The Gift of Cold

“If we belong to the Sun and its warmth, to the Bud and the sprout, to the miraculous Flower, we also belong to the Wind, the naked Branch and the Cold” – Fabiana Fondevila

Winter is one of the most dreaded yet beautiful Seasons in the cycle of Existence. It brings to Life an element which forces us to shut off from the outside World and locks us in a place where we have no choice but to look within.

During winter, Nature withdraws light and heat – 2 key essentials for Life to thrive. The wind is piercing, the temperature frigid, the branches of trees devoid of leaves, standing bare in the numbness of the Air. Animals hibernating and cocooning in their burrows – it is a Season of absolute inactivity. Water frozen, roads blocked, vegetation thwarted, Nature is so dormant that Man is forced to stop any form of activity outside and prepare to spend the Winter hours and chilly days in the comfort of his home.

I often find myself wondering that when we have Autumn where everything in nature completes its cycle and withers away and we have Spring to create new life then what is the need of this biting, cold and fierce Winter in the middle of these 2 seasons? Why this period of Inactivity? What purpose does it serve?

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  1. The Power of Creation
    Winters are nature’s way of evoking the eternally present Omniscient Power of Creation within every being of the ecosystem. We are so involved in our daily tasks that very few take the time to delve into this realm of enormous possibility. It is in this dormant time when everything outside is a call for Destruction of the self, that a light from within kindles and shows a path of self-preservation. Hibernation, Cocoons, Fireplaces and Wood stacked walls – all these have been the natural responses of beings time immemorial. With light and heat naturally withdrawn, every being finds his own way of recreating it for survival. It reinforces a sense of belief in the Power of Creation – an all-knowing, all-guiding force residing within every living cell of the cosmos.
  2. The Power of Absence
    While Winter is marked with the Absence of heat and light, it also makes us feel the presence of Air – an hostilely active presence of air. Apples frost in winter and though they seem to be sleeping beneath the blankets of snow – a lot of work is happening on the inside. The apple tree stops the absorption of water from its roots and literally goes to sleep.

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    With no exterior input, the tree starts conserving its energy and infuses sweetness in the flesh of the raw apples. As the temperature warms up it starts the process of absorption and ripening of the apples resume leading to a bright red, sweet and juicy fruit.
    In Human experience, drawing the metaphor of winter to harsh times in life – it is in the absence of Love and Peace, we find ourselves appreciating its presence.

    When everything is falling apart, our hearts relive the happy times and a sense of Gratitude fills our space and a deep respect for existence finds light.

  3. Zone of Purification
    Deep, freezing cold kills insects and rodents, clearing the air and soil of growth dippers. In Autumn their number increase substantially to help in the decay and decomposition of withered leaves and fruits. But their current numbers will be detrimental to the upcoming season of bloom.
    In our lives, during an emotional upheaval, our body, mind and soul triggers certain responses and hormones which help in battling the difficult events. But retaining those states of mind will reverse the process during a fresh start. Thus, immediately after a breakdown, we feel a sense of vacuum and numbness.
    On the exterior it seems like we are blank, but a lot of interior work is happening subconsciously to clear the rodents of the past and create space for new life to blossom.

    Don’t rush to bounce back after a seizure, cocoon up and let nature undergo the process of purification.

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For our ancestors winter was a test of survival. And although today many of us have the privilege of heated homes and warm clothing, this season of bare tress takes us back to the experience of that vulnerability which all of us are naturally a part of. Procuring our own warmth and guarding our own light – this season brings with it a box of hope and gleam. A reason for celebration – of all that we have and all that we are capable of. It provides us with a hibernation where we can weave our dreams and infuse energy into our spirits, make plans and save up to sprout and blossom with the next opportunity we get. It’s a period where we can reflect on the mess we have created, wonder in the possibility of cleaning up and remind ourselves of the beauty of it all.

Maybe that is the gift of the cold: to remind us that even the difficult presents are to be met with an open heart. And with gratitude.

“To speak of wildness is to speak of wholeness. Human beings emerged out of wholeness.” – Poet Gary Snyder

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