Finding quiet winter joys

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So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. ~ TS Eliot

I’m loving the longer and longer days as January slides into February and the weeks click off on the calendar toward spring.

This winter, for a change — since we’re not off on the road somewhere — I’m enjoying close-to-home events…and hibernating. Well, my intention is to not go anywhere or do anything more than necessary. Things come up, but I’m not trying to create more things. I need, as I recently saw a quote from author Anne Lamott, to unplug.

snowprint 2016
Snowy footprint charms a winter walk

“Almost everything will work again,” she says, “if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

I need not just moments, though, but extended unplugging and hibernating time. I’m in need of time to quietly relish the little joys that winter can bring. So I’m appreciating being around hearth and home in these weeks after the holiday season of 2015.

For one thing, I definitely need this self of mine to work again. And that means avoiding my personal groundhog movie — where the year starts out and I reach Groundhog Day stuck in the same groove. This winter, I’m really trying to stop: To rest more, to listen more, to be more observant.

When you turn the calendar to January, you think of new beginnings — having a clean slate upon which to doodle out the coming year. In Michigan, you usually find yourself in a landscape refreshed with new-fallen snow, which often magically transforms the mind’s landscape, as well.

If you choose, you can take advantage of the natural inclination to hibernate, to slow down the rhythm…allowing or making time for pause, for reflection, for more health-restoring sleep, for a little more snuggling under the covers, and for more time to dream

A Mutt’s Comics cartoon of January 25 reminded me of the power of flannel to sooth our way through winter. As they run across the yard through the snow, the little terrier, Earl asks his kitty pal, Mooch, “Why do you think we’ll be able to hibernate THIS year?”

Racing together indoors up the stairs, Mooch says, “Because this time I have a secret weapon!” As the third frame shows hem cozily tucked into bed, Mooch says, “Flannel sheets.”

In wintertime, it’s enticing to spend a little more time reading the comics, deliberately diddling with the newspaper daily crossword. As you settle in with a hot cup of cocoa or tea, even this cup of nourishment becomes a winter joy. While warming the heart, you can imagine steeping a creative vision for the weeks and months ahead.

Holding the cup in your hands, watching the steam rise becomes a meditative moment… a joy of winter. In quiet contemplation, you can catch a glimpse of the big picture. Looking back over the last year and ahead through the next, you can ponder your purpose…and decide. This year, will you take the road less traveled, or not?

Sometimes, when you know a transformation is taking place in your life, you know, too, that you need to go within. We sense that, If we can tap into this quiet season, we can begin a restorative process, a renewal of our hopes and dreams. Perhaps something entirely new will show up.

One of my favorite winter joys is spending more time, just being me. When I’m really being me, I enjoy relaxing into the slow turning of the light as it illumines each day a little bit more. As the days grow lighter, it’s natural to feel the energy rising along with the earlier dawning. The path ahead becomes brighter.

When I purposely slow down my steps, when I hibernate into the silence of the soft side of winter — on days between storms — I love to walk the peaceful, snowy landscape. In the cold mid-winter, nature’s backyard joys abound. I love watching the winter birds poking among the seeds at the feeder, doves darting, squirrels scampering.

Little inspirations are here and everywhere. The smallest thing can attract my attention: a rosette of pine needles, an acorn cap encrusted in snow on my path. Walking and observing these simple wonders energizes me to tune in to my indoor projects.

I appreciate the slow time…which I sometimes don’t have…to catch up on correspondence in the days between Christmas and Valentine’s Day and on to spring’s Eastertime. I appreciate the slow time…to sit with my cat on my lap.

After a hustle-bustle year, it’s been reassuring to have these quiet, calm weeks of winter.
After all, there’s much left to explore in The Land That Time Forgot — my affectionate name for all the undone things in my household. There are projects to finish, new ones to begin, and new phases for others. I relish this time.

I relish this season, when even listening in the darkness on a January full moon night can inspire…loudly. Two owls — whoooo must have been very large — serenaded me with their deep and, of course, wise hooting dialog, drawing me outside to scan the moonlit landscape. I did not see them, but I will remember. I’ll remember their haunting music and magic.

“What is beautiful is a joy for all seasons.” said Oscar Wilde. What is beautiful this winter is the scintillating slant of sunlight in morning and evening and backyard dancing owls in the stillness of a snowy moonlit night.

About Susan Parcheta 99 Articles
Susan G Parcheta dreamed of being an inspirational writer, even as heading off after college to a teaching job. While teaching was not her passion, words were -- writing many years for Livingston newspapers, especially in the areas of education, health and wellness. The dream continues: to inspire creative, healthy living and to explore new concepts of body, mind, spirit. Her signature theme “All Things Beautiful” invites you to embrace the beauty and imagine the possibilities that life has to offer. She lives in Gregory with her husband, Jerry, and their fluffy, pointy-eared -- and always lovable -- cat, Spock.