Usually I’m philosophical about the below zero temperatures and snow we have every winter in Minnesota. The deep freeze is a time to stay indoors, be less social, and avoid unnecessary errands. Mother Nature pushes me to slow down, maybe be more introspective, read more. It can also be a time of creative planning (gardens, vacations, workouts), organizing or clearing out (closets, photos, files) and tackling household projects I wouldn’t bother with when the weather is nice.

For a little while that feels OK, maybe even good, as if I’m in tune with a natural rhythm, akin to a Circadian rhythm. This is what I’m supposed to be doing now. It feels good to wear wooly socks, make soups and stews, and settle in to watch movies or stream new TV series.

But with the persistent, longer-than-usual spell of extreme cold weather this winter, I feel as if I’ve shifted from slowing down in a pleasant, restorative way to being dormant. On pause. Hiding, like a tulip bulb buried deep in the ground. Waiting for enough time to pass so I can come back to life again. Hunkered down. I’ve been getting restless with so much reading and TV, and I’m trying hard not to register the waiting, which makes it worse.

I’ve lived in Minnesota long enough to know this spell will pass. The temperatures are already moderating. The days are getting longer. The torpor of these frozen days will dim so much that by August I’ll wonder if I imagined the feeling. But I didn’t.


6 thoughts on “Dormant

  1. Take heart, winter will pass. I’m in this mode too…”It can also be a time of creative planning (gardens, vacations, workouts), organizing or clearing out (closets, photos, files) and tackling household projects.” Nice post, with good reminders!

    • Thanks for your comments! I do relish the time to dig in on projects. MLK weekend I avoided bogging down in bizzywork and chores so I could focus on reviewing older writing files — vignettes and notes from 2003-2005.

  2. Sounds familiar, Ellen! I have to break it up with trips out to lunch or dinner, a movie or the greenhouse, which is like a mini-vacation to the tropics. The longer days are making it easier to bear. Hang in there!

  3. Thanks for sharing. I feel like I’ve done the opposite. Trying not to let the extreme cold hold me back by finding places in my hood I can walk to…the bank, the post office, the library…and then venturing out once a day. It helps that i have a goal of getting 10,000 steps a day for a year. Still have close to five months left to go.


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