I read this book in one sitting, something I used to do a lot but rarely seem to do anymore. Not quite sure why. This quotation comes at the end of the book but captures the essence of the message:
At its base, this is not a book about beauty, but about reality. It is about noticing what is going on, and living it. That’s what the natural world does; it carries on surviving. Sometimes it flourishes – lays on fat, garlands itself in leaves, makes abundant honey – and sometimes it pares back to the very basics of existence in order to keep living. It doesn’t do this once, resentfully, assuming that one day it will get things right and everything will smooth out. It winters in cycles, again and again, forever and ever. For plants and animals winter is part of the job. The same is true of animals. To get better at wintering, we need to address our very notion of time. We tend to imagine that our lives are linear, but they are in fact cyclical.
I was a winter born child who loves snowdrops and would not necessarily have a negative reaction to the title Wintering but was drawn to the idea of rest and retreat in difficult times. The last six months have been some of the most difficult of my life because of the decisions others have made and I have felt like I have been wintering but in it all I have resonated with the Camus phrase of an ‘invincible summer’ which I think comes from my growing appreciation of the seasons and knowing that things change and move on and God heals and when I am in a tough season it does not last. I am grateful for the support of friends and family through this time and for the wisdom and encouragement shared in so many different ways. Life would have been so much tougher without that and I think those encounters have been part of what helps me to embrace the invincible summer.
Katherine May, Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times. Rider, 2020, p269 in Kindle version.