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Earthworm Hibernation + You

On a blustery, midwinter day do you ever wonder where the earthworms are? I do. Naturally, winter behaviors vary across species but when a state of pseudo-hibernation is attained for earthworms it is called estivation. I dug into this notion of comparing the tensions of deep winter human habits to those of placid wriggly fellas aerating my compost pile in the warmest months. Below are the spoils. It rolls in at about 1,600 words. Let me know if you have thoughts or feelings. ~Rockosopher

Swiping the page, you strike a list of winter woulds, marking against them are contrasting coulds, better nots, mindfully tarrying away from painful shoulds, and slipping into an accounting of supposed-to-be-doings. This is a gentle corrective action asserted when the midseason lethargy of absolute stasis unexpectedly affronts you, as it does now. You have come to the eve of the eve of the close of a fragile year. Presently, an oozing temptation to faff away your ripe dormancy looms.

What will you do with what you would have done if these months were not still a period of rest? Presented thus, you stare down with pale interest at your scribbled laundry list of supposed-to-dos. A tangential step out from these sacredly silent days. What one is supposed to do is often separate from that which one supposes to do, and even a shocking gate and amble away from what one might do as a product of further suppositions.

Assuaging this morning, in its meditative hush, you are brittle to the possibilities of another year's turn over. A timer bleats. The simple button reducing plastered walls again into muted thuds of snow sloughing from the roof. It is not yet the solstice. However, the days are abbreviating more rapidly and still loafing along with a radiated sky purpling equitably to the coils of cool tones coloring each cuetailing winter day. The striking down of your persuasive list tightens your stomach. You grope for the fish flakes and with a sprinkle the corner of your lips crack with a lighthearted grin. Your attention reclaimed into the present by this innocuous act of care. One way you retain routine. Suspicious to the incipience of knotting yourself into blankets, you roll your chin to the left in a stretch of the right neck and shoulder, freeing a wild yawn and thus bringing all normalcy back in to traditional winter practice.

The residue from Thursday's culinary catastrophe is scraped again into the yellow bucket, the tools of cooking cleaned and slotted into their rack to dry. Presently, the necessities have been addressed. The dog removes himself to the living room, with a huff and slouch, throwing himself against the mat but not upon it.

The day is young even if the year is tired.

Time, seemingly stagnant, trickles through a colander of behavioral cues in the palm of your winter schedule. Rising in the dark, the gift of a vibrant sunrise illuminating half of every day. In the living room, a surprise dusting occurs. You cannot stop it, the cloth crawled into your hand after you noticed the twin mantels between the living and dining room are bare. They ought not to be. Can you wait for them to redustify and then, overcoming the alien impulse of today, hide the cloth and enjoy the cloaked

wood as it rests under a powder like the world outside? How things are done seems to be unwinding strand by delicate, unobtrusive strand in the slack of inaction.

This is far from the time of year for that. Coffee with milk, always with milk. Though it is one of the first to run out at the store, you pour milk gluttonously over the rim of your mug without concern for stockpiling.

Deterring to reflect on why opportunity wound up on your back this morning, a doze in proper form is taken until noon. The book with home renovations that are supremely impossible at this time and in this climate rolls under your flippant pursuing. A coffee table book is the ideal medicine to right this inclination toward doing back into a healthy, supine torpor.

Your pleasure is curtailed by an untimely flurry of exuberance at retiling and grout scraping, lawn trimming, warped board replacing, woodpecker discouraging, and compost churning. You pass the book back onto an appreciably dusty shelf, exchanging it for a drawing pad and five random colored pencils. These are the ones made with cedar wood, the artists pencil nubs from a previously successful wintering. Another hummingbird for the stack. Again, constancy wins out with subtle attention reduction to when or why tasks must be done at any given time. How exhausting to be bombarded with so many happenings to black out the wellness of simmering quietly with a huffy dog sleeping against, not on, his mat.

Creaks of pressure changes mean the ambient air temperature outdoors is above zero and that means an outing can be made to remove any foulness competing for the smell of nothing on the first floor. Something like emptying the recycling or swamping the compost after a stab with the shovel. No, not the compost. A pile as prominent as the one propagating into offshoots in summer is an enduring champion as it is. Stealthily keeping itself unfrozen insulated by a layer of snow and furiously metabolizing an unseen world within. A species of self-regulation prized among the domestic arts: composting. The fate of your saturated grounds rededicated by worms and soot and earthy humors.

You put the pencils aside, leaving