This week brought snow and ice and snow pants and little gloves and hats and boots and scarves and…well, the feel of winter. I love the way the weather moves, not just outside us in the trees and clouds, but inside of us as well. Snow, the cold wind, and the early sunset move something within ourselves. The seasons remind us that we are not “contained between our hats and our boots,” but are influenced by wind, light, and the visual differences that the changing weather brings. A bare tree feels different than a lush one. A field of green grass conjures a different feeling than a blanket of snow.
I love noticing the nuanced behavioral changes we see in the children at The New School Montessori when the weather turns cold. Children eat a little more. They can be energized by the snow and feel more on edge because they are stuck indoors on bitter cold days or during their lesson time. Dr. Maria Simonson of Johns Hopkins noted that a falling barometer results in an atmosphere that pushes down on the body, constricting capillaries, and can cause a reduction of oxygen to the brain, possibly resulting in children’s behavioral changes. Children move from the sandbox to snow mounds. Autumn huts – built with dry honeysuckle branches – transform into little igloos.
In short, we are not self-contained beings but rather permeable ones. Who we are in the winter forgets who we were in the summer. I love the expansiveness that nature brings out in us. It allows us to embrace and celebrate the Walt Whitman quote, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
Enjoy the weekend and all the “yous” that move within you and your children.