Here in the UK, the nights have noticeably become longer and the days much shorter. I have observed many people walking round with their heads down, rushing to get from point A to point B and complaining about how they hate the cold and the darkness.
My neighbour recently commented that she thinks everyone is now suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern - usually more noticeable and severe during the winter months.
For many years I hated winter, apart from the rare times it snowed and I would get a day off school or work. The permanent dull grey sky and endless rainfall was boring, and it saddened me to watch my beautiful flowers and trees wilt and die. The cold winds hurt my ears and fingertips, the damp air ruined any hairstyle I attempted, and I resented constantly having to clean up soggy socks and muddy footprints. If anyone asked me how I was, my automatic response would be “cold”.
I used to believe I suffered from SAD.
Nowadays I enjoy the dark months. Why? Because I finally figured out that I need them.
Mother nature needs to rest, as do we all. Have you ever tried shining bright and blooming every single day? It would be exhausting!
The winter months are a time for winding down. Like the dark moon it is the part of the cycle where we can take a break and relax.
During Autumn, we had the opportunity to harvest the products of all our hard work, both metaphorically and physically. It was a time of fruition and completion. As someone who loves being busy, I used to get frustrated that I couldn’t be out in the garden as much during winter, and I found it harder and harder to find the energy I needed to get out of bed in the mornings to go to work. I missed the glorious sunshine and the warmth of its rays on my skin. I missed watching the butterflies fluttering around my nasturtiums and watching the birds rummaging for worms to feed their chicks. In winter, everything stopped. Apart from the odd Robin bustling about, it had all gone.
I eventually learnt to love winter because I finally realised that it was ok to give myself time to relax. I didn’t need to be busy all the time. Like the birds and the bees in my garden, it is ok, it is natural, and dare I say it ‘normal’ to slow down, stop busying around and start curling up under warm blankets.
Instead of hanging my head, popping up my umbrella and scurrying through a downpour to get from point A to point B, I thank the rain for cleansing me and washing away my troubles. I stand out in high winds, letting the forces blow away the cobwebs of stale thoughts or stagnant ideas. I look forward to taking my first crunchy step outside on a snow day, not just because I get to have a day off work, but because I love how the earth looks, covered in a blanket of snow. It buries the dirt and mess underneath, leaving the landscape looking fresh and pure ahead of its new day.
Winter is the end of the cycle. Without an end there can be no new beginning.
The sun has been disappearing since the summer solstice back in June but it’s only in these last few months of the year that we really begin to notice it. The winter solstice, on Sunday 22 December 2019 in the Northern Hemisphere, is the longest night and the shortest day of the year and the new-born Sun will bring a fresh start, a time of renewal and hope.