Wintering is a time of waiting. Waiting to see what survives; what will thrive from what’s been left behind. Wintering is a time for discovering the beauty that exists in the quiet, in what remains.
I think much of my teenage years and early adult years were spent in a period of waiting. Working and studying, and waiting for the time when I could do what I really wanted to do. And, it doesn’t always feel like much has changed.
The older I get though, the more I seem to question things, question myself, and question my choices. And instead of taking action, I wait to see how things will play out. I’m not quite sure that’s such a good thing. I fear that all my wintering will strip me of who I am, and I’ll lose sight of what I really want.
I wait for relationships to heal, for a phone call to end the silence that has stretched between my brother and I for over ten years. I wait for my sister and I to regain the closeness we shared as little girls who called each other “Best Friends.”
I wait to feel pleasure again in my career. Teaching used to be fun and exhausting, exhilarating and demanding. And I loved it. I don’t anymore. I can’t teach grammar, long division, and California history in the midst of chaos caused by thirty-plus children who need lessons in respect and compassion, manners and tolerance.
Sometimes my life feels like a test. How much can I handle and how well can I handle it? The answer remains to be seen, and sometimes I feel more up for the challenge than others.
The pink flowering blooms are blown off a tree on a neighbor’s front yard, but the strong trunk remains. That tree is grounded, it’s got a solid foundation, and I know I do too. I’ve got to wait it out. Take stock of what it is I can change, what I can’t change and will accept as is, and what I can no longer tolerate.
Winter can be a time of great desolation, sadness, and loneliness. And that’s okay.
But, there’s a flip side. Wintering is also a time of renewal; a chance to hibernate and recharge. A chance for me to take stock of my life, to inventory of what I want to keep, what I want to change, and what I need to let go.
Things I waited for haven’t turned out the way I thought they would. Teaching was supposed to be the career I’d retire from. Now, I worry how I’ll make it to June. My siblings were supposed to be my constant source of comfort not pain.
In the quiet of this wintering stage, I can pause and reflect on the many blessings that do fill my life (a ten-year-plus friendship with a former co-worker), the happy surprises (discovering my favorite local-vacation spot along California’s central coast), the evolution of my life (I’m a mother).
And, life will go on. Seasons will change. Bits of me will too.