for those troubled by winter

To my friends who find themselves permeated by the chill and gloom of impending winter…

… as though the cold had found a way into your skin like drafts around the window. Sadness… not even sadness… just gray that settles in around your thoughts, so heavy as to have to be dragged out with you from under the covers...

.. you are not ill. You are not broken. I dare say you are connected to spirit of the season, whose tendency is to submerge, to sink into the roots and await the call of the sun.

To separate from the activity of life on the surface and disappear. But not really disappear.

Simply to rest, and conserve, and meditate, and ponder, and be still.

Stillness. This is the energy of winter. And depth. Water is the element of winter. Water seeks the lowest level it can reach. And bones are the structure of winter. Like the bare trees, our bones hold life and secrets… but only very deep inside.

Your sadness may be because of this little yearly death, this parting of ways of the tribe, your cells remembering what it was like to go into the darkness, with the fragile hope that you had enough provision to see you through to the other side, to again reunite with your loved ones.

Or, it may be because you can find no rest in a world that does not honor natural cycles. No time to pause. No time to go within. No time to replenish the well.

So, I leave it up to you. Choose to stay close to your own hearth. Sleep in when you desire. Meet your needs in the simplest way. Tend your inner fire by keeping your belly, your back and your neck warm. Make soup. Sprinkle it with salt (not too much) - salt draws your heat inward to your bones. Eat greens too… chives and scallions, and things that have encapsulated sunshine and spring, and upward moving energy to lift your spirits.

Dream, and draw and write, and dream more. Conserve your energy. Trust that doing all this nothing is doing something. Would the trees be accused of doing nothing? The seeds under the ground? If it were not for their dormancy they could never spring to life with all their brilliance and vibrancy.

On clear days, go outside and turn your face to the sun. Soak it in. Breathe in the cold air - and feel it on your skin. Winter has its beauty, too. Finding beauty in everything is also warming.

And when you feel sad and dreary and gray, turn your face to that, too. Soak it in. Go deep. Discover the spring welling up in the heart of the cave. Light candles and say prayers.

This, too, shall pass.