Thematic traits in literature set in wintertime focus on moments and stories filled with solitude, grief, depression, and death. While those are present in winter and there are reasons for their presence, winter also holds space and lessons in flourishing, replenishment, and attentiveness. Beauty stirs out of the rawness and vulnerability of winter. It comes out of the barrenness and openness of the trees. It serves as a reminder that in just a few weeks, awakened again, will be new buds of life. Often out of seasons and moments of grief and solitude, we can experience true flourishing and replenishment.
Here are some themes and lessons from the snowy and cold season:
Embrace the Change
- In our current modern world, we have an abundance of information and the ability to be notified immediately of an incoming snowstorm or weather change. However, there are many moments where snowstorms encourage and prompt us to change course and embrace the unexpected. We cannot control the weather. We cannot control how long a storm lasts or where the snow falls, but we can control how we respond to unexpected events. Winter offers us a lesson in radical acceptance and learning how to discover what we want our response to changes and events to be.
Gentleness & Vulnerability
- As annoying as snowstorms and the cold may be for what can seem like never-ending months, there is such beauty in the display of balance between power and gentleness. Think for a moment about the loud silence of snowfall – the world seems to just stop for a moment. Or reflect on the way that snowflakes seem to dance on their way down to find their place on the ground. There is gentleness, surrender, and collaborative nature in snowflakes’ falling. There is also steadfast determination and confidence in their movement. Joined movement to be a force present in many spaces. To me, this displays a balance in masculine and feminine energy. And just as snow bears moments of gentleness, the bare tree branches symbolize vulnerability. The branches are raw, open and ready to receive both the present, sometimes jarring moments of winter, and the invitation of future growth waiting to awaken.
Take things slow
- Winter encourages us to take things slowly. Our movements are more calculated and timed. Whether that be leaving home an extra five minutes early for work in the morning and decreasing our speed while we drive. Maybe it’s recognizing the slowness in taking more intentional steps as we walk through the snow or the new routine of spending more time indoors. Winter provides opportunities to move at a pace that allows space for rest and ease, especially as we come off the busyness of the previous months. How may winter be nudging you to slow?
Written by: Chardyce Kott, LSW