Some animals hibernate for the winter. They curl into their sleeping places, slow and lazy, and dream of the green months that Nature has hiding in her sleeve. Some animals stay awake – shuddering through arctic storms, living in sparse forests, thin and hopeless. But they live like this because Nature has slipped the tendency into their DNA like an unexpected liquor. And they too hear the future months rattling in her sleeves like dice.
We don’t hibernate. Nor, for the most part, do we spend our waking winter hours in despair. We do what we can to stay warm. We harvest. We cook. We celebrate. We dance.
There is something about the holidays that makes our grasp tighter, our embrace more earnest – to hold onto a joy that is as frail and rare as a flower in the snow, thriving without its mothering stem, or network of roots. The happiness is sudden and unexpected; a splash of color in a blizzard’s landscape. We dare not sleep through the warming season, blind to the lights burning frigidly in the early night. Nor should we ignore the orphaned trees or heavy medieval spices that wait patiently in the annual cook’s cabinet.
We must take the time to encourage bliss to circulate and keep us alive. We must step lively.