“Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives that they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through. Winter is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximising scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs. Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible.” Katherine May, ‘Wintering’.
I shared this quotation on my Instagram last week and it seemed to resonate with so many of you. Katherine May’s concept of Wintering – that the ‘seasons’ of life involve peaks and troughs – involves shifting our perspective to accept those uncertain or ‘frozen’ times and finding strength and inspiration within them. It spoke to me on a deep level, articulating a liberating surrendering to the seasons – and indeed to life’s uncertainty – and the solace to be found in nature. I embrace all seasons equally, but its no secret that I love Autumn and Winter for many of the reasons May describes, particularly taking our cues from nature and slowing down.
Particularly apt for our current circumstances, this book has been on my to-read list for a long while and reading it couldn’t have come at a better time. May’s prose is both lyrical and thought-provoking and I’m leaning into the power of rest and retreat she explains so eloquently. Winter is about balance and knowing that Spring will come. It’s about appreciating the warmth of the indoors after the cold of outside. About the cathartic and restorative nature of the bleakest times.
In the spirit of Wintering, for the last few weeks I’ve made myself go outside every day. In Scotland we’re in the midst of lockdown number two and homeschooling, but our daily walk is a daily highlight. At weekends, we go further – armed with a flask of tea and cake for fuel – and have been treated to some wonderful cold, crisp, frosty, icy and even snowy days. Reading ‘Wintering’ has confirmed what I already knew even more ardently – that there’s so much beauty to be found in the wild, dark season, as well as the Spring that follows.
To leave you with the words of Katherine May, “Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.”
I’m wearing: Boden coat, bag and boots (previous PR products), Toast cardigan and corduroy trousers (sale bargains), Topshop hat and scarf, vintage basket.