Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wintertime blues

As I watched the blizzard Nemo roll over the Northeast and bury it, I was grateful, once again, to live in the south. The winter in Tennessee is about as much as I can handle. We’ve had only one snow this winter, which accumulated about an eighth of an inch and melted away by 2pm; enough to enjoy the prettiness, not enough to cause the community to struggle.

Winter is a sluggish time for me. I do not enjoy the cold. A sun lover, I feel oppressed by the many dreary, overcast days, the shortened daylight hours, and the chill damp. For years I resisted my low energy during these months and criticized myself for my lowered productivity, creativity, and dulled spirits. The refrain in my head went like this: “what is wrong with me?”; “where is my motivation?”; “I am so lazy!” As a substitute for productivity, I spent time in self-flagellation.

A few weeks ago my friend Frank said to me, “you are just a very seasonal person.” And I thought, “He’s right!” So instead of resisting my winter doldrums, I’ve decided to roll with them. I’d like to borrow the wisdom of the trees, the animals, the earth itself, which quiets in winter. It doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. It is just a quieter, softer activity the earth enjoys in winter, rejuvenation for the natural order of things. And I found myself in that peaceful place of acceptance of what is.

My natural cycle is to slow in winter. Spring brings new energy and creativity. By summer I am trying new activities or launching a new project. Autumn naturally brings a time to clean out. You’ll find me rummaging in closets and giving things away. And then I’m shutting down again.

Winter months are for reading and knitting. I find it very important, on sunny winter days here in Nashville, to get out for a walk, to feel the sun on my face, and to take in the fresh air. My lower energy, this year, is meeting acceptance from me as the natural order of things. And already, just barely into February, I’m feeling some stirrings of creativity and movement. Last week I saw the sun a little more. And was greeted one morning by little purple crocuses waving to me from my friend Kathy’s khaki colored front lawn. My heart stirred with joy. Spring can’t be far off now.

For those of you who wrestle with the winter aversion blues, you might try embracing them instead of pushing them away. Take naps. Cozy on the sofa with a blanket and book. Spring is around the corner and energy will return. Choose with me a kinder, gentler winter.