Winter is a time of slowing down, resting, and getting less done. It’s a time of saving up and restoring strength in order have the energy to do what will need to be done in springtime, summer, and fall.
When I was little, one of the books I loved was Anybody Home? by Aileen Fisher. I was the type of kid who, without trying, would get virtually pulled into the pictures I looked at it in books. (Who am I kidding? I STILL do this!)
One of my favorite pictures to get lost in from Anybody Home? was of a squirrel all cozied up inside of a tree. It was sleeping with its long fluffy tail wrapped up around itself like a blanket, covering it up to its nose.
Take a look!
While the setting of the book isn’t specifically wintertime, I almost always think of this picture in winter! It’s the perfect image of what I feel like doing in winter: slowing down, staying warm, and recharging my energy (in a cozy place...with fuzzy blankets). =)
When temperatures get colder and daylight gets shorter, I get much less done in a day! And...I find myself remembering how much more productive I was - not that long ago - in fall, summer, and spring.
And I’m tempted to feel guilty about it.
But then the image of that cozy, beautifully drawn squirrel comes to mind...and I remember that the hibernating animals and all of the trees and flowering bushes that surround the house seem slower and dormant right now too.
And then I remember:
That’s what winter is all about.
The trees and hibernating animals feel no guilt about being “unproductive.” It’s winter! Things are still and calm. That's just what they do when temperatures drop. It's not wasteful - it's wisdom.
Everyone and everything needs seasons of rest.
And you’re no different. Whether it’s actually winter outside or whether your inward self is going through what feels like a winter, your resting isn’t laziness.
Your resting and slowness are in tune with your season.
So, is it winter for you? Go ahead - hibernate and be cozy!
When the season shifts, you’ll be up and about again. No need to rush.
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One of my favorite books is The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo. I love it because it's a beautiful, poetic metaphor for forgiveness and for the hope of impossibly good things coming true.
As in life, there are impossible things in this story that cause the characters pain and ones that cause hopes and dreams to be fulfilled.
One of the characters is a boy named Peter who was told that his little sister had died when he was little. But there's a hint at the beginning of the story that he might have been lied to and that his sister is out there in the world somewhere.
In the same town is a woman who has been injured in a magic trick gone wrong, and she has the magician responsible for her pain thrown into prison. Throughout the story, all she can do is talk about the pain he's caused her. Whenever someone tries to have a conversation with her about something else, it's all she can talk about.
She's like a broken record, stuck in the pain of her life.
And that's another reason why this book is so good. Even though it’s a fictional story, it speaks to the real pain we can experience in our own lives: physical pain, bitterness, and unfulfilled hopes and dreams.
Personally, I don't like stories that are sad and have terrible endings. Some people might argue that in the real world things don't always go as planned, and that sad stories with sad endings are needed to reflect that reality.
But what about the other reality...the one where, however long from now, someday all the wrongs in the world will be made right? It may be far into the future, but it’s one of the reasons I like stories with happy endings. They reflect the reality that we were created for restoration and a beautiful future.
And perhaps we're feeling like the people in The Magician's Elephant, wondering...
When will this be made right?
Why is this happening?
Will the good things I'm hoping for ever happen?
The Magician’s Elephant is a beautiful story with multiple characters who experience pain, and there are beautiful endings for each one.
It's winter as I write this, and in The Magician's Elephant snow represents hope and change - something good on the way. The winter season seems like a fitting time to settle in with a nice hot beverage, get cozy, put your feet up, and read this book...
...if you could use a story with a happy ending.
(Pick up your copy of The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo here or here.)
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Welcome to The Cozy Corner - your place for all things cozy! Have a look around - you'll find book recommendations, coffee, fuzzy blankets, cozy socks, and inspiration for slowly savoring the seasons. Enjoy!