Hunkering Down for the Winter

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I am nothing if not a creature of habit.

It’s funny, the things we get used to; the things we come to expect, year in and year out. I would be utterly miserable living in a climate with no crisp fall; no bitterly-cold winter. It’s what I have always known; what I have gotten used to.

There is something exciting, to me, about hunkering down for the winter.

I love how the world changes; sometimes on a dime: one day it is hot and muggy and the next, the year has deliberately done an about-face in a new direction. The air turns chilly, especially at night: the stars come out in bright contrast against the clear blackness of a night sky that is crisp and humidity free. The trees start to change colour – almost imperceptibly at first – and suddenly, the whole world is a riot of brilliant oranges, reds and yellows. The geese get loud again, noisily heading northward every morning in search for food in farmers’ fields and loudly flying southward in the evenings to bed down for the night. They will do this for a good month or more – the flock growing increasingly big and very loud – until one crisp day when you can smell snow on the air, they will head southward and won’t come back until spring.

I have always loved the mournful sound of geese (it’s right up there with train whistles for me). It gives me a sharp pang of sadness every fall and it makes my heart leap with gladness to hear their return every spring.

I used to wait until the last possible minute to start the hunkering down process: when I was thirty years younger, I was working and busy and I knew I would be able to do everything in a few days: gather the remaining vegetables from my garden and freeze them or dehydrate them for the winter; prune any trees that need it: gather up and compost the dying foliage from my garden and garden boxes; remove the compost from my compost bin and scatter it over the garden for next summer; remove and clean the screens from the windows (and clean the windows one last time while I am at it); place caulking around the doors and windows to keep the worst of the winter winds out. Meanwhile, my husband is busy doing some hunkering down of his own: stacking the wood that’s been drying in our driveway all summer for our wood stove; mowing the lawn one last time; putting away the summer chairs and other items and pulling snow shovels out of storage, grumbling all the while…

My husband does not share my love of hunkering down for the winter.

The air turned chilly about a week ago and I have begun preparing – much earlier and much more slowly than before, but with that same sense of quietly-excited anticipation.

I am keenly aware that at age 60, if I am very lucky and very blessed, I might have twenty – perhaps twenty-five – good, productive years left. I do not fear death. But it is closer now and I find myself stopping to savour the seasons as I never did before…

Patti Moore Wilson/©

: Hunkering Down for the Winter

Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

7 thoughts on “Hunkering Down for the Winter”

  1. I really liked your ending. I was thinking how I wasn’t really ready yet to hunker down for the winter. Next week will be the first real cold spell where I live. I thought you were going in one direction and then your ending took me in a different direction than I expected. “I do not fear death. But it is closer now and I find myself stopping to savour the seasons as I never did before…” I love your perspective. I think maybe I need to think about grabbing some of that perspective too. At least be a bit more thoughtful on my blessings. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You gave such a beautiful expression here Patti 💛
    As much as I enjoy the warm weather (when we’re lucky enough to get some) I do like the feeling of heading into winter – and that always kicks in for me in September. Our clocks will change in a few weeks, and the darker evenings are a good excuse for warm cosy evenings with good books, wondering if we’ll get some snow and looking forward to Christmas.
    Of course Canada is a snow champion, I know you get ample amounts up there – beautiful scenes, I hope you’re able to enjoy it. ❄️

    Liked by 1 person

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