Recently, we’ve felt inspired to embrace the concept of “wintering", which the writer Katherine May explores in her generous memoir, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times.
In Wintering, Katherine examines periods of retreat and rest in human life, and in nature, as cyclical, seasonal phases that we return to again and again— “Everybody winters at one time or another; some winter over and over again.”. She shares her experience of winters, times of hardship or forced rest and retreat, and times when mind, body or life circumstances sent her to winter.
In her book, she writes, “We like to imagine that it’s possible for life to be one eternal summer, and that we have uniquely failed to achieve that for ourselves. We dream of an equatorial habitat, forever close to the sun; an endless, unvarying high season. But life’s not like that.”
“In our relentlessly busy contemporary world, we are forever trying to defer the onset of winter”, and, “plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives that they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through.”
Wintering, she concludes, is an inevitable and necessary part of life, and one that, when embraced, can be an opportunity for renewal and transformation.
As we move through the remaining few weeks of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, why not take a moment to consider the comfort and pleasure that we can take from a sense of rest and retreat during this season?
You can listen to Katherine May talk about how wintering replenishes us in this wonderful episode of the On Being Podcast.