Official wintertime begins on Sunday, just a few days after we start into another period of Level 5 Lockdown here in Ireland. I hope that doesn’t sound like too much doom and gloom to you.
I am a realist, but I do like to try to look on the positive side. This “situation” has played havoc with all of us. It has certainly been a rollercoaster, or a Coronacoaster, as I’ve seen it referred to, and our mental, and at times our physical health has suffered. I know that mine has.
I know that I directly connect a dose of shingles I suffered from earlier in the summer to that constant low-grade stress that has been following me around throughout this. It’s like a constant hum at the back of my mind. I do try not to consume too much media, but I usually watch the news once a day. A few times recently I have even decided not to do that. We must be careful what we consume.
As I look out the window of my office-come-spare-bedroom, I can see a tree in my back garden. Since I’ve started working here (since my husband took over the kitchen table to WFH!), I have seen changes in that tree. I saw spring being sprung, the full foliage of summer and now the beautiful changing colours of autumn. Soon it will be bare, and I will see it in all its starkness. Likewise, the tree at the front of my house that I can see from my bedroom window, as I lie on my bed to meditate.
I always struggled to answer the question “What is your favourite season?” as, truth be told, I love the changing of the seasons and the cyclical nature of nature.
Right now, as the evenings will be darker from next week, I love coming in (or staying in) and closing my blinds and curtains and being “in” for the night, all warm and cosy in my home. I am grateful for that.
I love the frosty bright mornings that winter can bring. I have a touch of the sniffles today and I’m in my woolliest jumper and loving it!
But come 21st December, I rejoice that the days are on the turn again and that spring will soon be here. The snowdrops pushing through the ground, followed by daffodils and crocuses cheer me. Still we can have those crisp mornings that put a spring in my step.
Once again, the time will change and the new cycle will begin with brighter evenings, bringing energy and hope. And the summer, of course, bringing fun and day trips and sometimes holidays, whether staycations or away-cations if we are lucky. And back to the “fall” again and the beautiful russets and golds.
As time changes and another season beckons, we continue to live in changing and challenging times. Who would have thought this time last year that we would have spent most of 2020 dealing with a pandemic?
Can we learn anything from the changing seasons and the time-changes?
We will adapt to the darker evenings by putting our lights on, wearing cosy clothes and staying in. The trees will adapt by shedding their leaves and conserving energy. Hedgehogs will hibernate! And winter will pass, and spring will come around again next year. We have adapted in many ways over this past year: working from home, not seeing our loved ones, not travelling, wearing masks, zooming with colleagues, family and friends, exercising at home, baking and lots of other things.
The world of work is adapting so much as we all realise that we must adapt, do our best and look after ourselves and each other. We have learned much, not least that life is a series of cycles that we must roll with and adapt to.
To quote Seamus Heaney (interestingly, as said in an interview, not a poem) as has been much quoted these past few months:
“If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere.”