A Solstice for Wintering

Here we are coming upon our Winter Solstice, when the stillness of night encloses upon our short-lived days. I must admit I rather like this season. Once I accept the late sunrises and early sunsets—they are dramatically beautiful, after all—I find hunkering in to be warm and peaceful.

Interestingly, history shows us the long winter months are a time of regeneration. What seems to be a forever stretch of dormancy is actually a time of rest and rebuilding. It’s a time of preparation within for the seasons of production yet to come.

Last year about this time, I read the book “Wintering, The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times,” by Katherine May. By winter, she meant not just the cold season, rather own her personal winter, a time when she felt overwhelmed by everyday life. She described wintering as “a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider.”

Given 2020’s COVID year of slowing down and isolating, her book couldn’t have been more timely. It was a great read.

Wintering Still Relevant

It’s now twelves months later and another pandemic year draws to a close. On the surface it seems we were able to break from our isolation and begin living again. But have we really? There’s still so much we need to digest, to come together on, and, yes, to accept. So I revisit May’s book of “Wintering.”

I appreciate May’s advice for the cold months. Embrace them, she says. That’s what I’d like to do, physically, emotionally, spiritually. To cherish the simplicity of life and the things most meaningful to me: my faith, my family, and my passions. To maintain a peace of heart by focusing on positivity and a grassroots level of helping others. To replenish my soul in the beauty of God’s creation—there’s no better prescription for winter doldrums than prayer and a healthy dose of the outdoors, right?

These things I hope to do—I need to, we all need to—in preparation for the seasons yet to come. What are your regenerative goals for this winter?

PS: Need a drink recipe for your Winter Solstice? Wassail is described as “a long (if not forgotten) tradition of celebrating the life that winter can seem determined to snuff out.” Here is a traditional (a bit boozy) recipe and here is a non-alcohol variation.

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