Why it’s ok to hibernate in winter

By Maria Doogan

Many people believe that the seasons are caused by the earth’s distance from the sun. 

That in winter its orbit takes it further away from the sun, causing temperatures to plummet, and that conversely, summer is when our planet is closer to the warmth, thus warmer.

In fact, according to NASA’s suspiciously colourful and playful website, this is not true.
Just so you’re not left hanging with uncertainty over what actually causes summer and winter, I can confirm that it is, in fact, the earth’s tilt that is responsible. Earth has seasons because its axis doesn’t stand up straight and different parts of the Earth gets the sun’s direct rays at different times of the year.

So back to winter. It’s cold. It’s windy. It’s wet. It’s grey. And it’s here.
Scientific explanation/rationale/justification notwithstanding, winter presents us with the ultimate “if you can’t control it, let it go” type scenario. We know we can’t control it, make it go away, tilt the planet in the opposite direction by all of us stamping our feet and concentrating really hard. 

The tilt is here to stay. At least for the next two months and a bit.
How we respond to this is remarkably similar. At least among the people I see on my commute. Looking around me I see resignation, I see making do, I see making the best of, I see indifference, and sometimes, when the sun comes out, I see happiness. 

Rarely, aside from the few seconds when people enter the tram from outside, do I see grumpiness, disgruntlement or anger. People don’t rage about the weather. We accept it, and we try to move on. Work. Job. Turn up. Be reliable. Don’t be a sook. Blah blah.
But we don’t have to turn up after work. After we’ve all been grown-ups and done our stint at work, shown up, been accountable, ticked off our task list and fulfilled our key performance indicators (KPIs), we can walk out the revolving door, get home, take off our wet coats, damp gloves, kick off our shoes and get into hibernation mode.

The softest tracksuit pants, the most worn jumper, the threadbare t-shirts, the thick woollen mismatched socks. The drawing in of curtains, the shutting out of the world, along with the cold. Bring it all on.

My winter evening hibernation is the reason I have read three books this month and exhausted nearly all the content on my streaming service. I have half knitted a scarf for my son (he doesn’t like it and says it’s “itchy” but I’m going to force him to use it). I have a fridge full of homemade stock, rekindled some friendships from couch side phone chats, while sipping tea and/or wine. Sure, there’s the extra kilo or two I’m packing away under my over-sized coats but it’s a small price to pay for some hibernation time.

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