I never really knew what winter was growing up. Southern California living will do that to you. Of course, I wasn’t complaining about the incessant 70-degrees and over days.
But, once I went to school in New Mexico and then New York, I realized truly that there was a beauty in seeing the seasons change so overtly. I grew to like these obvious transformations.
This love of seasons is harder to appreciate when frigid wind is slapping you across the face so hard you have to turn around for respite in the middle of Manhattan, but still.
Maybe it’s my often impatient nature or my SoCal formation, but sometimes I really, really want to hurry past winter. And I don’t just mean the chilly days and ice on my windshields; these blatant weather related aspects of winter.
Like you, I have goals, projects, dreams. The slowness and introspection of winter scares me honestly. I’ve been having trouble lately embracing the rhythm of winter.
I ‘ve frustrated by how much I long for naps, heavy foods, a slower human pace. I would lie in bed wide awake and not tired but with no desire to keep it moving.
I’ve been constantly stressing about “all that I wasn’t getting done”. I berated myself for being lazy and a Procrastinator while ignoring all the shit I actually was able to complete.
Emotionally, the raw spaces winter brings to the surface has been difficult to deal with.
Winter, as a season, is often paired with the “feminine” qualities of darkness, water, contemplation, and diving within deeply. In these quiet, cold days I have been able to fully see all my hurt places. It has not been pleasant or fun. This isn’t the awakening Spring or the let-it-all-go Fall. There is no hurrying past them.
I think I’d be a hell of a lot more productive if I actually worked with the rhythms of winter instead of against them. This doesn’t mean throwing a middle finger to all of my responsibilities and drinking hot chocolate all day everyday. It means honoring the pace of this season, slowing the fuck down, and giving myself grace in the moment. It means more journaling, a less crammed calendar (ha!), and being unashamed about how much I am listening to The Smiths. (Heaven, knows I’m miserable now…)
It probably also means more naps.
In winter, we layer up. The days get darker earlier. Sometimes we gain a little weight. We often long to be indoors. We walk in more protective stances, necks in, hands stuffed in pockets, heads down.
In winter it can feel like NOTHING is growing. A glance around shows bare trees, the spotty grass, the silent snow that covers the green.
I’ve been warring against this darkness and slowness in myself, the lack of obvious growth.
It’s a fucking waste of my life so…
I think it’s time for me to respect winter.
Winter is a great reminder that life is cyclical. That we are cyclical and that goes for our emotions, creative capabilities, and loves. We are never the same. This is not a state of emergency; it is a universal truth to be listened to.
Can I be okay with my own changing nature?
I hope so.
I need to remind myself that the roots of all plants, though we nary see evidence of this, grow deepest in the winter.
Here’s to growing deep and valuing this time of year,
For more on respecting winter’s rhythms, check out this post by Lauren Sheenhan.