Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Winter Cocoons

My friend, Monika, was telling me about her recent spell of wanting to remain on her couch as much as possible. Though she likes the winter weather, this season she's felt the need to hunker down and stay inside. I've been feeling the same way. It reminded of a story I like to read several times over the winter. It's only one page, written by Nina Zolotow in Rodney Yee's book, Yoga the Poetry of the Body.

Nina writes about her time in Ithaca, New York. Her neighbors had this incredible garden and the summer time lunches they would spread out in their backyard transported her to Tuscany. These lunches would always end with beautiful, fresh black figs from the neighbors' garden. There was a massive fig tree in the middle the neighbors' yard and she couldn't understand how that tree would survive the rough upstate New York winters.

She finally got up the courage to ask her neighbor his secret. It's very simple - after all the leaves have fallen, he severs the roots on one side of the tree, folds the flexible trunk down to the ground into a ditch he digs, and covers it with soil to rest, warm and safe, until Spring arrives. I think of this story all the time during the winter season.

Winter is a time of incubating, of resting and recouping, of letting ourselves get comfortable with peace. It's a cycle. Monika's cocooning really is a natural reaction, one we all should have. We burrow in to reflect on what's happened to us in the more hectic Spring, Summer, and Fall. And we plan - for warmer days, for greeting friends when the sun comes out again, for reintroducing ourselves to the world when our surroundings take on that brilliant green hue again. 

For this next month or so of winter, I want to have that fig tree always in my mind. I want to imagine myself resting and regrouping, healing and soothing my tired soul, mind, and heart, gearing up for the best Spring of my life. 

The photo above can be found at here

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