The Simple Winter

A recent post over at Soulemama got me thinking about winter and how people deal with it. While I’m fortunate to live in a part of the world where winters are relatively mild, we make up for the higher temperatures with seemingly endless days of grey skies and dreary rain. It can be a difficult time for many people, especially those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

This is the first winter we’ve spent in a house (previously we lived in a small apartment) and I found there was less need to “get the kids outside” in order to preserve parental sanity. Accordingly, I’ve spent many pleasant days indoors with the gas fireplace bringing warmth and cheer to the living area, indulging myself in cooking, knitting, and reading when I can. I’ve posted before about my tendency to view “staying home and doing nothing” as an indication of laziness or lack of motivation. But the following words of wisdom gave me cause to reflect further on the matter:

“In times past, the bare-limbed trees, long nights, and biting chill of winter signified to all that the time had come to slow down. Humanity emulated the animals, retreating into cozy dwellings where they sustained themselves on foods harvested late in autumn and passed the time in peaceful reflection. Today, most people proceed ruddy-cheeked through winter’s frosts, ignoring the profound effects cold weather has on their bodies and their minds. Yet the beauty and significance of wintertime cannot be so easily overlooked. As the temperature plummets, leaving the air crisp and the landscape bare, we tend to crave warmth and relish rich foods. The presence of loved ones seems more comforting when blustery winds rattle window panes and we feel compelled to conserve our energy by engaging in only the most soothing of activities…Many plants, like the tulip and the apple tree, would not blossom in the springtime were it not for the period of dormancy that is the gift of winter’s chill. Their example can inspire us to use this season of slumber to cleanse ourselves of spiritual and emotional detritus like flora shedding lifeless foliage so that we, too, may emerge from under the frost refreshed and renewed when spring arrives.” [originally posted at The Daily Om]

In other words, winter is naturally a time for hibernation. When I read this (sent to me by a friend) I was really struck by the simplicity of the message. It gave me permission to indulge in my desire to slow down, snuggle into my home, create warmth and comfort in my surroundings, and partake in simple, soul-filling activities. This simple change in perspective has turned Winter into a gift, and I believe its message resonates with the philosophy of Living Simply.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. What a beautiful passage.

    I also really like what the Tao Te Ching has to say about the spaces between things:

    “Thirty spokes join in one hub
    In its emptiness, there is the function of a vehicle

    Mix clay to create a container
    In its emptiness, there is the function of a container

    Cut open doors and windows to create a room
    In its emptiness, there is the function of a room

    Therefore, that which exists is used to create benefit
    That which is empty is used to create functionality”

    Our lives do need some spaces in between, for rest and reflection. Winter, and an empty tea cup, are good reminders of this.

    Reply

  2. I really enjoy the staying in, sitting around the fireplace times that winter brings. Hot tea, a good book or some baordgames with the kids while a soup simmers on the – great memories in the making.
    If you have some time, I’ve tagged you for a “Six Random Things” meme.

    Reply

  3. Try crisps with cream cheese spread, it’s to die for 🙂

    Reply

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