This is the season when Nature lies dormant—but plans for spring. What can we learn from her?
The season that will not be defined is winter. Many have complaints about this time of year: It is cold, dark, and gloomy. It is harder to drive, energy bills are sky high and we’re all stuck inside.
I know, that is but one side of it but let’s follow it along a bit further. Winter as a place or time of internment is prison–Alcatraz was like that. One of the arguments for internment is to give the person who has acted outside of the law a time to reflect on better ways, to recharge and to prepare to contribute when the internment is over.
Putting it this way, prison doesn’t sound all that bad. Winter is the season of internment. We have the “inter” of internment.
Do we have the benefits? If we choose to allow ourselves to have them, then yes we do.
The other observation one can make is that the word “inter” means “between,” and indeed winter is between autumn and spring. What I really like about this is that autumn is a time of harvest and spring is the time for things to be discovered anew.
While we experience the “inter” of winter, what is it that we can harvest from our lives so far? What is it time to let die? What is it time to plant in anticipation of the spring that seems so far away–like crocuses and tulips? What do I choose to give new life to as my winter winds down? What, therefore, shall I put into my future plans?
Winter, above all else, is a time of rest. The firewood has been cut and piled near the back door for easy loading near the woodstove; the crops are in. This is a time when some things become dormant, but yet rejuvenate at a level we cannot see. And this is good.
Sometimes one can forget that a natural cycle includes rest. This is something Mother Nature has been practicing for years. Maybe She knows something that, with a little more attention, we too could benefit from. If we were to take some time to notice Nature and her wisdom, we might then come to share that wisdom and notice something new, valuable and helpful for our lives.
Have you come across the concept of a fractal? The idea is that the form of the small is identical to the form of the large. Look at an evergreen tree. Every small branch end is a certain familiar shape or form. Notice further that the entire branch has this shape and that then at a larger scale the whole tree is of the same form. That replication throughout is the fractal form. Fractals are common in Nature. If we notice Nature and her many fractals, we begin to gain her wisdom for ourselves.
Winter is part of a cycle in Nature. It enables rest, renewal and preparation for a vigorous spring, an abundant summer and an overflowing harvest in autumn. Without winter the whole thing, all of Nature, breaks down. Winter is a gift, a time to notice the wisdom of the past year and to take that wisdom into the following year. In which part of your cycle are you missing out on Nature’s wisdom of the fractal form?
My wish is to add these observations and suggestions to the positive side of the ledger when you assess winter. In addition to all the good things you can list about winter, add that it is a time of confinement, it is part of a large fractal form–and these are good.
More Inspiration: You might enjoy this article on how to eat local in winter, even in Canada!
Author: Joe Seiler is a writer and personal development coach. He occasionally writes for OptiMYz magazine print and digital versions.