Wintering

by Katherine May
Wintering
by Katherine May

A sudden illness in the family plunged the author into a time of uncertainty and seclusion. Life was frozen, she said, yet she managed to gain strength and inpiration from pondering what the desolate season of winter means for plants and wildlife, and for different nations.

In this thought-provoking memoir, she shares what she has learned. It is written with a lightness of touch, but a profound perspective.

"The times when we fall out of everyday life remain taboo," she says. "We tend to see it as a humiliation, something that should be hidden from view lest we shock the world too greatly. We put on a brave public face and grieve privately; we pretend not to see other people's pain."

We may be lonely, and feel pain. We may feel rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress or cast into the role of the outsider but, in this fallow period in our life, we should embrace the changes it brings.

Wintering is a time of withdrawing from the world, a time of reflection, recuperation and replenishment, she says. It is a time to slow down, get enough sleep, expand your spare time.

"Wintering brings about some of the most profound and insightful moments of our human experience, and wisdom resides in those who have wintered."

This is a book to dip into time and again, to give ourselves permission to stop.

Review date: February 2020