Life cycle’s crucible


Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives that they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through. Winter is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximising scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and vanishing from sight; but that’s where the transformation occurs. Winter is not the death of the life cycle, but its crucible.

Katherine May

From Wintering: the power of rest and retreat in difficult times

I’ve been harvesting and washing the last of a large crop of tasty eating apples. Conversations over the garden gate have been turning towards wintering – the cost of fuel, ‘bring a good warm coat,’ shorter days, longer nights and a desire to avoid ‘The News’ at all costs. There’s a certain melancholy that comes with the changing of seasons, long felt, and the reason for the various midwinter celebrations we participate in. So I’ve been glad to revisit Katherine May’s ‘Wintering’ – for there’s something about a crucible that is at once both painful and hopeful. We’re quietly moving in the direction of metamorphosis.

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