Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Time to Rest

Like many of my BBEST teammates, I am finding it difficult to rouse my blogging creativity in the deep, dark center of winter.  It's cold and I would prefer to snuggle in my cozy flannels while sipping tea and reading a good book. So, in keeping with the theme of rest and hibernation, I will resort to offering something I wrote a few years ago and stored away in place of something freshly written. I hope you enjoy it. Now back to my tea and jammies!



The air is getting chilly and the birds are winging their way south on their seasonal journeys. I have been feeling the need to retreat from the busy world, to begin my own process of hibernation just at a time when the rest of American culture is resuming its busyness, plunging headlong into hectic school and work schedules. There is something amiss in our cycle. The natural world is winding down and we humans are gearing up. Fruits and vegetables ripen and are harvested, and their vines die away, becoming part of next spring’s humus. Chipmunks and bears prepare for prolonged sleep; birds take flight. The days become cooler and shorter, and the trees stop feeding their leaves, going out in a blaze of colorful glory. Yet we have forsaken that natural rhythm and have chosen to flip the seasonal pancake in a reverse scenario: We rest when the balance of the earth is producing and growing, and toil when nature is asleep. How did we become so seasonally nocturnal?



It wasn’t this way for thousands of years while we were consciously dependent on the land and our fellow animals for survival. Farmers knew that they would have a limited growing season and they had better stock up for a long winter’s dormancy. Our ancestors knew that when the sunlight lessened, it was time for lessening their activity levels, giving their bodies time for rest and revival. However, when we started to rely on ourselves and our technologies more than we relied on nature, we began to see ourselves as self-sufficient and independent of changes in the seasons. We could control the cycles and make them fit into the schedules we created for ourselves. Perhaps we purposely switched the order as if to demonstrate our command over nature. It is becoming more obvious that this is a false feeling of security, and we had better examine our choices more closely in the near future. Now that we are out of step, it will become very difficult to rejoin the natural march once too much time has passed and we are far behind the rest of the pack on its migrant journey.



I am choosing to buck the trend by slipping into wintry slumber with the rest of my fellow earth-mates. I’ll line my nest with layers of soft, fuzzy fleece blankets and sweaters, and gird my larder with extra tea and hot chocolate and copious amounts comfort food. I will join the birds in their migration and I will fly away from the strenuous regimen of classes and holiday activities, concentrating instead on making small home improvements that will make my den suitable and comfortable for those long, snowy days inside. I will feed my hearth and celebrate the declining daylight by opening my thoughts to the inner light of my heart’s fire.





My choice is to retreat – but not a retreat in the usual sense of giving up. Rather, this is a retreat back into step with the rest of the natural flow of life. It is a retreat that is defined as a period of retirement, of silence and solitude, a time of withdrawal to a refuge for contemplation and renewal. My hibernation will hopefully allow me to better adapt to changes in my physical and mental environment in order that I may survive the harsh times ahead. Perhaps this state of rest will preserve my mental faculties as well, as I keep my brain cells insulated from the overstimulation of the hustle and bustle of schedules and obligatory seasonal commitments.



Most of all, by staying in step with nature and out of step with the rest of our culture’s frenetic pace, I hope to let go of my false sense of control over the cosmos and over nature, releasing that feeling of always fighting with my true self. I am, after all, like all the other animals and plants that exist in this place, tied by billions of ancient cells to the primal call of earthly rhythms. We block our ears with electronic white noise, and keep our minds and bodies constantly moving with busywork. Yet in the crisp stillness of a deep azure winter’s night, in the brilliant quiet of a crystalline snowfall, in the mysterious shadow of sparkling icicles as they drape past our windows, a small, whispering voice can be heard calling us to sleep, to sleep deeply and dream of our spring reawakening.




© 2006 Olivia Herbert. All rights reserved.

12 comments:

Myfanwy said...

Well illustrated, Liv. Glad you 'stored this one up'!

circleinthesand said...

ahhhhh, I feel more relaxed already, just by reading this wonderful article!! thank you!!

Beth said...

Wonderful feature....yes totally relaxed now....thanks Liv.

barneyp510 said...

You lowered my BP several points! AHHHH. Beautiful post.

Barb

ZudaGay said...

Lovely post, Liv, thank you for writing it! I would love to snuggle in and hibernate for a month or so. :)

Julie G. said...

Well done! Beautifully expressed in word and art.

MagdaleneJewels said...

Liv, that was so beautiful. I followed you all along the way through the dark of winter and the slumber of hibernation. What beautiful choices to compliment your narrative.

Beth Anderson said...

I love the pictures - what talent! I think this was one of my favorie posts.

Judi B said...

Wonderful post, Liv! You gave a beautiful narrative to the lovely works of art!

Tessa said...

Lovely, thank you.

Chauncey said...

sweet post, Liv.

blazingneedles said...

How relaxing!