Before modern society provided the convenience of grocery stores and refrigerators, winter was a time that required conservation of resources and energy. New crops would not be available until warmer days so people rationed their stores of potatoes, beans, grains and other foods that can be kept for long periods of time. They conserved their energy. Before the invention of electricity, sundown was a signal to wrap up one’s affairs for the day, and get extra rest because even keeping warm when it is cold outside requires a little more energy.
Consider how much time you spend on a daily basis relying on human-made lighting. Now consider that many of the body’s natural circadian rhythms depend on external stimuli of light and darkness. From inside your office or den, there may not be any visible cues to signal time of day or time of year, and even if you can see out the window that it is night time or it is winter, the bright lights indoors are enough to interfere with healthy sleep and seasonally appropriate lifestyle.
In this fine season of winter, the darkness is welcome. It is a metaphor for that which is unknown. It resonates with fear (and courage). At this point in nature, much of the flora above ground appears to have died. Trees go into dormancy. Animals go into hibernation. Seeds that have been buried prepare for all the springtime activity that awaits. Winter is akin to the concept of potential energy—it encourages us to replenish our reserves so that we may be poised to spring into action when the earth thaws and the moment is right.