How often I hear that Winter is death, is desolation. And in a way that is true–rest is a pulling back and a shrinking of all our energy. But it is giving, too. In winter WE can be the main attraction, the excitement, the energy. We aren’t competing with the rest of nature, the distractions are asleep. The bareness and sparseness can be scary because they are so revelatory. Our loneliness, our humanity, our weakness are all obvious, winter does not give us depression but reveals that which was already there. It also gives us the time to mourn, to feel, to listen, to simmer our own bones in themystical crockpot of our heart.
Maybe it is within that desolation when we can best hear the voices of our own ancestors and our own inner self-where we can best see the beauty of the earth just as it is–radically unadorned.The movements of light and sound through cold thin air, unencumbered by leaf and plant, unslowed by humidity or insects. I see a long, long way off into the wispy distance. I hear an owl hoot miles away, the lone crack of an axe from down the hill. I almost hear the snow fall…
Because the beauty of the earth is not just flowers and greenery. It is not just perfect days and starry nights. The grey, the clouds, the snow contain an equal beauty and importance. Much is bare and spare, reduced to a raw form, a skeleton, a structure completely unadorned. All is a meditation, all is distilled and clarified, broken down to the pieces and all bullshit frozen out, all clamor stilled. Nothing is juicy or robust now and I slide down hills, I struggle back up and struggle has meaning for me. Difficulty has meaning and energy. It brings me a sense of accomplishment.Much that has been obscured is now revealed to me within the context of this struggle.
I see a lack of support in our culture for weathering discomfort with dignity and pride, for understanding patterns and seasons, rythyms and cycles. We are still expected to produce the same amount of units, to dress the same and act the same and be on time. We are expected to keep up on our suntans and ignore our melancholy, our recovery and introspection and our wintry shadow sides. But I look to the philosphizing, the simmering, the clarity and the longing as healing and as a balance to the outwardness and overstimulation of summer.
I’ll be taking my bitter rooty tonics, delving into mythology and scribbling in my notebook, loving on some lichens and meandering through the snowy woods, searching for the voices that I can’t or won;t hear amidst the sheer green joys of all other seasons, bundled up in my wooly wonders and hooting back at all who dare to venture out.