Hibernating

  
Now that the budding daffodils are not just by the road side where I can ignore them but are actually happening in my own garden, I can’t ignore any longer that we’re set for an early Spring. Oh but I want to!

NEVER thought I’d say that. 

For all our tussling over the years, Winter and I are finally starting to get along and I did not see that coming. 

This Winter, for the first time, I learnt to appreciate the slowing down. The shorter days and the darkness. The mud. The rain. The cold (when we’ve had it). I stopped fighting it and saw the loveliness. We’ve walked in it, played in it, lit fires and candles and cosied up in it. We’ve watched some awesome pink skies from R’s bedroom at the top of the house. 

With all of that has been a very deep urge to hibernate. Hibernate in the way of keeping days simple, slow and close to home. 

Daily adventure and exploring are always needed for our two nature boys. We head into the woods, across the fields or down to the sea whenever we can. But this Winter I’ve soon been feeling the pull of home after a while of being outside. The flick of the kettle, a hot cup of ginger tea, play and stories while the fire cracks, the making of soups and one-pot meals so familiar that I practically make them with my eyes closed while my head goes on a dream walk. The cosy comfort of hibernating at home as the light fades outside. 

Such a deep pull that hibernation instinct. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt it quite so strongly as this year. 

And yet, while feeling that draw, I’ve had plans and diary dates that have taken me far from the nest. Physically far, but something else as well. Stretching away from home but also from my comfort zone.

I’m not counting the weekend I spent in London with my darling friend at the Ballet. Nothing but pure pleasure that. So nourishing. It lit me up.

But right off the back of that, I’ve just got back from my course in Gloucestershire. A two year course on the place, method and importance of Handwork in Steiner/Waldorf education. Truly, a dream course. This was my fourth weekend so far and the second this Winter and wow did I struggle this time. 

It goes without saying that I’m massively grateful that I’m able to do such a thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. The urge to hibernate with my family was so very strong on Friday that I found it extremely hard to leave. Though, bless them, they were so generous and smiley as they nudged me to go. I’m glad I did. It was amazing as ever. Truly wonderful women, inspiring teachers and lecturers, nourishing work. 

Also? Exhausting. At this time of year it took more than I had. I feel dreadful today. 

So I’m writing this, not to moan, but to say to myself (and to you, if you need this message): give in to the season. There may be early blossom on the trees and bulbs sprouting but your body knows it’s still Winter. Hibernate, slow down, stay close to home. Stretch when you have to, but when you stretch too far and your body tells you about it loudly – listen. 

This week, I will be re-stoking the fires, at home and inside myself, slowly bringing my energy back up. Possibly being a little antisocial. If you see me poking my nose out of the nest and scuttling back inside, you’ll know I’m not quite there yet. 

Here’s to listening to our bodies, warm family-filled nests, husbands who are working from home today (taking the school run off my plate) and tea. I feel a lot of herbal tea happening here.

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