My tires crunch over icy mounds of dirty white snow as I turn left into my neighborhood. Piles of the crunchy stuff give way to a flat shiny surface. A half-mile of ice and snow stretches out before me. Perched on either side are homes nestled into swaths of mostly untouched lawns that glisten like sheets of white silk in the reflection of the security lights clinging to the edges of roofs.
It’s been one week of a true winter here in north Texas. It usually comes in mid-February. It leaves us with a chilly blast. The kids get a few days out of school. And essential staff scramble to get to work safely in unprepared cars driven by unprepared drivers.
It doesn’t always happen like this but it’s nice when it does. Winter doesn’t quite feel like winter without at least one day of white fluffy flakes drifting to the ground and settling in for the night. The seasons in Texas favor the warmer, hotter days of summer with a mild, manageable winter opposite. But, always, despite the conditions, the light of the day reveals the truth of each season.
I’m grateful for this deep freeze. It’s given my body the pause it craved from this season. I’d already been feeling the inertia of winter throughout January, but when the weather is warm and the sun shines my body gets confused. Do I stay in to hibernate or do I get up and about? I couldn’t quite make up my mind. This week I hibernated, as best I could.
And next week, I’ll welcome in the tendrils of spring as they creep in quicker here in Texas than elsewhere in the country. While we welcome 60 degree days, I know the north will continue to sit in piles of snow. Each region weathers the seasons in its own rhythm and way. It leaves me questioning how my relationship with the seasons would be different if I lived up north.
Living in Texas I have a deep love affair with spring. Spring in Texas brings delicious baby green leaves, perfect temperatures, and no mosquitos. It stretches on from March through May until waves of unending heat begin to penetrate in June. Summer, as I’ve found, isn’t as deeply loved as I once imagined for reasons explored in previous writings. Would I feel this way about summer if I lived in a more temperate climate?
We each carry our own relationship to the seasons influenced by climatic regions, cultural traditions, light variances based on latitude, awareness of the seasonal rhythms, body and personality types, psychological/physiological sensitivity, and any underlying relationship with nature on the whole. Have you stopped lately to consider how you relate to the seasons? Or, more specifically, how are you relating to winter?
What gifts does winter bring you? How do you feel about cold weather, darker days, and more time spent indoors? How does this season affect your relationship with your body, heart, and mind? Do you feel slower? Are you energized by the cold? Does the darkness heavily impact your mood? Do you relish in the quiet or yearn for the activity of summer?
We are each so different. I would never expect everyone to feel the same. In fact, I’ve known some people whose response to winter mimics my response to summer. It’s counterintuitive and boggles my mind but it calls us each to honor our differences. There will be elements we uniquely love and elements we uniquely resist.
I find that the better I understand my unique relationship with winter the better I can take care of myself. The more I can lean into what’s called for in each season. Each season asks for something different from each one of us. How well can we listen to these natural rhythms and how willing are we to surrender to their requests? This is my practice.
Will you practice with me?