January ushers in deep, dark, cold winter days in my neck of the woods. Once snow is on the ground our proximity to the mighty Colorado puts us in the path of her river generated fog bank. Silently engulfing us during the night and covering everything in a layer of hoarfrost. By morning it’s a wonderland of mist and white tree branches that dissolve the moment the sun penetrates, filling the air with tiny, sparkling crystals, or shards of snow, depending on how heavy the frost.
These temperature inversions bring lots of extra labor, keeping water tanks free of ice chief among them! Managing ice starts to feel like a full time job. It’s too cold, the footing too dicey to ask the horses to do much other than focus on eating and staying warm. This is the season that calls us to hibernate and pay attention to surviving. It’s the time of year to store up our energy in preparation for the labor of spring planting. It’s a good time to remember that stillness can be a movement too.
I like to follow the horse’s lead and listen to the call of the seasons. Winter naturally offers opportunities to take a break from strict training regimes and conserve our energy. When it’s warm enough we bask together in the sunlight and breathe the crisp air together. If I touch them while I breathe, the movement of my breath can move my horse’s body. Tiny movements that gently bring cold, stiff, aging joints to life. Firing those small skeletal muscles around joints to remind them their job is to stabilize and perceive subtle changes in environment, the better for navigating the slick terrain. Excess tension melts away and we both breathe easier.
I got rid of my coffee table in my living room. My floor is covered in blankets, with rollers, pillows and bolsters – even an array of rocks to use as stimulation for my feet or weights to lift. Getting up and down off the floor, finding positions to lie in that allow excess tension to melt from my winter tired body.
Melting is a movement too.
Have you allowed yourself to succumb to the call to hibernate this winter?