A Place in Winter

I have been searching for something to read these past few months.  I am in the middle of listening to The Once and Future King, which I started in August. I love T.H. White‘s humor and endless knowledge of medieval history, magic, and myths.  I don’t want the adventure to end, so I am reading it ever so slowly.  But right now, I need an intimate read.  Since November, I have been telling friends that I feel like I’m entering a deep dark tunnel of winter.  They seem a little alarmed, but I assure them that I am not experiencing a depressive state, that this melancholy is natural.  The outside world is changing, and my interior climate is changing too.  I have an intensive need to slow down and nourish myself.  And just like magic – a book suggestion pops up in my inbox – Wintering by Katherine May.

I have been listening to May’s words carefully for the last two days.  She describes wintering as a completely natural cycle of life.  It is necessary for the animals and flora to winter in colder climes, and people need to prepare too for both internal and external winters.  She weaves together a marvelously insightful story with bits and pieces of personal narrative, science, history, and literature. I am enjoying every word, and I want to slow down to savor them, but I know her words are what I need to get through this winter.  I am experiencing a profound personal loss, and I need May’s words to show me the way through. I sit and listen quietly to her descriptions of whales swimming in the North Atlantic, of the Norwegian’s custom of being “in sauna,” and of her son, Bert’s, delight in Halloween.

As so often is the case, reading brings on writing for me.  I listen to the images of winter and soak them in; I savor them.  I sleep and wake, and my own words come to me. Yesterday, we had our first snow. A falcon stood sentinel outside my window.  I wanted to capture her watchful calm, her powerful way in the face of winter.

If I had only been able to capture her with my camera! Someone captured her cousin.