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  • Writer's pictureGaili Schoen


"Perhaps through all those years at school, or perhaps through other terrors, we are taught to ignore sadness, to stuff it down into our satchels and pretend it isn’t there. As adults, we often have to learn to hear the clarity of its call. That is wintering. It is the active acceptance of sadness. It is the practice of allowing ourselves to feel it as a need. It is the courage to stare down the worst parts of our experience and to commit to healing them the best we can."

My last read of 2020 was Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May and published by Riverhead Books. I loved this book. It was incredibly timely as we have all been "wintering" since last March: simultaneously hibernating, while opening our minds to new ways to survive and thrive within the confines of our homes.

May tells stories about events in her life that have forced her to retreat from her usual social existence, into quieter, more reflective activities, and how this process created opportunities for her growth and healing. Her stories are varied and interesting, and kept me engaged from the start. Between descriptions of travel, nature, family, folklore, the darkness and the light, there is much wisdom and coping inspiration for our current pandemic reality. I alternately read the hardback (which always feels like the most personal experience), and listened to the audiobook (which I enjoying during my walks and chores, as Rebecca Lee gave a beautiful delivery).

If you have enjoyed books by Annie Dillard or Anne Lamott, you will love Katherine May's Wintering. It's one of those books I will reread when facing dark days in the future.

"We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.”

Hardcover 256 pages, Audiobook about 7 hours.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 on GoodReads (check out our Ripe Reads Group!)


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