I don’t mean in the “Wow, I’m really feeling that yard snow shoveling from yesterday,” or the “shouldn’t have had that extra glass of wine” sort of way. For me, it’s this time of year. It’s just so darn dark outside when my alarm clock goes off. I think, “Oh no, it’s not 6 already, is it?” And then I hit the snooze button – maybe more than once.
And it’s not just the mornings. I find myself going to bed earlier and earlier. This past summer I would come home from work at 5 only to spend three or more hours in the yard and on our house. With the sun setting at 8 or later, I had an incredible amount of energy and desire to get things done. Now when I arrive home, it’s already completely dark. I have just enough energy to eat dinner, binge watch something on Netflix, and wonder, “Does it mean I’m officially old if I get ready for bed before 9?”
I know I’m not the only one who feels zapped of energy or finds themselves longing for an early spring, and a warm, bright summer. And yet I’ve also come to appreciate winter for what it is: a time for rest and rejuvenation; a time when the body does want to sleep in and go to bed early; a time for being quiet and reflective.
I have a renewed appreciation for the four seasons we enjoy in New England. After spending four years living in the Carolinas, I’ll admit I enjoyed getting to go for a run in 65 degree weather on New Year’s Day. That was really nice. And yet everything was always the same. It was either really hot, or just warm, or maybe a bit chilly – but never cold. Now, back in Massachusetts, I have really come to enjoy the great diversity and interest of our changing seasons. Crisp autumn afternoons gave way to bitter cold winter nights. But soon the buds will appear and the days will lengthen, and the warmth and life of summer will set in again.
As a person of faith, I’ve come to see the season of winter as a gift God has given us – the gift of not being able to continue at the pace we’ve set for ourselves. It’s rare that I meet anyone in our communities who isn’t incredibly busy. Demands at work, at home, with church or other organizations take our time and our energy. We’re busy, we’re overwhelmed, we’re tired. What a gift that our bodies know we need to sleep longer. What a joy that the yard work will have to wait a few more months. What a blessing that the number of activities declines, and we have more opportunities to stay in, and spend time with family; to read a good book or simply do nothing at all.
I hope that in this New Year, during these dark and cold nights, you find time for rest. There will be plenty to do come spring – there is no need to rush it.
Published in the The Wilbraham-Hampden Times, January 2017.