Monday, January 30, 2012

Emergence from Hibernation

Standing alone against the night

I first noticed this behavior here in the mountains of New Mexico so I cannot speak for it occurring elsewhere or not. But here we all seem to go to ground right after Christmas. Almost as if the demands of that season put too many stressors on our social networks and manners. The only communication there is seems to be via social networks, hallow e-mails, and a phone message or two.

No lunch dates, no running into each other at the store, or in Santa Fe (oddly enough us mountain folk seem to meet up there a lot), or get together requests. A drive through Angel Fire to the post office reveals no friendly cars or known associates. Nor is the post office its normal meet and greet site.

Then suddenly, somewhere around the 25th of January heads pop up not unlike a ground hog checking on the weather. You see old friends at a Taos grocery store restocking on depleted supplies, get an invitation from a friend for a girly night pot luck, call a friend to go to Santa Fe with you, take a few chatty and long phone calls, load the dogs in the car for a walk in town on the public paths, stop in for a quick mocha and end up sitting with the old gang.

I don't believe this 30 day vanishing act is weather dependent. We live in snow country so we get out and about in all but the worst of storms. Besides this part of January is generally what we term the January Thaw. Days are in the 40's and nights just below freezing. The snow is subsiding and larger and larger parts of the earth are exposed. Mud becomes an issue.

Nor is it task related unless reading and watching re-runs are on your task list. I have read four ebooks this month, and pawed through my DVD collection for my favorites, rewatched old shows on streaming video. It is almost like a downtime for recharging the batteries, taking stock of just where you are energy wise. Winter is not over by a long shot. In fact some of the February and March storms can bring the most snow. But the nature of winter has changed on an almost primordial level. Deep within us we know we are heading toward spring. And we seem to all know it at the same time. It is as if we are celebrating that the coldest and darkest part of winter is behind us.

And it isn't just us humans. Bears are known to take a vacation from hibernation about now and check on the status of things. Visit a few old dumpsters. Flocks of our winter-over birds seem to be everywhere. Ground hog day is February 2nd and we know if there will be six more weeks of winter or not. Imbolc, which celebrates the return of light and warmth to the earth, is February 4th. There is some rhythm to life those of us who live close to the wilderness sense and respond to.

Us humans believe we are masters of time and place. We control our environment in cities and tall steel and glass buildings. Do those that live in such artificial worlds respond to the pulls of the earth like those of us living on the edges of the forest? As we come out of our caves, houses and cabins to sniff the air are we responding to some ancient shift in the axis of the earth?

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