Winter solstice 2019 in the Northern Hemisphere occurs on Saturday, December 21. It’s the day with the shortest period of daylight, the longest night of the year, and the sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky.
Typically by March, I’m counting the days until the end of winter and the return of life in spring, the signs of hope, change, and renewal. I’m going to try and be more patient with winter and take a more mindful approach to it by noticing all the good things that winter has to offer.
Through my Horticultural Therapy practice, I’ve discovered so much can be gained by being more mindful as we move through the natural cycle of the year. As each change of season approaches, I encourage us all to slow down and notice what’s happening in nature. Is there anything we can learn from nature’s adaptation process that can help us through our own transitions?
To foster my own patience with winter, I reminded myself of what I liked most about winter. I came up with more than a few including:
- noticing the return of bald eagles to their old nesting sites to re-establish territories and Barrow’s goldeneye ducks are back in Burrard Inlet
- looking forward to our first local snowfall of the season and feeling the peace and tranquility I associate with it
- volunteering up at Nelson Creek Hatchery again now that a new cycle of incubation has begun for the chum eggs that recently arrived
- exploring our local mountains through snowshoeing and skiing
- continuing to appreciate the abundant examples of evergreen flora (like bryophytes) throughout winter
- observing more closely overwintering buds, especially as they start to swell in late winter
- and restoring my energy levels by giving myself permission to do less
My plan is to use this list as a reminder to live in the moment, to be patient with winter as it progresses, and experience all that it has to offer.
What do you enjoy most about winter?
Remember, when connecting with nature at any time of the year – slow down. Allow yourself to EXPLORE, DISCOVER and STIMULATE YOUR SENSES. You’ll feel better for it.