Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

“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 summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphisis 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.”

Isn’t that lovely? And true.

The pandemic made many (most?) of us go into a forced Winter. We couldn’t pretend things were okay. We couldn’t just do what we’ve always done. We had to stop, consider, listen, and adapt. And in that we were practicing the art of wintering as May defines it.

May writes about dealing with depression, loss, and just the retreat from sunny warm days in a way that makes it relatable for those of us who have experienced it before. This book is a permission slip to let yourself get out a blanket, some whisky, and sit with the dark season. I’ll gladly read it again before winter if I need the reminder.

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