By Jazzmin Ballou, Solano Gardens Program Manager
Every winter I find myself overwhelmed with the need for rest. This comes regardless of how busy I have been, how much sleep I have, or what my calendar looks like for the next week. It shows up as an inherent, unignorable need to slow down and retreat. When I process this in the context of the human world, I feel kind of crazy. Everyone else is continuing on as normal, working and attending social gatherings … and some people are doing even more of those things considering the holidays are upon us! It all seems so surreal to me: the way the human world never seems to slow down, often appearing to just move faster and faster. And then I look to nature. Nature, with her ability to tune in directly to her needs and move at a pace that serves all of her inhabitants. When did we lose touch with this process?
In the winter when I tune in to the pace of nature I find myself face-to-face with myself in all of my slowness. The fog soon clears and I realize my body as a member of nature is asking to move at the pace that the rest of the natural world is moving at. This need for rest is not necessarily because my body is tired from my life, but because my body is taking the hints from the natural world that this time of the year, winter, is intended for slowing down, hibernation, and stasis. I’m reminded of a quote from the book Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May, who writes “In winter, I want concepts to chew over in a pool of lamplight — slow, spiritual reading, a reinforcement of the soul. Winter is a time for libraries, the muffled quiet of bookstacks and the scent of old pages and dust. In winter, I can spend hours in silent pursuit of a half-understood concept or a detail of history. There is nowhere else to be, after all.”
As we enter into the holiday season, a time that for so many of us signals travel to see loved ones, time off of work and school, and cozy time spent indoors, I wish you rest. Rest that is so sacred and full of ease, it mimics the process of the leaves surrendering to the wind, carrying them from their host tree to be composted back into the Earth. Rest that is so intentional it allows space for your own internal composting process, preparing you for the rebirth of spring.