Aren't we meant to hibernate?

Submitted by gmckee on March 3, 2011 - 2:28pm

Its -35 and all I want to do is hibernate until winter is over. It's been a hard one this year. Several bouts of -35 and then a teaser of -15, then back to the deep cold. Cars don't work well at -35 and even though a few hardy souls continue to ride their bikes throughout the year, I am pretty much dependent on my car. As November draws to a close and the dark lengthens and the cold descends, I feel the urge to stay inside, sew, read, eat high fatty foods, burrow under the down duvet and just stay there. If the urge is to hibernate, does that also mean isolation, loneliness? Where is the connection with community then? It comes from the sense of "we're all in this together" - this battle to stay warm, to keep ourselves going. Then when we do emerge - whether its at -38 to get to a favourite Yoga class, lit by a wood stove and warmed by the baked bread scents from the bakery below, or when the thermometer has risen again to a reasonable -15 and we venture out with the dog, walking slowly without hunched shoulders, taking in the growing light on the mountains  - that's when we can say - "we did it! We got through another bout of the -30's" and we smile at each other, knowing we have shared the challenge and got through it. We've added another feature to our identiity that lets us call ourselves northerners.

I think hibernating is also

I think hibernating is also about down-time.  I have lately had so little down-time that I find myself wishing for a two-week coma or zoning out when people speak to me; I hear the beginning of what they say and the question mark at the end and have no idea what they're asking! One way or another our bodies (and minds!) will hibernate it seems. I only realized this in retrospect as I came to have some time to be alone. Thankfully, I am once again looking forward to my close encounters with people.

We did it!

I don't have quite the same cold weather to deal with that you're describing (-15 is cold enough, thank you!) but I can relate to what you're saying. People who don't know each other can always find something to talk about - weather. I tend not to hear the weather report on the radio, but I can usually hear about any upcoming storms just from the people I meet each day. Once the storm is past, and the snow has been shoveled, neighbours smile at each other over their shovels as they wipe their brows and say "yep, that was a lot of snow, but we did it!"