“Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.” ― Katherine May
With beaming sunshine and summer temperatures finally warming our campus, it may seem like an odd time for me to talk about wintering. Isn’t now when we put the cold months behind us?
However, the wintering I’m referring to has nothing to do with ice and arctic temperatures. The concept of wintering, rather, refers to a time of withdrawal, rest, and self-reflection.
It’s something I learned about during a panel discussion TQS hosted with Dr. Russell Barkley, Dr. Robert Brooks, and Dr. Cheryl Chase. During the discussion, Dr. Barkley explained that all people require periodic, deep rest, and that this concept is explored in the book “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” by Katherine May (which I, of course, quickly picked up after the event and devoured in days).
In the book, Ms. May describes many of the fascinating ways nature survives the winter – from bees who drop their wings and take turns heating the hive, to deciduous trees losing their leaves in the cold months – and she ties these beautiful survival strategies to our own human existence.
We, too, have honed our survival tactics – and one of them is called summer break.
Yes, in school we start wintering in summer. Summer break is a time of long days, bright sunshine, warmth, green trees, flowers, swimming, playing … and recharging. It’s a time we all need – students, parents, faculty, staff – to close down and rest and re-become ourselves. By doing so, we allow ourselves to return in the fall with joy and delight, ready for another incredible year of learning and growing together.
So in a few weeks when school breaks for the summer, I urge you all to step away, relax, reflect, be with your loved ones, and show gratitude. Visit with your family and friends, attend that wedding, take that trip you’ve been planning for years. But more important, stop and rest. Retreat. Winter. You deserve it.
This has been a wonderful school year, and I thank you all for helping to make that happen. (Especially our devoted faculty, who give so much of themselves each and every day!) Now go have a lovely time wintering in the sunshine.