Hibernate verb
1: to pass the winter in a torpid or resting state
2: to be or become inactive or dormant


The moment spring weather arrives, I am out the door with a sweater, eager to suck in the fresh air and find what weeds have bloomed tiny, bright flowers that match my excitement for the change in weather. Summer has me outdoors all the same with hiking trails to discover, water to swim in, and fruit still warm from the sun to be eaten. Autumn is similar, but with greater pause. The sun is up for shorter spans of time and I am growing tired and eager to rest. We begin to, little by little as the days grow shorter. We find ourselves indoors making hearty meals, but we also still are energized by the celebration of holidays. Tradition abounds, calling forth pumpkins then family recipes and turkey stock, followed by brief stints outdoors to select the most perfect evergreen that will bring nature indoors for the month of December. By the new year, my body expects more activities and is confused when there are none, and after a week, it is happy to remain inside.

January and February have always been the months I dread the most. The dimmest months with no holiday cheer, no twinkling lights, but still the cold temperatures and dim days. With motherhood, I realized I couldn’t quite hole myself away under layers of blankets as I waited for those months to pass, and I had to try and look to the first two months of the year with a different perspective.

And so I made a plan.

New Year resolutions never stuck with me. I needed small goals, tiny ones I could take in sips and accomplish one at a time. First, I would try to do more art. Then I would take my vitamins. All from the comfort of my home which I had not spent so much time in since moving into the residence. With the cold temperatures outside and ice hanging off the gorge walls where many hiking trails ran, trails were closed. It seemed the world and weather had the clear idea that hibernating was the best way to pass winter but being indoors caused me to reconsider our home.

A year prior, we had begun to burn beeswax candles that were given to us yearly as Christmas gifts but as each candle finished, we were left with a stump of wax that was thrown away. Now with the new year, it seemed fitting to consider a new activity: candle making. So the stumps of beeswax we had from old candles began to be collected. Our glass jars, emptied from eating the last of the summer pickles and jams, were carefully cleaned and I began a sourdough starter.

We have also looked to our budget, unhappy with our spending habits, and felt what better time to work diligently to save money and pay off debts than in the winter months? No outdoor activities are beckon us until maple sugar season, and we have enough here for endless entertainment no matter the weather, so charts were created and numbers tossed about, bills paid, and hopefully all for the better.

So many winters that have passed have felt like such a burden. But with life so short, it felt unfair to not attempt to change my viewpoint of winter months. To celebrate the season and find joy in it in one way or another. We have spent much of January resting and regaining energy for the busy summer that is sure to arrive before we are ready, but these little projects at home, these small goals, have kept each day fresh and exciting. In a way, it makes me excited to see what else winter will bring as we hibernate.

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