Winter is coming

The nights are getting colder. The days are growing shorter. The trees are shifting through different hues, their leaves most beautiful when passing through death. Life ultimately follows the pattern of a sine wave, in all aspects. The progression of the seasons is perhaps the most omnipresent example.

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As you can imagine, in Canada the Winters are cold. Before long the snow will come, and I am looking forward to it. There is a certain frozen silence about the Winter, a stillness. You will find this quality at its strongest within a forest, and especially at night. It is introspective and calming; it is life without interference. Nothing around you is moving, save for perhaps the branches in the wind. Everything is asleep, except for you. To lay on your back in the snow, facing up at the sky is like a form of sensory deprivation. You can close your eyes, or stare up into nothingness anyways. The lack of stimulation heightens the sense’s receptiveness to stimuli. The mind will wander, painting pictures on a blank canvas. You will completely lose sense of time, untethered from the world of electronic interference and automobile lights plowing through slushy roads.

Winter is a time of sleep and convalescence, a time of dormancy for many creatures. This may not apply to Humans in quite the same way, but we still find ourselves within certain patterns of less activity. It becomes most clear when contrasted with the onset of Spring, where people metaphorically exit the cave of inactivity that they have been living in for the past four months, embracing the warmth of the sun and the ability to see each other without thick layers of clothing. We keep moving, working, and carrying on with our lives through the winter, but for some, there is a metaphorical cavern of mind that we hibernate within during the Winter season. We are physically active, but our minds are mildly affected by the somniferous effect of Winter, operating at lower wavelengths. Some may refer to this as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which affects some, but not all during the Winter season.

I would still maintain that regardless of medical diagnosis, the Winter still affects us all in some way or another. It doesn’t have to be clinical depression due to lack of sunlight. We move in patterns with the seasons. Winter is a symbolic death, of low activity in general, the necessary precursor to new life. But it is also something different for everyone. For me it is a time of introspection and self-improvement. A time to write both words and music, to read, to spend time in the gym working hard, to do all these things to improve myself both physically and mentally. And then when the snow melts and the days grow warmer, you exit the cave, stronger, faster, wiser, improved, and ready for the friction and challenges of the new season.

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