My Inner Winter

Last night I was lulled to sleep by the rain. I usually can’t sleep without earplugs. Hearing rain rather than traffic reawakened my childhood desire to live closer to nature. I’ve dreamed of moving to Washington state on the Olympic Peninsula and Whidbey Island north, as well as in Brittany, Provence, the Pyrenees, among others. I awoke with a start, going from fantasy to fear as I remembered that, being 60, I might not have time to manifest such dreams, and that it might be the beginning of the end. I always believed I’d escaped such societal norms about what different ages mean, but my fears indicate that I haven’t. And it doesn’t help that, of late, people have been dropping like flies. Months before my birthday, I felt great urgency about my desire to build a home in Santa Cruz. It’s complicated – there’s a red tagged structure, and my mom doesn’t want to provoke the city planning office’s ire. I promised I’d wait till she dies to do anything. It’s been red-tagged for 10 years now. Seems like a waste.

Frankly, I’m scared. I’ve been sleeping at least 10 hours a day for a couple of months. I associate such heavy sleep with depression, something my mother struggled with starting in my early high school years. I feared depression was hereditary and willed myself to resist. I can hear my acupuncturist’s voice saying that this is the season of sleep and rest, that we are not meant to be busy and productive in the winter. Yet I awake feeling anxious, afraid that I may never again have the energy to travel or have the temerity to manifest living elsewhere. Part of the problem is funds. And ambivalence about leaving the area, as it’s my childhood home. Despite huge changes in land use and demographics, this place called Sunnyvale is still home. I have a soft spot for it, partly because how close it is to Berkeley, San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Palo Alto, Saratoga… the list goes on. And there’s enough open space in the nearby Santa Cruz mountains to satisfy my need for walkabout.

Perhaps I need to stop resisting this inner darkness. Let myself sink down into the earth and imagine being covered with luxuriant moss like the bay, madrone, and oak trees I see on my daily hikes. Or imagine myself as a tree in a snow storm, slowly being covered with white powder, one flake at a time. I love walking in the woods, especially this time of year when the earth seems bare and most trees have lost their leaves. Yet mosses reach furry fingers in all directions, and ferns and other herbaceous plants spring to life. It is a study in contradictions, the demise of some and the bursting forth of others. Perhaps similar processes are going on inside me. Maybe they are necessary precursors to exuberant green shoots to come.


One response to “My Inner Winter

  1. Oh Lisa, I’m so sorry to hear of these fears. But I do get it – this angst of the turning season of the world reflected in the turning of the season in our lives. Thank you for giving voice to your thoughts, for sharing them with us all.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s