We woke this morning to our first real frost. Down across the paddock the night air sprinkled its glitter. The leaves, suspended in time, crunch underfoot and surrender their shape back to the earth; they remind me of sugared rose petals.
Winter is most often a time of reflection. Of coming in, delving in. But it can be a time of great exploration. The natural world paints things all hazy and subdued while the very air seems to jolt us alive. Here are some ways to embrace this season of dark and mystery:
- Don gumboots, hats and scarves and brave the cold to explore the beach. Fossick for shells, peer into glassy rock pools and marvel at the inky waves; their frothy white horses ever eager to chomp at the shore. The colour palette of a Wintry beach is evocative and soothing, and it’s quite likely you’ll have the place to yourself.
- Make some pinecone bird feeders to hang in your trees. As the weather turns colder food becomes more scarce for wildlife and a little titbit would be more than welcomed by your avian visitors.
- Plant some garlic. The saying goes, “plant on the shortest day, harvest on the longest” so find yourself a bulb of garlic and plan a Winter solstice morning in the garden burying your treasure.
- Explore a new indoor hobby for long evenings. Take up knitting with a simple washcloth, explore the meditative art of slow stitching with natural fibres or nature journal your Winter wanders.
- Incorporate an Ayurvedic bath ritual into your week. Begin by massaging your skin from top to toe with a few tablespoons of oil – traditionally sesame oil but sweet almond oil with a few drops of lavender is a warming cloak also. Immerse yourself in a warm (not hot) bath infused with epsom salts and a small handful of oats, light some candles and wallow away a long Winter evening in a milky cocoon.
- Harness the rainbow goodness of root vegetables and cajole them into a weekly soup. Making a double batch of something lightly spiced, full of nourishing legumes and brimming with vitamins means that another meal is only minutes away. Something warm to sup after outdoor adventures or simply an excuse to make Winter nights all the more lazy.
- Rug up warm and go stargazing. The clear, crisp sky of Winter unveils the heavens in all their twinkling glory. Pack a constellation map and explore those ancient compasses.
- Keeping up your water intake in Winter can be a challenge and dehydration can only deepen grey sky maladies. Adding a small splash of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water feels a little luxurious, is great for your gut health and goes down just that little bit easier than a cold glass of water when the weather is bleak.
- Take a trip to the library and stock up on a few new reads for rainy Sunday afternoons and lingering evenings. Winter is a perfect time to read about the natural world and transport yourself to the miniature world of fungi and moss, or levitate above tree canopies all green and undulating all while your hands wrap around a cup of tea and wool socks warm your toes. The Hidden Life of Trees, Rewild, The Song of Trees, Green Nomads and any of Mary Oliver’s poems are evocative and inspiring.
- Pack a thermos of herbal tea or hot chocolate, some cups and perhaps something light to nibble on. Wrap up warmly (a raincoat is always a good idea) and step out into the grey. Find a little pocket of wild and without an end in mind, immerse and ground yourself amongst growing things. Taking time to ponder the earth’s cogs and gears can connect us to our very own ways of being. A day breathing fresh air is an elixir to even the most crumpled of Winter spirits.