January 11, 2021
THE SEASON OF SOUP AND TORPOR
I’ve been thinking about how animals adapt to winter weather. Although I am not a wild animal in some ways winter changes my behaviors and thoughts. Throughout January, February and March thoughts of snuggling under a favorite blanket with a cup of tea or reading endlessly on my couch seems to cross my mind more often.
Am I like that chipmunk hunkered down in its burrow in a state of torpor? Like the deer, I wake to nibble or stretch. A thick and hearty soup elicits a notion of comfort during these months. Something that does not occupy my mind in June or July.
After contemplating my winter fixations, I began to wonder, what happens when you don’t live in an area that has seasonal changes like we do? For example, do you crave warm soup in Florida in the winter? Do you look forward to sitting in front of a fireplace while sipping on whipped cream topped cocoa in Australia?? Or is it a state of mind that belongs to us “change of season folks?”
Out of curiosity, I reached out to Maria, who lives in the middle of the east coast of Australia. Their winter temperatures from June to August are 50F-60F degrees. Maria said, “we don’t change our behaviours, we continue our outdoor activities and in fact bushwalking is more popular in the winter.”
As far as that fire pit with hot cocoa and marshmallows, it’s a no “because there is a high risk of brush fires occurring as a result of dry summers,” said Maria. No creature comforts there!
Maria did say up to 43 percent of Australian animals engage in torpor, an energy saving measure in short spurts. She mentioned animals such as dasyurids, quolls, dunnarts, bats, gliders, numbats, kookaburras and the tawny frog mouth owls. So, the wild animals get it there but the human ones don’t.
Overall, cravings of warm delicious crusty bread, chocolate sweets, desire for fires and cozy blankets increases for me. My winter seasonal feelings are not shared by Maria. Perhaps it is the cold that brings on all these thoughts for me.
What are some your winter cravings? I’d love to hear about them.
Get outside, stay warm and slurp yummy soup. Sue
Here are two articles you might find interesting:
Human Hibernation: The Restoring Effects of Hiding away in Winter.
The Difference Between Hibernation and Torpor