Last call for hibernation

Time for “a long winter’s nap”?

By Morf Morford, Tacoma Daily Index

I have long believed that we should do as many other mammals do – hibernate, or at least go into a slower, moderated pace in January.

There are many reasons for doing this.

From inclement weather in many places, to post-holiday depletion for most adults (and certainly the majority of children), January is by default, for most of us, a month of recovery.

I have addressed this issue before in 2022 and 2021.

There must be some intergovernmental agency in charge of such things, or perhaps we could all contact our local and regional political representatives, or maybe develop a citizen-based initiative, but whatever the process, we need to make it known that “we the people” (and a fair amount of animals) have recognized something that most of nature has known for millennia – we should all hibernate in January.

Feeling dormant?

Much of nature goes dormant in the winter months. It is a time for re-grouping, re-organizing, even re-calibrating, getting ready to set forth into the coming spring prepared, rested and, like bears and other creatures, hungry and energized to face the challenges and needs of a new season.

It certainly seems to me that the challenges and opportunities of spring will require, even demand our full energy and focus.

If not full-blown hibernation, perhaps we could all (or at least most of us) dial it back a bit and operate at something like half or three-quarter speed.

As you may have noticed, over this winter, multiple schools, airports, highways and business have closed for a variety of reasons.

Whether it is ice or snow, technological glitches or some viral infection, all the forces of nature (and beyond) seem to be telling us all to slow down.

It is not by accident, after all, that January is one of only two months with two federally recognized holidays. We need them. (November, another dark and stormy month, is the other one.)

The long dark

With most sun rises close to 8 a.m. and most sunsets well before 5 p.m., most of us who go to work or school leave home in the dark and get home in the dark.

In between sunrise and sunset we don’t get much sun anyway.

January is consistently one of our wettest and coldest months.

It’s a good month to bundle up. Or even curl up.

Birds do it. Bears and bees do it. Let’s do it.

Squirrels gather and hoard food for the winter.

Bears gorge as much as they can before they huddle together in a quiet and secluded place.

Even birds, whether they migrate or not, look pudgier than usual for the season.

And, of course, some people we may know are inclined to pack on a few extra pounds thanks to the “treat season” that falls between Halloween and New Year’s Eve.

It’s almost as if we have an instinctual motivation to stock up, pork out and curl up.

After all, if bees and bears hibernate, maybe we should as well.

Netflix and nap

You’ve certainly heard the term “Netflix and chill”. I propose a new one – “Netflix and nap”.

What could be better, after all, than something like a near universal sabbatical, not necessarily a vacation, but a time when we, like the natural world around us, move at a slower pace, appreciate each other, re-focus on our goals and intentions for the new year?

Many of us aspire to resolutions of more exercise or time outside, or increased engagement with our communities.

Spring is the optimal time for those things. January is the time to plan, re-group and prepare for a more successful, memorable and rewarding spring – and a more fulfilling entire year.