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This week, my city’s temperature has begun to hit double digits.
Well, in Celcius—I live in Alberta, Canada.
And now that we’ve switched into daylight saving time, the days feel longer and brighter.
I can’t help but feel relieved.
When I step outside, take a deep breath, and let it whoosh out, it’s as if I’m releasing months of internal winter with it. Not only was it winter outside—frigid, chalky air, whipping winds, ice pulling my feet out from under me—but I felt like I’ve been holding it within me too, in my hunched shoulders and my frozen lungs and my tired body.
I wonder why I live where I do, despite how proud I am to be Canadian. To live in a place where it feels like the life is sucked out of me six months of the year seems absurd.
I’m certain I suffer from S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder), as so many of us in colder climates do. Christmas only serves as a brief distraction, and then we’re back to 4 p.m. sunsets and trudging over mounds of snow.
I understand that winter is a time to slow down, to recharge, and I’ve tried my best to appreciate its gifts…but I guess I just don’t work that way. It feels forced to find the joy in the bitter, sluggish, wintry days. I’d rather just accept that it’s not my time (for now).
I feel like I am most myself when I’m outside, in the warm air, in nature—whether it’s actual, rugged nature or the urban kind.
When we’re hiking up to the Ink Pots in Johnston Canyon, listening to the trees groan as they move in the breeze and making just enough noise to scare the bears away. Or, when I’m camping with my son, and even though we’re in a campground with roads and working showers, I can still feel the expanse of the sky and the trees and the lake all around me.
I feel happiest when, even if I can’t be outside at that very moment, the windows can open and I can hear the birds as I work. And when the workday’s done, I’m out the door in a flash—to my garden, or with the dog, or just to stand on the front step and feel the sun on my cheeks.
So, while early spring isn’t my favorite time of year—where I live, it’s mostly mushy, dirty snow, getting “booters,” and thinking it’s warm enough for just a sweater when it actually isn’t—it’s a promise.
And this year, it’s an extra special promise.
According to Natural Geographic, it’s been 19 years since a supermoon fell this close to the spring equinox. So, if you happen to be in the Northern Hemisphere, looking up at the night sky on March 20, and the weather’s good, you’ll be viewing a “super worm moon.”
And for someone who loves to get her hands in the dirt and grow things, it’s only fitting for a worm moon—the name given to full moons in March, when the worms start to move again in the earth—to mark the promise of winter’s end. And if spring rituals are of interest, now’s the perfect time.
For those of you who are equally ready for winter to be over, who would choose a forest over any other place to be, who feel a similar unfurling as the days start to get longer, here are some of my favorite John Muir quotes to help us celebrate this equinox:
1. “The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”
2. “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”
3. “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
4. “I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
5. “I never saw a discontented tree.”
6. “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
7. “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”
8. “Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”