Snow-covered Slumber

I love to watch the fine mist of the night come on,
The windows and the stars illumined, one by one,
The rivers of dark smoke pour upward lazily,
And the moon rise and turn them silver. I shall see
The springs, the summers, and the autumns slowly pass;
And when old Winter puts his blank face to the glass,
I shall close all my shutters, pull the curtains tight,
And build me stately palaces by candlelight.”
~Charles Baudelaire

weatherI’ve mentioned before how I’m a Midwestern gal who likes my four seasons. People think I’m crazy for liking winter and disdaining summer. I’m not crazy…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. When summer is in its full blazing glory I’m completely miserable. There’s only so much a body can do to stay cool. So yes, I prefer winter.

To me cold weather means soups and stews and baking something delicious to warm the house. It means snuggling under blankets with my husband. I love his colder body temperature melting against my much hotter skin. I find it particularly humorous that after a few minutes of that he’ll struggle to get out from under the blankets, tossing over his shoulder something like good god, you’re like a furnace! I am, and he’s my heat sink. I suspect he’s waiting for me to spontaneously combust. lol He even gave me a Chillow for Christmas. 

Last year was terrible — too cold even for me. That dirty mountain of snow in my driveway was higher than the roof of my car and so frozen solid that it sat hogging parking spaces until the warm spring air of mid-April finally melted it away. Well, winter has officially returned. Last night brought several inches of snow.

I can’t speak for everyone, but sleep during a snowfall is the deepest sleep I can have. My husband feels this too. Maybe it’s because we’ve lived in the quiet wild for so many years. There are winter mornings where we’ll both wake together and one or the other of us will comment about sleeping soundly and the realization always follows with, it must have snowed. Most times it did indeed snow. Like last night.

black-bear-I have a theory on this deeper sleep with snowfall — Mammal hibernation. Hmm…hibernation might also explain how easy it is to gain weight in the winter. After all, bears gain up to 30 pounds a week before they sleep. An interesting fact about bears — adult females have their young while hibernating. By the time the family emerges in the spring, delicious things to eat are getting plentiful. Mom goes in chubby and comes out visibly thinner.

All mammals with a tendency to lay low in the winter months have their own specific style. For example: bears experience winter in sort of a twilight sleep while hedgehogs are totally zonked. This torpor allows animals to survive the extremes of winter because food becomes scarce and what is available has little energy value left to it. Hibernating species have built-in mechanisms to survive. Their bodies reduce metabolic rate and lower their body temperature, and all the while they live on fat reserves built up by the plenty found during the other seasons.

Life has its rhythms. Circadian rhythm is that 24-hour body clock — you sleep when your body tells you it’s time to sleep and become active when it says get moving. Circannual rhythms are something else. They include mating seasons and ruts, migration, and hibernation. These inner clocks aren’t fully understood by science but all animals feel their effect, even us. I felt it strong enough to sleep an extra two hours and now I’m blogging late.

Here’s an oldie that explains the hibernation process well.

RB4U purpleI blog the4th of every month at Romance Books ‘4’ Us. My post is still up this week. It’s about an unusual hobby that led to reading tea leaves. Come see!

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About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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