Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered.
A moving personal narrative shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May's story offers instruction on the transformative power of rest and retreat. Illumination emerges from many sources: solstice celebrations and dormice hibernation, C.S. Lewis and Sylvia Plath, swimming in icy waters and sailing arctic seas.
Ultimately Wintering invites us to change how we relate to our own fallow times. May models an active acceptance of sadness and finds nourishment in deep retreat, joy in the hushed beauty of winter, and encouragement in understanding life as cyclical, not linear. A secular mystic, May forms a guiding philosophy for transforming the hardships that arise before the ushering in of a new season.
"A beautiful, meditative book...It feels like Katherine May opens up exactly what I and so many need to hear but haven't known how to name." - Krista Tippett, On Being
"There is power and clarity and wisdom to be gained from accepting these difficult times. Wintering offered me empathy, acceptance and perspective that will stay with me long after the pandemic." - New York Times
"Honest and deeply sympathetic...proves that there is grace in letting go, stepping back and giving yourself time to repair in the dark...May is a clear-eyed observer and her language is steady, honest and accurate--capturing the sense, the beauty and the latent power of our resting landscapes." - Wall Street Journal
"Wintering succeeds in delivering a powerful, realtime account of what it is to experience life's inevitable winters -- both literal and metaphorical -- and come out on the other side. I can think of no more valuable voice to have in your ear as we stumble our way out of a pandemic and emerge from a collective wintering." - Popsugar
"May writes beautifully....A contemplative, hopeful, consoling book." - NPR
"Lovely...May is an astute observer of life's emotional discouragements." - New York Times
"A gorgeous book, a generous book, a layered book of uncommon sensitivity and substance...A splendid and soul-salving read." - Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
"Drawing on her own life's difficult periods, May offers a guide to leaning into fallow times and savoring the lessons of hardship." - People Magazine
" Wintering is every bit as beautiful and healing as the season itself. Katherine May thoughtfully examines the emotional, spiritual, and geographical reality of the cold times, the dark days, and those periods of our lives when things are neither soft nor easy. In so doing, she offers a great and humane service to her readers: she shows us that wintering cannot be avoided, but need not be feared. This is truly a beautiful book." - #1 New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert