We often use the phrase “howling wind” to describe a gusty day, but rarely does it actually make the true sound of a howl. Today was one of those rare days, where the wind whipped through the trees and the shape of the hills around us funneled the air in such a way that a howling noise emanated from the valley walls. We woke slowly, enjoying the comfort of the warm cabin and each other’s company for a while. Outside, rain fell softly but in diagonal sheets moving in the strong gusts.
As my friends in the northern hemisphere welcome spring flowers and warm days, I scour thrift stores for warm sweaters and lace my boots up tight against the mud puddles. It has been a while since I’ve felt the changing of the seasons and stuck around long enough to see it through. The last few years of life on the road has meant an almost-endless summer, interrupted only briefly by glimpses of fall weather or passing visits to colder climates.
This time, I will see winter in its full form. I won’t be leaving Aotearoa until October—early springtime. Last week, the higher-elevation hills across the bay received their first dusting of snow and I giddily pulled Leo out to the pier to have a look. He laughed a little at my delighting in the meager sprinkle covering the very tops of the mountains, knowing that soon enough they will be fully coated in sparkling white. But for me, it was still an exciting moment (and easy to enjoy on a beautiful blue-sky day that followed days of endless rain).
Although I much prefer warm weather, I am looking forward to this winter. The shorter days and colder temperatures lend themselves well to cozy mornings spent reading with a cup of tea, afternoons snuggling, and early nights in. A welcome and much-needed break that my prior summer-chasing led me to ignore. While long days of hiking and exploring and working hard offered me many amazing opportunities, those times cannot last forever. There is a reason that life moves in seasons and cycles, and stepping away from that is a dangerous game.
This year, I hope to honor the cycles in my environment by responding accordingly in my personal life. After all, I am merely a creature of this earth and certainly deserve a bit of hibernation too.