Forcing Spring and Myself

Peach blossoms

I hibernate. From reassuring texts and emails exchanged with friends who are also in a kind of dormancy, I know that it’s not just me and the groundhogs lying low. We are all tired and inclined to burrow deep into our own nests as dark closes in too early these winter months. I certainly am. At the end of the day or on a weekend, after a full work week, I want to light my wood stove, pull the curtains closed, crawl beneath the blankets with a book or the remote and talk to no one.

It doesn’t help that I have a job requiring I be outgoing, seek out strangers to try and convince them to buy lots of books. I like my company, love what I sell, am interested in other people and am socially adept – but like many book people, it’s not my natural inclination. As an introvert in an extrovert job, I definitely crave solitude after beating the bushes.

But it’s a fine line. Sometimes I feel like I have gone too far down the alone rabbit hole. Especially during winter, I tend to hide out in my own world, almost forgetting the pleasure of connection. It’s easier to stay in. But statistics show and I believe, that we humans need each other to thrive. I don’t mean through social networks – I want contact — to laugh, feel the comfort of a hug, hear a story, share a drink, a meal.

I’m so grateful to the many dear ones who make social overtures to me and accept mine. We take care of each other that way. Getting out with others can be more of an issue for us single people – particularly when you were once part of a couple. Venturing out requires more energy, motivation and confidence when you’re alone, particularly at first. It’s a skill worth honing because… well, you know. I certainly wish the men I once believed I’d be spending my life with were still here with me. I miss that. (To say ‘men’ rather than ‘man’ sounds weird – but there are two loved ghosts in my life.) Still, I enjoy my own company and have become quite content in my solitude. But the danger is how much easier it is to burrow down deeper, venturing out less. And I believe that for my health and well being, I need to resist the inclination to retreat. Do you know what I mean?

As always, I find my best life cues in nature. Last week I pruned my peach and pear trees, putting a few branches in water. And blossoms are already emerging — a reminder to the reclusive me, of the beauty that may come from forcing things along.

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16 Responses to Forcing Spring and Myself

  1. Avatar Susan says:

    I share your inclinations. Right now I am working from home and a couple of days can pass before I venture off my property and I don’t mind that. At night I am happy to cook a healthy dinner, read my Kindle and play with my golden retriever. I don’t live alone so I do have some company each day. I also (through force of determination) to connect with other friends…but nearly always it’s “come for dinner” and not “let’s meet up.” But without sufficient Vitamin D, that’s all I can muster. 🙂

  2. Avatar Eileen McGrory says:

    Your words resonated so meaningfully to me in my grieving world right now. When your world changes on a dime…you realize you can’t burrow but as much as you love solitude…you need people and your comfort zone changes. People get you through things. Thank you for your thoughtful words Tricia. ❤️

  3. Avatar jcareyreads says:

    I could so relate. Especially after a week of break, I’m not ready to face the world again tomorrow. Maybe the warmer temps and sun will help.

  4. Wonderful post, Tricia. Thank heavens Nature reminds us that everything is cyclical…

  5. Avatar Tricia says:

    Eileen – I’ve thought of you often – so sad for your loss. You seem to have had a rare, wonderful marriage. I’m glad you are near your daughter and family and will find continued joy with them. Sending love.

  6. Thanks for your words. I’m forcing paper whites. Spring is coming.

    I heard a really cool episode of On Being Sunday morning interview with Guy Consolmagno and George Coyne about the interrelationship between science and religion – finding answers in nature – really worth a listen. I’m going to listen again.

  7. Avatar J.D. Riso says:

    Yes I do know what you mean. I work with the public too and spend as much time as I can in nature/solitude. Winter definitely intensifies the desire to just burrow in the blankets on a day off, especially near the end of the season. How encouraging to see blossoms. I need to wait until April for those…

  8. Avatar Lea Sylvestro says:

    I think your inclination to hibernate IS nature’s way. If the planet were healthy, it would be reinforced by cold and snow keeping us all home. I miss that cozy demand to snuggle in! On this spring days we’ve been having, I’ve been out basking in the sun, listening to the birds, watching the chipmunks scurry, and hoping they won’t be casualties if winter decides to come…and I really do want a snowstorm. Also, I do think you need (we all do!) a break from the demands of your job and the effort to maintain a cheerful public face. I like the connection between forced blooms and getting yourself out….Let’s meet for lunch! XXOO

  9. Avatar Tricia says:

    Thanks for this. I love On Being – I’ll check it out!

  10. Avatar Tricia says:

    Of course you know what I mean — I recognize that in your work. And I envy you your wild digs of rivers, lakes and woods and always get vicarious pleasure from your pieces.

  11. Avatar Tricia says:

    Yes — I would like a short and sweet blizzard that keeps us all housebound for a day! And yes — lunch! You name it. xxx

  12. Avatar Rita Sklar says:

    Well put. And a beautiful ending.

  13. Avatar Patrice Donnell says:

    So beautifully expressed, Tricia. Your story is uniquely poignant, yet you’re not alone in this kind of solitude. Thank you for illuminating how many of us may feel.

  14. Thank you so much for writing this. A solitary life so often seems to be disparaged. But hibernation and solitude are healing and are a balm.

  15. Avatar Tricia says:

    Yes, I have grown to appreciate winter for this. Thank you (always!) for reading and your kindred spirit.

  16. I hope you’re finding your balance (which for you is to offset your tendencies). I am content without company. All I want to do is write.

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