Is dormancy such a bad thing?
Maybe we're able to see ourselves as part of nature; maybe we're able to respect this time.
I heard from my friend and teacher, Christopher Titmuss, that this is the first year since 1966 that he’s spent a full winter in the UK! For me, tiny by comparison, this is my first full winter here since 2012 and there are things that I've actually really enjoyed; the morning darkness, the snow on the mountain tops near where I live, the sense of hibernating inside where it's warm and cosy. I'd forgotten however about January! I'd forgotten that when we’re in January, we're in the deepest, darkest part of winter. I'd forgotten that stillness and inwardness are not just needed but wanted. I'd forgotten that the body and mind need a time of stillness before the blossoming of spring. I'd forgotten that this is a necessary and important time of year.
Reflecting on this mid-winter inwardness, I realised that spring flowering bulbs get planted in autumn, not in spring! We purposefully plant them out to live through the winter months because, like so much in nature, bulbs need winter and periods of dormancy. Instead of energy moving upwards to grow new leaves and fruits, this is the time to send energy downwards, growing and nourishing the roots that will take them through the spring and summer months. There isn't the obvious external vibrancy, but there is a quiet vibrancy happening deep underground, resting and preparing.
Because I'd forgotten so much about the significance of January, I kind of felt a bit lazy. On occasions, I found myself not only questioning, but also talking down to myself for being less energetic or motivated. But lesson learned for next year; cycles, and needs during those cycles, must be honoured with respect and care. Nature doesn't beat itself up for being insular at this time of year, so neither must we. Maybe we're able see ourselves as part of nature; maybe our roots have been growing; maybe we’ve been storing energy so we’re stronger through the next coming season; maybe our deep winter rest has created conditions for later flourishing; maybe turning inwards supports our turning outwards; maybe we can respect this time.
And let's also not forget our Southern Hemisphere friends reading this. I'm sure they appreciate our willingness to winter so they can dance through their summer sun!