Growing up in a tropical island, I had no idea that the term ‘wintering’ even existed, not until my friend Judd used it during our Burning Wheel game once winter arrived to the Forgotten Realms and my character needed to pick a place to spend those cold months. You mean he’ll just spend the next three months in one place, not out adventuring in the world? Inconceivable!
For most of my life winter has been just a name a few months of the year are called, a label applied to a season that was for others but not for me in sunny Puerto Rico or Miami. Then I moved to the Midwest, and experienced real winter, snowy winter, icy winter, your-car-encased-in-ice-and-you-can’t-open-the-doors winter. Suddenly wintering made sense. Yes, in modern times we have the ability to plow through the three-feet-high snow banks, to de-ice the roads and windshields, to stay warm inside our cars as we drive down the Interstate, but these are also conveniences that can be taken away at any moment, leaving you exposed to the full effects of winter.
For so many years of my life, winter has been a non-issue, the cooler weather, if anything, being a boon to normally hot and humid Florida. People still play outside, farmers’ markets still go up every weekend, life doesn’t stop. After my handful of winters in the Midwest, however, I have come to realize the benefits of wintering, of having nature force you to slow down, to stay inside, to pause. Life continues, of course, and not everyone gets the benefits of a snow day (as nurses, we still gotta show up), but whether it is for safety reasons, or because as the song goes, the weather outside is frightful but the fire’s so delightful, winter forces you to take an extra moment, to be intentional, to reflect.
This has been on my mind at a time when, ironically, plans are coming together in my life at breakneck speed. While I am needed elsewhere, the blog will go into a season of wintering, at least for the month of January, maybe for part of February, too. Essays are still being worked on for the Winter issue of Rhymes With Seen behind the scenes, and the zine is still planned for publication in February. All other projects will be on hold until life settles.
Enjoy your season of wintering.