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Posts from the ‘Winter’ Category

In the Wintering

“Snow creates that quality of awe in the face of a power greater than ours. It epitomises the aesthetic notion of the sublime, in which greatness and beauty couple to overcome you—a small, frail human—entirely.”― Katherine May, Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times

“Wintering brings about some of the most profound and insightful moments of our human experience, and wisdom resides in those who have wintered.”― Katherine May, Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times

In the quiet of winter.
In the waiting and wandering.
In due time which is not our time but God’s time and timing.
We schedule our lives, cling to our expectations, project managing for optimal efficiency and productivity.
Counting, measuring, completing, comparing.
Life is more an essay than a math problem to be solved.
Things work out, often not how we have planned for, yet they still do.
In the “no’s” “not now’s” “what ifs” “whys” “why nots” and reasons not yet revealed, “what next” is unraveling.
Growth unseen but still happening.
Slow thaw.
In the wintering, spring resides preparing to unfold.

“Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.”― Katherine May, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

The Journey to Spring

“Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil.” – Bishop Reginald Heber

“Never yet was a springtime, when the buds forgot to bloom.” – Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Snow still on the ground.
More to come.
Temperatures on a rollercoaster.
45 and sunny.
10 with windchill.
The seasonal dance as we move closer to Spring, but not quite there.
Birds begin to sing and awaken.
Light lingers longer.
Ice to water back to ice.
Brown grass peeks out of patches where melt has occurred.
Close but not next.
The prelude to the beginning of spring.
Anticipation, preparation and waiting.
Desert time.
The eve of Lent, 40 days.
A container, a well, a room, a place, a space.
Reckoning. Resolve. Reflection. Inflection.
The journey to spring, to resurrection begins with ashes.
Where we come from and where we return.
The in between is the gift we get and give.
Travel well, in companionship, never alone.
The middle ground, the path, the journey to spring is here.
Patiently, take the full trip, into depth, quiet and beauty.
Bloom ahead.

“Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.” – St. Francis de Sales

Reside and Dwell

“To dwell is to garden.” – Martin Heidegger

“I dwell in possibility.” – Emily Dickinson

In the rushing, where are you going?
What are you running from and to?
What are you missing now front and center?
Reside and dwell.

Someday, if, when.
False destinations that steal our today.
If blessings available now are unseen, when, how, where will you recognize them?
Enough and overflowing.
In the mess, in difficulty, in scarcity, goodness, abundance and depth reside as well.
Discernment, clarity, awakening in inquiry, observation and listening.
Reside and dwell.

The gift of winter.
Quite, harsh, softness, beauty, peace, wrestling, restoration, preparation, patience, dormancy to unbind, unravel, unfold, cocoon, hibernate, set root.
The precursor to new, to breaking soil, to bud, to bloom, to spring.
Reside and dwell.

Seasons, cycles and circles.
Lessons, letting go, taking hold, tipping points, transformation.
Beginnings, middles and ends. To begin again.
Reside and dwell.

“Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers; powers that would astonish him, that he never dreamed of possessing; forces that would revolutionize his life if aroused and put into action.” – Orison Swett Marden

Solstice Inflection

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” — Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

“The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. Faith also means reaching deeply within, for the sense one was born with, the sense, for example, to go for a walk.”― Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year as the journey begins to spring through the woods, valleys and mountains of winter. An inflection point, a turning, a beginning and ending residing together. Light always returns.

Here’s to beginnings, endings, more beginnings, more endings and the caulk and cracks of ordinary simple beautiful days that hold them all together. There’s meaning in all of it. Trust it when it doesn’t make sense allowing hope to be the thread that allows us grace to not understand and to continue on with joy as a backdrop and faith as a verb. Read your life so you can keep writing your life anew weaving the sentences, paragraphs and acts together. Finding the themes, the patterns, the connections, the dead branches that need to be pruned for new growth to unfold.

Flow in and with the rhythm of seasons with the unfolding, unmaking, unwinding that prepares for the renewal, repurposing and making new. Unfolding, unfurling, flowing.

“Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.” Lao Tzu

Winter Wonder and Wander

“Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.”― Katherine May, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

“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 they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through. Wintering is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximizing scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs. Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible.

Find the rhythm of winter and dance rather than box it.
Ease follows resistance.
Clarity comes with quiet acceptance.
Entering new space, the process of transformation becomes apparent.
The season of preparing, adapting, slowing, reflecting, replenishing.
Caterpillar work.
Renewal and metamorphosis.
Butterfly training.
May you embrace the gift of wintering.
The precipice for spring.
Do the unfashionable things.
Enter the crucible.

“It’s a time for reflection and recuperation, for slow replenishment, for putting your house in order. Doing these deeply unfashionable things — slowing down, letting your spare time expand, getting enough sleep, resting — is a radical act now, but it’s essential.” – Katherine May, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

Full interview with Katherine May on the On Being podcast.

First Coat

“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.” – John Burroughs

“The beauty of any first time is that it leads to a thousand others…”― Pico Iyer

Our first snow.
Brightens the ground.
Reflecting and refracting light.
A blanket tucking in the earth for winter dormancy.
Preparing the seeds for spring breaking, bud and bloom.
Seasons remind us that all lasts lead to new firsts.
Circular, cyclical, evolving.
We have been in a very long season of lasts.
Lingering in suspension.
We will have many firsts again.
Transformation, growth, fruition.
Lean into this season of quiet repose and reflection.
Listen with intent and attention.
What is there to learn, to unlearn, to forget?
Inquire, be curious, willing to accept answers other than your own.
Richness and complexity.
Connections and pattern.
Clarity in the quiet, in the questioning and in the answers sure to come.
Firsts. Lasts. And everything in between.

“Die to everything of yesterday so that your mind is always fresh, always young, innocent, full of vigor and passion.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

First Frost

“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” – T. S. Eliot

“When everything is moving and shifting, the only way to counteract chaos is stillness. When things feel extraordinary, strive for ordinary. When the surface is wavy, dive deeper for quieter waters.” – Kristin Armstrong

First frost, winter’s prelude;
The season that invites stillness, rest, dormancy and preparation;
Frost, melt, frost, melt, frost, frozen;
Stillness sticks, anchors and holds;
Ebb and flow;
Yin and Yang;
Seek the beauty, balance and rhythm in each season;
The divine in each day;
The power within;
In stillness, quiet and slowness, reflect, sparkle and partake.

“You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think.” – John Burroughs

And So It Returns

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” – John Ruskin

“We were not sent into this world to do anything into which we cannot put our hearts.” ― John Ruskin

Over the past week, we’ve been enjoying 40-degree temperature days after two weeks of continuous -20 degree days. The paths at Como Lake were packed yesterday, people wearing shorts, lots of runners and walkers. We get out several times a week year-round and the paths during winter are wide-open, plenty of room to roam. As soon as a nice day hits, there are “traffic jams,” smiling crowds as attitudes shift from “winter angst” to “spring delight.” The weather has that much control over our outlook.

The only way to not only survive winter but to thrive in it is to get out right into the middle of it, finding and making joy in all seasons of life. Forgoing four months for winter or a year for a pandemic? I don’t get it and I don’t want to.

Life is happening regardless of weather, our circumstances and even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. It is certainly not our choice and it has been an unpredictable, uncertain, unprecedented year without a doubt. But we don’t get time back, so we need to treat it with the respect it deserves, honor it, make the best of each day.

Blessings and burdens coexist, always have and always will. Each day offers gifts even in and perhaps especially during difficult seasons if we choose to look, be open and accept them. For me, deep gratitude, joy and awareness of how, why, what, where and who I spend my time with has been the blessing this year.

We are placed where we need to be whether we understand it or not. In difficult times, in our winters, it is hard to understand. We are called deeper to meaning and purpose. Go beyond dismissing, mourning and lamenting to enter praise, gratitude and joy.

It’s February about to fall into March. It would be foolish to think that this swath of spring would remain, but winter is on its way out. Seasons come and go. Time has not stopped so follow suit and keep going.

Now, time to get out for some snowshoeing.

“It is written on the arched sky; it looks out from every star. It is the poetry of Nature; it is that which uplifts the spirit within us.” – John Ruskin

To Live Again

“The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.” – Jean Giraudoux

“Music comes from an icicle as it melts, to live again as spring water.” – Henry Williamson

Spring is in the air, if only but for a moment. After two weeks of way below zero temperatures, we are getting two days of 40 degrees, a glimpse of the next season, a sneak preview in February. The slow melt of snow to water, ice to puddles, skating rinks returning to lakes. While the cold air of winter lingers, the sun and longer days take center stage to remind us of the certainty of seasons.

Glimpses, beams and threads are woven into the fabric of each day to pull us through winters, delays and desert time. Gifts of hope, inviting and guiding us beneath the surface of the obvious, beyond the oblivious and rush of mere activity into the deep waters of gratitude, grace and awe.

Examine, observe and absorb the sheer beauty in the petals of a flower, revealing complexity and simplicity in creation, in a single moment.

Winter is sure to return to finish its job, offering its final gifts of quiet preparation and dormancy to prepare for the emergence and awakening of spring bud and bloom. Open the gifts of each season, make each day holy with open arms and a grateful heart.

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.” – Bernard Williams

Steep

“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back and appreciate our surroundings.” – Letitia Baldrige

It’s going to break into the teens today and 20s this weekend. After two weeks of below zero temps, 20s will be balmy. Dog parking, snowshoeing and running will commence today with a deeper gratitude and appreciation for the outdoors.

The past year of a pandemic, weeks of below zero and weather extremes across the country have steeped us like teabags in hot water. It’s been long enough, the tea leaves have dissipated in the water, there’s no flavor left, pull us out already. The tea is dark and strong.

Our timing and God’s timing are rarely in sync, and God is always on time. While steeped and stuck in the hot water, in the desert and winters of life, rather than longing to be pulled out already, perhaps the answer lies in us listening quietly, observing with rapt attention and opening up our being to receive the cues, clues and signs that we are surrounded with in this present moment.

We have had a combination bootcamp/master class this year in self-awareness and gratitude, the first ingredients to empathy and transformation – the ability to go outside ourselves and see our connectedness to others, awakening to our shared path and grateful for what already is present. Rather than pass hard and fast on the left in a rush to what’s next and new, we can move alongside each other and continue our journey together on our journey to return home to authentic self and becoming.

The only way to the other side is right through the middle. Not around or about but through. We fritter away a lot of time looking for shortcuts and loopholes rather than do the root work of seed germination that’s required to break ground, unfold into bud and burst into beautiful bloom.

Do not forgo this time. Go deep until the tea bag has expended all the flavor into the water. Steep and when it’s time, savor.

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