Hibernation

January is finished and I wonder, does that mean I will be coming out of hibernation?  I don’t remember if this happened when I lived in Texas, but here in Pennsylvania, winter seems to bring on, a deep desire to rest. I seem to need a bit more sleep at night, but mostly, during the daytime, I’m overcome with a need for enormous amounts of stillness. I find myself standing at the kitchen window looking out over the frozen river. I marvel at the tiny birds on the branches; their fragility so evident, their determination so inspiring. The white covering on the grounds of the nearby park, the scrunching sound of the snow under my feet as I walk the dog, seem to call me away from the industry of my “to do” list. They seem to say “move slowly, savor the silence.” When I do lie down I feel compelled to let everything go. It’s not a depression in the emotional sense, more a deep appreciation of life, of being alive, with no desire or impulse to do anything.

Hibernation in animals involves a state of inactivity that includes lower body temperature, a lowered metabolic rate, and slower breathing. This body wisdom conserves energy during a time of unforgiving weather and sparse supplies of food.  Apparently the birds I am viewing from my window have their own version of temporary hibernation called daily torpor. They are able to alternate their periods of hibernation within a single day, with stages of arousal when their body temperature returns to typical levels. So, brilliant birds, be my teacher. Your system seems the perfect answer to surviving even enjoying, inclement winter weather which many areas of our country are being challenged by this year.

2 thoughts on “Hibernation

  1. In my academic world, I call this my sub-clinical hibernation sydrome. I am sluggish, hate getting up and coming home in the dark. It makes me want to sleep or read mysteries, drink tea and eat pasta until the sun shines again. This, of course, causes the winter weight/wait phenonmenon. It is now the beginning of March. It is daytlight when I awaken and gloriously still light when I return home at the end of most days. I have resorted to wearing skirts because my pants don’t fit comfortably anymore. But I am sure Spring is right around one of these corners and everything just magically shifts. I have more energy, crave salad and fruit and want to exercise everyday. I feel zestful and more alive to the world again. Yea, spring and rebirth!

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