I have always loved the side of winter that is surrounded by the glow of a thousand Christmas lights, but come Jan that glow is gone and winter feels like trampled snow, cold dirty and never ending. That is why when I came across the book “Wintering : The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” by Katherine May I was thrilled at the idea of someone trying to relate to winter in a different way. We used the concept of embracing the dark cold times in your life and re-contextualizing these moments to inspire us to live intentionally during every season of our life as the framework for the first three months of the year.
Many animals and plants use the winter time to rest and rejuvenate in order to come back in the spring ready to take on another year. We can do the same. This time of year can become one of preparation where we learn how to live joyfully and carry that throughout the rest of our year. The goal of the balance project for the first three months this year is to focus on “wintering”, embracing the difficult times for what they are, a change to grow and adapt and become stronger. Each month will have a theme that ties into the Wintering concept:
Restore-January Hibernate- February Prepare-March
2020 has been a challenge; (understatement of the year) and it may seem difficult to frame this new year in terms of joy but even small steps towards relating to a season you usually find to be long and dark is a step in the right direction.
No matter where you are, Autumn can be such a fun time for traditions. One we always do in the New England area, is apple picking. This may seem crazy to some, to pay an inflated price to pick your own apples, but it is such a fun Fall activity, and we do it every year. With activities looking very different due to COVID, our bucket list for the season changed a bit. Less parties (unless virtual), no Harvard football game, and trick or treating on Beacon Hill is out. BUT there are still so many fun and cozy traditions to be made! Here’s our pandemic friendly Fall bucket list:
S’mores by the fireplace
Make pumpkin spice golden milk
Take a nature walk to see Fall leaves
Cozy up for a read-a-thon day
Take family photos
Visit a corn maze
Make a gratitude tree
Go thrifting for a few new cozy Autumn pieces for wardrobe or home (online or in-person where safe)
Bake butternut squash bread
Go for a scenic drive
Apple picking with cider donuts
Have a food prep day and stock freezer with chile, soups and breads
Mail a care package to a loved one
Have a candlelit dinner
Collect leaves, pinecones, and acorns and make a fall craft
I have the very good fortune of having a sister who is in a culinary arts program. Any time she needs us to try something for her I am first in line! She also likes to throw dinner parties a few times a year. This year’s Spring dinner was epic!
Nothing brings people together more than good food and my family and I really take advantage of this time. I remember when I was little, dinner time was sacred; no books (the equivalent to iphones now) allowed at the table-everyone needed to be present and engaged. I am so grateful that my parents instilled this in us so that now when we have the chance to get together and enjoy a good meal we take it.
The art of sitting down to a meal together and really taking the time to visit is still alive and well in many cultures, countries, and families. If this is not something that is a familiar look in your house take some time to figure out how to make it work-it is worth it!