Today’s a cold one. Literally, ONE as in 1 degree Fahrenheit. I shouldn’t have been surprised to find tiny star-like designs frosting the windows when I woke up this morning. The daily news podcast that I listen to religiously has harped on this record-breaking winter storm affecting most of the United States for the last few days. Mom called saying the grocery store had run out of eggs for our Christmas Eve breakfast. But nonetheless, I thought everyone was being a bit dramatic. After waking up, I went straight to the back door hoping none of the hens would be out of their coop yet. Naturally, all four of them had indeed already begun the day, and were huddled together under the giant hemlock tree. After bundling up (or what I thought was bundled up), I opened the back door and my breath was immediately taken away. Looking down at my phone, it read one degree Fahrenheit. From my recollection (which could totally be flawed), I don’t remember seeing that temperature in years, or maybe even ever. I think this moment is when I recognized that no one was being dramatic about the below-freezing temps I had heard about for the past week.
As I relocated the coop’s heat lamp to a more efficient spot, I realized that I wouldn’t be needing to leave the house today in the name of safety. The chicken’s water was frozen solid, so no way the roads weren’t at least slightly affected. Refilling the watered and feeder, I concluded that many other folks on the mountain will probably hunker down as well, if at all possible.This understanding was like a breath of fresh, cold, exhilarating air to my soul. Today, I had legitimate permission to stay put. I could sip hot tea beside a floating candle and type this blog entry, and no one would expect me to do otherwise.
I’ve been aware of the need to pattern my time and energy around cycles of the natural seasons for a few years now. During my time of burnout, I had delved into the research about menstrual cycle parallels to spring, summer, fall and winter. I studied how the natural rhythms of humans mimic those of animals during each seasonal phase of nature. It seems so obvious that we should rest along with the animals and plants during winter, but as Katherine May explains in her book Wintering, slowing down is such an unfashionable thing to do in western cultures. But lucky for me, I’m a bit of a rebel when it comes to societal expectations that don’t sit right with my soul.
When I felt the cool air on my face this morning and the sense of rest that it brought along with it, I felt so relieved. This year has been an amazing one. I traded my public school classroom for a 6’x10’ art studio, four laying hens, a garden, and a car rider pickup line with pup in tow. I was a part of four art show/gallery exhibitions, met some amazing fellow artists, and expanded my products and services. It has been fun, but it’s time for rest. Instead of stressing about a new art series I keep trying to force out of my brain, I will choose rest. When I’m tempted to detour from my art style to a more “interesting” or trendy one, I’ll turn inward and reflect. When my phone notifications are lit up like the 4th of July after work hours or on weekends, I will honor myself instead of guilt answering.
From the winter solstice two days ago until the heat of summer moistens our brow, each passing day gradually becomes longer and lighter. That first warm day of spring will come, along with the energy to bloom, emerge from a burrow, or tackle a new and challenging project. But until then, I’ll be wintering.
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Art business owner journaling about my artistic adventures.