Rhythms of the Year

Winter is drawing me into its blanket. My favorite spot now is nearest the radiator, cup of steaming cocoa in hand. In summer, I sit in front of my open window, peeking through the leafy green foliage as it becomes thicker and greener. But in winter, the shades might as well stay drawn since the harsh, gray light just makes it feel colder. I dress in layers now not because it’s cute, but because it’s warm. And I limit my trips outdoors, blasting the heat in the car until my face feels dry. Soap gets replaced with body wash, and extra bottles of body lotion get stashed around the house.

New England. The seasons change here, our habits change, our rhythms are cyclical. I don’t know how I’d live in a place where this doesn’t happen. These subtle, grounding changes remind me of priorities; remind me of today’s preciousness; keep me attuned to the divine. Age-old traditions point to these same rhythms, imposing structure on an otherwise meaningless passing of time. This year, I feel drawn to the idea of advent, the idea that there is a season for expectant waiting and yearning. The idea that as a church body, we delve into these experiences together, and that over the course of the year, we “are presented in an organized way with the opportunity to talk about, reflect upon, and respond to the entire range of faith confessions that lie at the heart of the Christian Faith” (see here).

And so, as I do every year, I stock up on wool socks, dust off my sweaters, re-learn how the 4-wheel drive works, and plan warm evenings at home. I replace the bonfire with a crackling one in the fireplace (or a WoodWick candle for those of us who don’t have a fireplace!); the bike with the car; the baseball cap with a wool hat; and my iced coffee with a hot one. I all but hibernate, loving every second of it, knowing that soon my snowdrops will peek up through the snow and I’ll be readying my garden, still attuned to the presence of the divine.

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