Pondering the Plants of the Winter Solstice

The pine stays green in winter…wisdom in hardship.

Norman Douglas

The time between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice is my favorite time of the year.  The days decrease in their duration of darkness until we celebrate the return of the Sun and the stretching of solar seconds, lengthening our lot of light.  My time living in remote Alaska was life-changing and being alone in the depths of darkness was a trigger for transformation. Darkness lends to our longing to slow down – restore ourselves in rest, reconsider our purpose, rekindle our passion, and root ourselves in the rhythm of nature through reflective time outdoors. Many of us bring the outdoors in, decorating our spaces with a selection of seasonal, celebratory plants.  Reconnecting with nature through these beautiful, bountiful botanicals can cultivate a deeper sense of discernment, desire, and direction as we depart from darkness to light.

Conifers, particularly pine, spruce, cedar, fir, and juniper, are symbolic of the winter season. Many of these species live in cold climates and their glorious shades of green are refreshingly restorative juxtaposed to the sleepy, surrounding scenery. Each are delightful in their scent and texture and can arouse a multitude of memories. Beautiful and sensuous, conifers are also resilient. Their needle-like leaves preserve water. Flexible branches bolster the ability of the persistent perennial to withstand the weight of snow, bending, rather than breaking. 

The holiday season and the ensuing winter months can be difficult for some. Colder days, a deluge of decorations, dollar signs, and other duties can weigh us down with worrisome thoughts and wavering self-worth.  We are brittle with burden.  In the season of lessening light, let us purposefully bring nature in. We can rejoice in her beauty, rest in her peacefulness, reconnect to her rhythm, and release the heaviness of what no longer serves us, restoring our resilience. Like a graceful collection of conifers, we bend without breaking.

Published by Sarah Croscutt

I am the owner and facilitator of From the Outside, LLC, a program that connects people to the natural world, themselves, and each other through plant and nature-based activity, promoting self-awareness, healing, wholeness, and community. In addition, I am an environmental writer with essays included in several anthologies published by Plants and Poetry Journal and Wild Roof Journal (online). I would love to connect here or on Instagram @sarahc_outside.

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