I can feel the way the soft underbelly of winter makes us all a little more raw, more tender, makes us turn in a little closer to ourselves. More permission to rest, get quiet, be still. Grief sits closer to the heart and marks our face with saltwater and truth. Fewer answers, more questions. The crisp air brings clarity. Deeper gratitude for sunshine and candlelight. The patience to turn bone to broth, to chop wood and stoke fires. Warm the body with wool and whiskey, with stories and snuggles and laughter that make the oxytocin flow like milk and honey. The sharp pangs of longing and desire will make the belly growl and the mind restless. More time to feel all the things that sun-chasing and summer exuberance distract from. The Gregorian call for new beginnings and intention setting feels at odds with the natural rhythm to instead die a little death and stay there for a while. Wade deep in the waters of the underworld, all of our wild tendrils sinking into the subterranean as mycelium running. Emotions composting into fertile ground that puts dirt under our nails. There is a beauty in the coming undone, in the sadness, the stillness, the darkness, in the way our heavily clothed bodies become even more naked under the long cold nights, and work a little harder to tend the inner fire.