The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 18, 2014

A desire to hibernate

By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

— Do you feel like you are coming out of hibernation?  Think about it.

With the unusually cold and snowy weather we have experienced this winter, we probably all feel we were  hibernating. At least we did.  We stayed indoors about as long as we could stand it. We were ready to greet the outside world and go to the grocery store and get back to exercising at Jim’s rehab.

Sometimes, though, I feel that the bears have the right idea to just sleep out the winter in a cave until spring thaw. Bears hibernate during the winter to escape the dull, short days. They store up enough fuel (fat) for their nap and then don’t have a worry about foraging until spring comes.

Our desire to hibernate lasts only about one day. Try staying in your pajamas for 24 hours when you don’t feel real well, and you will think of all kinds of things you want to do. You will WANT to get out of that bed (cave) and do something — anything.

While we have been cooped up, I have polished and waxed our kitchen cabinets, cleaned drawers that didn’t need cleaning, sorted recipes, cleaned and checked the dates of everything in the cupboard and pantry. I have read several good books. I have cooked wonderful things. I have called wonderful people.  

Hibernation can be a real rest after all the decorating and undecorating for Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day. It feels good to get back to normal living and some real peace and quiet. It feels good to see the sun shining again after the week of bad weather.

There is something rewarding and peaceful when the short evenings of winter come. All we really want to do is hibernate and stay in our jammies and hover around the fireplace. What we are really seeking is a slower pace for a while, but the idea of actual hibernation quickly leaves. We need some sun in our lives.

Our dog has the right idea. He sleeps a lot but follows the sunbeams that shine through our patio door. He knows what basking in the sun can do for a person’s (or dog’s) disposition.

We need to be executing those New Year’s resolutions we so carefully wrote down and planned to do. They are now pushed back in the recesses of our minds. New Year’s Day 2014 came and went. Did we really change?  We had good intentions, but with the ball games and all, it was difficult to start that road to renewal. Now it is the Olympics that keep us glued to the television.  

No more excuses ... we are going to start anew. We cannot blame anyone but ourselves that we have overeaten and been a couch potato during the winter months. Be ready for spring!

I have found if we spend the day doing something worthwhile, like exercising and caring for our health, we find the evenings more relaxed and enjoyable. Evening is when we find relaxed projects to do, like reading books or magazines that we never find enough time for. We also take time during the day to feed the birds and watch them scurry around the feeders.  

In the olden days, people went to bed when the sun went down and got up with the sun when the rooster crowed. We would think it is difficult to do much by weak kerosene lamps, but our ancestors sewed, read, wrote and mended by that dim light. Their only heat was a wood stove that had to be started every morning. Preparations were made the night before.  

Until I was in high school, that was all the light and warmth we had and we got used to it — it was either that or nothing. Luckily, electricity and propane came into the rural areas by the time I was in high school. Now, we are so accustomed to these creature comforts we can continue into the night with a project we have started.

Hot chocolate just tastes better on a cold winter night curled up in front of a cozy fireplace. Chili must have been invented for cold winter meals. There are certain things that just don’s taste right during the hot months, like lemonade doesn’t fit in winter. Aren’t we fortunate to live in a state where we have distinct seasons to enjoy?

In spring, we burst out of our cocoons, but we like the feel of those warm, comfortable cocoons around us on a snowy evening in winter. I guess what we really want is semi-hibernation. We want to slow down and enjoy each evening and get lots of rest, but we don’t want to miss anything by sleeping our lives away.  We want  the best of both worlds. We deserve the opportunity to live a little slower-paced life. We have earned a rest but we don’t want to be withdrawn from enjoyable activities.  

Think about this: The world is a place of joy and beauty for most of us. Each season brings its special gifts and seems, on its coming, to be more beautiful than the last. Each day brings new experiences, rich in possibilities. Our days are filled with happy fellowships. Our lives are enriched by the tender attentions of loved ones, and are made worthwhile by the works we do.  

Winter, spring, summer and fall each brings its own beauty, challenges and rewards.

Take time during the winter to go in your cave and enjoy a little hibernation. Spring is on its way and planting time is just around the corner.

For an enjoyable meal on a cozy winter evening, try this soup. My grandmother made gallons and gallons of lye hominy for the Pawnee Indians, and I loved the hominy she made. Still do!

Hominy Soup

1 pound hamburger OR one pound sausage

1 onion, chopped

1 can white hominy, undrained

1 can yellow hominy, undrained

1 can diced tomatoes

1 package taco seasoning (or to taste)

1 can Rotel tomatoes

salt and pepper to taste

Cook meat until onions and meat are well done. Add other ingredients. Simmer until ready to eat. This is great served with corn- bread.  

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.