To withdraw. To curl up in a big ball and nap. Even in the afternoon. To dive beneath several blankets and snuggle down for a long winter’s sleep. To eat a lot and then sleep and not care about the extra 5 or 10 pounds you are accumulating because it is winter and you can cover and conceal and ski-pants it all into a facsimile of sleekness (like an extra healthy seal).
It’s that time again, Moab. Hibernation time. When there aren’t enough hours in the day to stay awake that long anyway, so why not get up at 8, nap at 2, go to bed at 10 or 9 or 8?
Winter! The precious ever shrinking low/no tourist-weeks when you can do a u-turn (I never do that of course, but have observed others doing so) on Main Street or go to City Market whenever you please instead of trying to get to the produce department before the tour buses do.
It is winter and I love it because I love to hibernate and this is the one time of the year I can admit it to all the people I love/admire, the avid hikers and bikers, canyon rappellers and rafters and say “My name is E. J. Gore and I’m a hibernator.”
I am not as eager to proclaim this in all the many “active” months of sun and fun, when yes, I do hike (okay, day hikes) and become more of an out-of-doors kinda girl (when I am forced to weed the yard or enjoy sitting by the river watching the rafters). But since this is my time of year, let me attempt to convert you to the joys of hibernation in winter. Or, “Why Hibernation is Good.”
Winter hibernation is guilt free. I know from personal experience. Yes, you can ski or snowshoe or ice skate or freeze your patootie off hiking. Or you can let it be known that you are not doing any of these things because it is freezing out there after all, or you have a terrible cold. Or know someone who has one. Or think you might get one. Or that you have heard that there are massive avalanche warnings.
Hibernation is creative. You can learn new things that you don’t have the time or the inclination to learn when it’s summer and as my mother used to say, “hot enough to make you get religion.” Making soup is one way to be creative. (We do not make soup in the summer. Unless it is gazpacho. We made it once.) Making hot mulled wine is another delicious and creative pursuit. Note: Try not to make wine first or soup will suffer. Reading all the books you keep swearing you are going to read. Writing or finishing the writing of a book like I am supposed to be doing right now but not doing is creative. So is knitting or other kinds of needlework while you binge watch every series you’ve ever not watched on Netflix or Amazon Prime. You are being productive while you are being creative while you are hibernating. Fabulous.
Hibernation is a time saver. You can’t weed, or plant tomatoes or do all the other stuff in the yard or garden that you do when it’s warm. In fact, you’ll save so much time not doing these things that in the spring you might decide not to do them then either. And will become even more efficient at getting to the produce in the store before the tourists do.
Hibernation is a perfect time to procrastinate. While there are many creative things that are fun to do, there are so many things that you can put off and you are not just irresponsibly putting them off, you have a very good reason for doing so. Who really cares if that tool shed ever gets cleaned out? Or that closet that you were going to clear out after Christmas? It still has stuff for next Christmas in it. And if you do all this stuff now, what are you going to do when it’s time for spring cleaning? Why do you think everyone calls it “Spring Cleaning?” Because you didn’t do it in the winter. That’s right.
It is my hope that I may have converted you to the wonderful ways of hibernation. Because it’s my dream that someday there will be, indeed a great “Hiber Nation,” one that makes good soup and reads and all the other things that will “Make America Hibernate” again.
E. J. Gore is the author of “French Lessons, the Art of Living and Loving Well” available at Back of Beyond and a devout hibernator.
“My name is E. J. Gore and I’m a hibernator.”