I was on a bike ride today, listening to an On Being podcast, KATHERINE MAY – HOW ‘WINTERING’ REPLENISHES, referring to her recent book entitled, “The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” (Link below), and I felt inspired to share my thoughts on the idea of “wintering”.

First, a summary of the interview: “In so many stories and fables that shape us, cold and snow, the closing in of the light — these have deep psychological as much as physical reality. This is ‘wintering,’ as the English writer Katherine May illuminates in her beautiful, meditative book of that title — at once a season of the natural world, a respite our bodies require, and a state of mind.”

My thoughts to share: I have a hard time letting go of the green seasons (Spring and Summer). Although I appreciate the beauty of Autumn and cherish the spectacular changing of the season with the bright and sunny leaves, and “Indian summer” warmth that signals the transformation, I grieve. It takes me several weeks to settle into the change as I experience the hibernation of plants, the drying of flowers, and the shedding of leaves. By mid-November, when the brown season has settled in, I’m better, looking forward to snow and wearing cozy sweaters. Still, in my heart, I acknowledge a deep love of the green seasons.

The podcast interview with Katherine May helped me understand going inward, being contemplative, and slowing down during the wintering time of year. And right now in December, we are in a “quiet season” when we let Mother Earth rest. So I’ll rest with her until the Winter Solstice signals a promise of light returning. The days will get one minute longer each day as we cross the bridge of mid-winter. It will still be cold, brown, quiet, and introspective for a few months, and my heart will be sensing that the green seasons are not too far away.

Our life is one of cycles (seasons, rituals, celebrations), writes Katherine May, and we can allow ourselves to be part of the cycles without judgment. Staying present in each moment with equanimity is how we find solace and stability in the cycles of the seasons. In the words of the interview, “the framing of Wintering, of the understanding of the seasonal, cyclical, of the rhythmic nature of these things, gives you a frame actually to live with it.”

What are your thoughts on the change of seasons? Please share.

Katherine May — How ‘Wintering’ Replenishes | The On Being Project


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