I’ve been walking daily since Winter Solstice. Forty-one winter walks so far. Here in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle especially, it is known for dark wet winter days, yet not even a quarter of those walks have been in the rain. Each day, be it overcast, partly sunny, fully sunny, drizzling, pouring, or a little of everything, has had its own unique beauty. Especially so near the water as my walks often are, lending the changing moods and colors of the Puget Sound to the beauty of the walks.
These walks have really opened my eyes to many things and as I spend time writing in my journal about them I find myself discovering new ways of seeing and embracing the season that is winter. Last winter I spent a large portion of the time in a very terrible state of situational depression and I was determined that this year would be different, though many of the situations lending to it are still present in my life… being outside everyday has been at the least distracting and more often healing. I can not recommend this practice more.
I find my journal writing waxing poetic, especially on the days that are mild enough for me to plop down under a tree or on the beach, taking it all in in detail and writing it all down right there in the moment.
In my writing today I found I was likening this time of year as the time in yoga practice where you are just beginning to wiggle your toes and fingers at the end of a lovely shavasana, the deep relaxing time at the end of any good yoga practice. The earth in this northern region has been in her own shavasana – not asleep, she never truly sleeps – but resting, gathering her energy to her and now she’s beginning to wiggle her fingers and toes. The energy begins to rise from the earth and find direction. It’s in the swelling of the soft furry magnolia blossoms, the several inches of bulbs bursting forth from the earth,and the witch hazel already blooming joined by the alder trees and soon the daphne and Indian Plum. It’s in all this and more. The Pacific Wrens are testing out portions of their songs, the nettles are peaking up under the fallen leaves and the water birds are getting frisky.
It’s also happening in the people. Gardeners are out in their yards, even under grey skies, weeding and cutting back last years growth, they look up and smile from the inside out as I pass by. The people that get out there, outside, close to the earth show the signs of the season the most. While other still glare out the window at the light drizzle forgetting the beauty of the bright sun from the day before, mumbling how it’s always raining. I wish I could encourage those latter folk to put on their shoes and coats and wander outside and take time to look for the beauty that is there each day, waiting to lift the spirit and redirect the mind and heart to brighter ways of being.
Do you have a winter practice of being outdoors? How is the earth wiggling her fingers and toes where you are?