Wintering Over

To “winter over” has always sounded encouraging to me.  It may be a matter of full-on hibernation …

or merely that human sleep of cold weather that lingers through the darkness, drives us to seek out heavy, fat, rich foods in ancestral echo of our animal heritage, and longs to do nothing more strenuous than curl up and dream.  There is animal “faith,” if you want to call it that, built into our bones and blood: the world will not turn away from us while we sleep, and we shall wake again to life.

The dormouse in the picture has it about right:  sleep with food half your size (hazelnuts, in this case), wake up, snack, pee, then back to sleep again.  Drowsing comes much more easily now, especially after daylight savings time has shifted our days and brought evening creeping into the afternoons.  With that extra jolt of possible light (this IS November, after all), mornings may be brighter and better, if you’re a morning person, but let 5:00 or 5:30 pm roll around and it feels like late evening already.  Then today, with snowfall along the east coast as the winter storm makes its way along the same path Sandy took a short time ago, and you have hibernation mode with a vengeance.

May New York and New Jersey find their hazelnuts, their winter store of energy and life.  A prayer to the South, where the people are cold in the dark, and my living breath upon it.  A prayer to the west, where the frozen time has come, and my living breath upon it.  A prayer to the north, warmer than many places closer to the equator: my living breath upon it.  A prayer to the east, with winds cold and damp: my living breath upon it.   Let all that breathes move its prayer with each inhalation and exhalation.

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Image: dormouse.

Updated 8 Nov ’12

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