So look, bear’s do it, why can’t humans?

I think that hibernation is a perfectly viable way to deal with winter. You eat a lot, hunker down in a nice cozy spot, and wake up when the joy of a green spring arrives.

That works for me.

Merriam-Webster defines hibernate: to pass the winter in a torpid or resting state; to be or become inactive or dormant.

That sounds about right.

Whether I want it to or not: winter is on the way. Fifty-five degrees at six this morning. That’s not too cold for windows to be open and going to bed last night the crisp air felt good and the sounds of the crickets are a good lullaby. Automatic windows, like the settings on the thermostat, would be good. At four a.m., they’d close and the house could warm up a bit before my feet hit the floor. If only.

Autumn and spring both seasons of anticipation. In the spring we have buds on trees and bushes and new things pushing up through the ground. The world moves from bleak and stark to full of flowers and expanding leaves. In autumn, colors turn to the deepest shades of orange, yellow, red … the leaves show off. I collect them as they fall on the ground and pick up acorns to create fall motifs on the dining room table.

But my pleasure in our eastern autumns is too short as winter sneaks in rapidly behind it. Cold, sunless days keep me inside when what I want is to be out, out in the warmth of sunshine, playing in the soil, weeding, planting, rearranging. 

Ten years in sunny Montana and only one of those winters was sunless. We here in Pittsburgh seem to have more gray skies than any other. As the warmth fades, I look longingly at our deck and sigh. This summer was so full of torrents of rain and high humidity that it was the least time I’ve ever spent enjoying the deck. It’s pouring as I write this afternoon—we haven’t seen the sun for five or six days. I’d fall over in shock to be blinded by it. 

In Montana, the winter thermometer often reads cold, but the sky gives you the bright promise of a balmy sunshine on your cheeks. In western Pennsylvania, the winter gloom is more pervasive. It’s that nose-freezing, finger-hurting, can’t breathe kind of deep cold that seeps in everywhere. It makes me want a fireplace that I can dash inside to and stand before while I thaw out. I’ve been known to shed a pathetic tear or two before gearing up to shovel the sidewalks and driveway, always thankful for neighbors who notice Alex’s vehicle is missing and help me with this chore. 

Why can't humans hibernate? Ugh, #winter is coming. Click To Tweet

The version of hibernating that I get away with is to snuggle into a pile of blankets, grab a cup of tea, and lose myself in a good book. The downside of that enjoyment is that I make little effort to get out to see friends. One boring winter, I debated taking a swimming class. The thought of being out in the cold, changing clothes, getting wet, getting dressed and going back out into the cold seemed like a tad too much and I can get by with doing the doggy paddle and breaststroke, right?

Winter makes me think too much. There’s less activity, no planting, weeding, mowing, watching pretty colors grow up through the soil like what happens in the springtime. Being less active seems to make my brain work even more.

Like I need that, eh?

So hibernation. Bears do it and no one thinks they’re slackers for the habit. Can’t we humans indulge … just a little?