Yesterday—during the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere—I was still by the fireplace, overflowing with gratitude for the warmth and shelter in this sustained “winter,” for solitude, for health. I listened to the wind cut through the windows causing eerie whistling and deep-bellied growls. I watched the pines dance to the wind’s heavy-metal song. Then I went outside for a short run only to come back to the warmth of the fire after 30 minutes.
Creation does not know of our calendar year, our comfort-zones, our illnesses, or our fears. She continues to dance through her seasons of fertility, harvest, and stillness, taking only what she needs and giving all she can. She is a gift from God. We can see her teachings if we slow down.
When the surface of our land looks so still and fragile, nature keeps everything alive in her depths. And since you and I are part of it all, we contain this wisdom too. We just have to look a little more closely—under the surface.
Nature uses the season of winter to rest from the productivity of spring, summer, and autumn. We all know this but rarely practice it. In my lifetime we haven’t ever had to cease producing and consuming. We haven’t had to rest. There’s new growth and ideas and goods always sprouting up. We’ve been encouraged to keep up, keep going, do more. Our soil is overwhelmed and our roots have become entangled. Now, we are discouraged from even going out to non-essential spaces: a brutal halt from the over-activity we’re so accustomed to.
There’s so much to learn from this unprecedented stillness. Perhaps, we need this mandatory winter to restore our health, our energy, and our purpose. When our lives reunite again, what will you remember from this season: Death’s cold sting, or the fire you still chose to ignite? I hope you recall the warmth of our flames.
Whether you choose to go outside for fresh air or stay cozy indoors, allow the stillness to soak in. Question what is essential. Listen, observe, and act according to what you notice beneath the surface of all that is happening right now. What we choose to prepare in this inner-winter can set our lives, our communities, and our world up for a fruitful spring to come.