I slowly listened to the audio of Wintering by Katherine May, over the course of this past winter. I took a more relaxed approach to this book and only listened during my lunchtime walks. Wintering is not meant to be devoured quickly, but slowly digested so that you can pick out the parts that are most meaningful to you. Wintering is a way to get through tough times in life by chilling, hibernating, healing, re-grouping, not just the long cold season we are used to in the north, but the hard seasons that life brings.
As someone who is currently going through a tough life season, I appreciated this book immensely. I listened to the audio, but also purchased a copy so I can reference back. I plan on skimming through the physical copy and jotting down quotes and tips in my journal to really let the message sink in. For a self-help/personal development book, May does not come off preachy and she brings a new message to this theme that I found unique. The writing is almost lyrical. In a way, I felt like I was reading a fairy tale, as strange as that sounds, but one where the protagonist faces unsurmountable obstacles, but uses the tools and tricks they learned along the way to overcome them.
Part memoir, part self-help, author Katherine May takes the reader on a journey through navigating difficult times and life stressors using wisdom she gleaned from other cultures and life experiences. Much like how nature prepares for the upcoming challenges of winter, we can use these strategies to navigate difficult times.
(I highly recommend the audiobook.)
“Wintering is a season in the cold. It is a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider. Perhaps it results from an illness or a life event such as a bereavement or the birth of a child; perhaps it comes from a humiliation or failure. Perhaps you’re in a period of transition and have temporarily fallen between two worlds. Some wintering creep upon us more slowly, accompanying the protracted death of a relationship, the gradual ratcheting up of caring responsibilities as our parents age, the drip-drip-drip of lost confidence. Some are appallingly sudden, like discovering one day that your skills are considered obsolete, the company you worked for has gone bankrupt, or your partner is in love with someone new. However, it arrives, wintering is usually involuntary, lonely, and deeply painful.”
"Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again."
“Plants and animals don’t fight the winter; they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives that they lived in the summer. They prepare. They adapt. They perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through."
"To get better at wintering, we need to address our very notion of time. We tend to imagine that our lives are linear, but they are in fact cyclical."