Hibernation

Winter Sleeves

Winter comes in with a deepening chill. The wind blows the rain, sideways and cold, painting everything with droplets of grey. The sunshine is hemmed in on all sides and obligated to shorten its tenure.

Every year I feel it. I'm finding I feel it more deeply than I realized.

Maybe I'm a bear.

I was reading the other day about bears. Common thought says that bears hibernate for the winter, but some scientists argue that their “hibernation” is not as deep or as physiologically altering as other animals who truly hibernate such as ground squirrels, bats, snakes, and other creatures.

Instead, the bear version of hibernation is referred to as “winter sleep” or, more condescendingly, “winter lethargy.”

Now I'm certain I'm a bear.

Winter is not the time when I earn my keep or demonstrate my creative prowess. I am perfectly content spending the winter months holed up in my lair to read, rest, and reflect.

And I've decided to stop beating myself up about it. I am forthright on my belief that the life of an artist must be a disciplined one, one in which the artist must create by sheer will when genius is elusive. My creative life has been changed by that thinking, and that thinking will not change. And yet…discipline must also capitulate with the natural seasons of living.

Every living thing must rest so that it might be revitalized.

With springtime come the buds of green. The air is laced with the fragrance of petals that bloom on the trees and flutter in the breeze. The days inch longer and longer, giving the sunshine a little room to stretch and breathe.

Likewise, each spring I find in myself new life. My inner world is revived and, somehow, sweet. I find wonder and am inspired by the smallest things, and my energy is renewed.

I'm learning that a period of hibernation—a period of outward dormancy and inner renewal—is right and good. Just don't sleep through the spring; it's too beautiful to miss.