• Sarah Ratermann Beahan

Breath of fresh air or impending doom?

I love winter. Despite being born during the dog-days of summer, the most anticipated days of the year for me are the ones cloaked in softly falling snow. My favorite day of the year is December 22, the day with the longest night.

Most people find this confounding. Why on earth would you chose dark over light, cold over warm? I have lots of practical reasons (you can always put on more clothes to get warm, but you can only take so many off to get cool), but the real reason is I like the stillness and isolation that winter invites.

I’m a do-er by training. Both my parents are do-ers. My dad might be compulsively so—he just never stops doing. He comes from strong German stock, and his work ethic is just as you would expect: tough, exacting and uncompromising. Ratermanns don’t kick back and relax until all the work is done, the tools are cleaned and put away and the workbench is tidied and ready for tomorrow’s projects.

This has served us well. Businesses were constructed from nothing, houses were built, ladders were climbed. But it’s also tiring. And when the days are shorter, so too are the workdays. And there is more time, to sit with a cup of tea beside the fire and contemplate or just stare into nothing.

In my adult life, I have worked (there’s that word again) to find a bit more balance in my life. To find the stillness in the hot summer days as well as the chill of December. But my affection for the winter remains.

As I walk my dogs in August of 2020, the year of the pandemic, I find leaves laced with red and gold. When I would normally think “ah, here comes the breath of fresh fall air,” I find the telltale signs of anxiety rising. Because since March I’ve been in stillness, isolation and quiet. As the summer waltzed in as it often does in Minnesota, always a little late to the party, we were distancing ourselves. Summer raged on, and so did the distancing. And now, rather than looking forward to the quiet after the revelry, I feel as though the festivities never happened.

As fall creeps up on us, so does the uncertainty that we’ve tried hard to shush. The pandemic rages on, the election looms, and Black and brown lives continue to be destroyed at a heartbreaking rate. If I don’t work hard, any one of these issues could drive a wedge between me and almost anyone I know. It’s a divisive time.

And so, I’m thinking of the ways I can work to bring people together. I know I will need it, I DO need it, and I suspect others will too.

Join me for the Deep Dive. We are going to keep working towards taking care of ourselves. Coming in November, a choose your own adventure virtual retreat. And some collaborations in the mix. Lets stay connected, it might save us.

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