It's from one of my favourite books, Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer. In this chapter he connects the natural seasons to the seasons of our lives. Here are his thoughts on winter. A year after my first posting them, they seem even more meaningful and relevant to me:
"In the Upper Midwest, newcomers often receive a classic piece of wintertime advice: 'The winters will drive you crazy until you learn to get out into them.' Here people spend good money on warm clothing so that they can get outdoors and avoid the 'cabin fever' that comes from huddling fearfully by the fire during the hard-frozen months. If you live here long, you learn that a daily walk into the winter world will fortify the spirit by taking you boldly to the very heart of the season you fear.
Our inward winters take many forms -- failure, betrayal, depression, death. But every one of them, in my experience, yields to the same advice: 'The winters will drive you crazy until you learn to get out into them.' Until we enter boldly into the fears we most want to avoid, those fears will dominate our lives. But when we walk directly into them -- protected from frostbite by the warm garb of friendship or inner discipline or spiritual guidance -- we can learn what they have to teach us. Then we discover once again that the cycle of the seasons is trustworthy and life-giving, even in the most dismaying season of all."