In Summer We Play, In Winter We Stay: Living the Rhythm of the Seasons

Lewis Carroll Quote -

Creation follows a sustainable rhythm, year after year, but we charge on in cycles of our own making: productivity, busyness, stress, burnout.

The pulse of the land beats undetected while we burn artificial lights late into the night.

If we can sync our days in and days out to the natural rhythm of the seasons, will we be happier people? I think yes.

Since moving to Michigan three years ago, Eric and I have realised that winter and summer are the dominant seasons. Spring and autumn are glorious, but they’re short. They crescendo for a few weeks and then are engulfed by the looming season on the other side.

We’ve found that these two prevailing seasons are best lived very differently from each other. The plants and animals know this, but we humans with our schedules and technology forget.

It ought to be simple, really: In summer we play, in winter we stay.

Yes, I know there are times of activity in the winter (I do love to go out for a bracing trek across the snow-covered beach). But the colder weather, the time it takes to bundle up or to drive in the snow, and the shorter days urge us to slow down, to rest, to bundle up under quilts.

In summer we can also rest lazy sometimes–it wouldn’t be a true summer without occasional boredom or a reptilian bask on the beach. But more often than not we dance all about, wherever the wind blows.

What do these seasons look like for you? Do you revel in their differences? Do you invite a change of pace when the seasons turn? This is what it looks like for us…

Tree in Summer -

In the summer, we play…

By scouring the woods for raspberries and blackberries, by roaming the sand dunes on the Michigan shore–climbing to the view and then running down into the cold lake.

We play by eating fried shrimp and taking walks along the pier. Riding on the bike trail and stopping for ice cream afterwards.

By escaping to Mexico together. By loading the Camry with camping gear and adventuring across Manifest Destiny.

We play by taking long walks in the evening when the light goes on and on.

By throwing open the balcony doors and walking out with bare feet and glasses of iced tea.

We play by climbing aboard tall ships and dreaming of sailing to Norway.

Tree in Winter -

In the winter, we stay…

Wearing cozy sweaters and eating in, instead of out. Chinese food and green tea while we watch our show and the cat purrs.

By making 1…2…3 hot drinks throughout the day and sipping them slowly.

We stay by leaving up the Christmas lights all through February and turning them on each twilight.

By cancelling plans of driving anywhere when the snow builds up.

We stay by baking treats in the warm kitchen. By eating hearty, heavy meals like soup and fresh bread.

By playing games at the table and camping out in the living room in piles of pillows and blankets.

We stay by checking off indoor projects long on our list.

Living the rhythm of the seasons helps us to live simply, to savour HERE and NOW.

[question]Your turn! How do you follow the rhythm of the seasons?[/question]


  1. This is so beautifully written. I can picture this as you describe it. I do need to learn to enjoy life’s seasons as they come. Thank you very much 🙂

  2. I LOVE this post, Elsie! It definitely resonated with me. Very poetic and inspiring. I never really thought about living life in the rhythm of the seasons like that… but it makes perfect sense, and it’s very freeing. And it also makes sense to me now why I’ve often felt frustrated when I’m out of that rhythm. Good thoughts and good writing!

    1. I think it’s something that Litzer and Rose understood. Getting older, you loose touch with things like this…but they can be recaptured.

  3. Kind of funny, because we do the opposite! Plant and animal needs are less during the winter, so we tend to do more travel during the winter, and we stay put on the homestead during the spring-summer-fall months.

  4. Great thoughts! We moved out to our acreage about a year and a half ago and we’ve been trying to hold to the same mentality. At this point, I’ve just tried to use winter as a season of rest and reflection, of catching up on inside projects and gear up for the activity of summer.

  5. I love this! Our life is kind of similar. I definitely spend more time outside in warmer weather. Being students, winter is busy for us with work and studies, and life is more restful during the summer– although still busy, in different ways.

    Thanks for linking up! 😉

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