Winter is the time of promise because there is so little to do — or because you can now and then permit yourself the luxury of thinking so. – Stanley Crawford
Oh February. I always find this month a little challenging. Short days. Rain. Fog.
Moreover, this February, a host of coughs, sniffles, sneezes, and most recently fevers have descended on us.
Around now it’s tempting to long for May, for the first strawberries and garden-fresh greens. For throwing the windows open in the afternoons and planting the garden and walking barefoot in the grass.
But the other day, when I emerged from our fevered nest, I was greeted by a handful of yellow crocuses dotting our neighbor’s yard. And I felt a wistfulness, not for spring or summer, but for the quiet, reflective days of this season, which is so quickly departing.
These days, we seem to think we can outsmart winter. We can arm ourselves with our electric lights and flu shots and vitamin drinks and continue to go, go, go.
I’m no different. I had all sorts of plans for February. A big project. Outings. Busy, packed days.
But so often winter demands a certain amount of stillness from us.
This month has brought me lots of quiet afternoons tending to sick family members, watching movies, knitting, and reading.
As crummy as it feels to be sick or to see those you love sick, I see wisdom in all of this. Slow down, winter tells us. Be still.
In the Mountain Rose Herbs blog this week, acupuncturist Dylan Stein advises, “Let’s take these last few weeks of winter as an opportunity to rest, to meditate quietly and to prepare our bodies for the bursting energy of spring.”
He recommends ingesting nourishing foods like beans, root vegetables, seaweeds, dark leafy greens, and walnuts, and gentle warming spices like cinnamon and ginger.
Likely, that’s where you’ll find me this week: resting, sipping on spice tea, and reflecting on the wisdom of these seasonal cycles of stillness and vigor.
My favorite spice tea:
1.5 quarts of water
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine and boil for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain.
Add honey to taste, if you wish.
What’s your favorite winter food or drink? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.