the middle of January it is over 2 minutes of added daylight. By January 31st, it will be quite notable at an almost 3 minutes of increase each day!
Wintering also means preparedness. All fall long the animals scurry about preparing for the cold and desolate days ahead of winter. Fortunately, as humans we have continued access to grocery stores and shopping to make our needs met without needing to prepare too much ahead of time in order to survive. Yet - there are things that we do need to do like making sure everyone in the family has the appropriate winter gear, clothing, and an awareness of what to do when you find yourself in a circumstance that you had not planned for or intended. This all seems to be a part of living here where the cold can be downright dangerous and we drive our vehicles on sheets of ice and snow for months at a time. Having a new driver in our home has certainly made me nervous this winter and I'm having the opportunity to see the terrain from a fresh set of eyes that doesn't have the familiarity of how to adjust to the demands of a winter landscape. I must say she is doing well though and each day I feel less tension and more trust as she sets out to embark on her own learning of what it means to be in winter.
As a chandelier I also like to bring forth the aromas that encapsulate the feelings of winter -- crisp, fresh, and restful that can be found in peppermint, eucalyptus, frosted juniper and clean cotton. During my yoga practice I like sage and lavender.
There are many ways to be with winter and I personally have felt it best to look to nature to connect to the elements of nature in myself. Looking out my window and learning from what I see, getting outside to be in it, and to reflect on what my own energy feels like during this season are all ways of honoring and being with this time of hibernation. We are cyclical beings and aren't meant to always be doing the same things to the same degree or level of intensity. I think it is a relief really. I can be present and experience the true nature of myself in this season with ease by allowing myself to be a part of what winter has to show me.