By Shirley M

“Newton’s first law states that every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force. This is normally taken as the definition of inertia.” *

I open my eyes and look out the window. The sky is cloudy and the day is dark, cold and gloomy again. Under the covers, on the other hand, it is warm and comfortable. Flannel sheets – what a wonderful invention! One of my cats has climbed into bed early in the morning and is now snuggled against me. We warm each other. She realizes I am awake and lifts her head, looking straight at me as if to warn me not to move because she has just found her perfect spot. I understand her perfectly!…

I open my eyes again. Today the sunlight enters our bedroom and bathes it with a golden hue. I can see from the bed that the sky is a light cerulean blue. This morning my cat is not snuggling against me. Instead she has assumed a position by the window and is performing important surveillance of the neighborhood’s robins and house finches that swirl around the tree in front of our house.

There has been a subtle change – most of the juncos have left our birdfeeder for the season, and the starlings have stopped descending on us like a flock of delinquent teenagers. When we see the red-winged blackbirds building their nests in our neighbors’ air vents, we will know that Spring has surely arrived. But for now, we wait.

I can see some green leaves peeking out from under the blanket of dry leaves we laid down on our flower beds last Fall. There are some crocuses getting ready and a couple of stubborn (daffy) daffodils that since mid-January have apparently been using their leaves as periscopes to inform themselves of the weather.

I feel subtle changes within myself as well. My hunger for comfort food has somewhat subsided. I still just want to eat hot dishes, but the cheese laden recipes seem somehow a little heavy now. There is also a nebulous idea appearing on the periphery of my attention. I am supposed to do something… What is it?… I blink several times trying to sweep away the cobwebs in my mind. Ah yes, everything is coming back to me now; it is already that time of the year…

Every Winter my Self starts slowing down until, at the height of the Season (Jan/Feb), it completely stops. It is as if all of my engines have stalled: My mind becomes hazy, I have no energy and I feel as if I were 110 years old. Everything I set myself to do during this period takes double or triple the effort and time. I feel, instead, very sleepy and languid. As temperatures start to rise and Nature starts showing the first signs of Spring, I come out of hibernation and use all my resources to consciously create momentum that will re-initiate movement and propel me through the coming months.

In my years of fighting inertia, I have gathered a vast collection of books, articles, advice and experiences to help me with the job. Nonetheless, every year feels like a novel experience. Where should I start from this year? What is going to motivate me? It is a time for introspection and self-analysis, and an opportunity for planning the future. This is the time to scatter the seeds of what I want to accomplish this year.

Hopefully, when the irises are in bloom and the peonies have formed their buttons, sometime in late April, I will be back to full speed.  

*Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion, as explained in