The winter season is known as the dark season because it is the season of the year which has the shortest amount of daily sunlight. With the sun not rising right now until nearly 8:00 in the morning and setting by 5:00 in the evening, it makes for a lot of darkness, especially to those who commute to work each day. In the natural world, we know that winter allows the soil to rest and replenish, and it gives foliage a way to rid itself of old growth in order to make room for the new growth of spring. Trees appear stark and barren, as if they were dead, yet we all know that life pulses deep within their roots. The energy that is needed for plants to replenish themselves lies deep within and underground. In many ways, winter is the most important season because nature’s foundational work is being done. Ursula LeGuin once said: “Our roots are in the dark….Not in the light that blinds, but in the dark that nourishes, where human beings grow human souls.” Winter is a time to be especially compassionate to ourselves and to others. It is a time to share the warmth of a fire and of a smile. As a Japanese proverb states: “One kind word can warm three winter months.” Winter is a time where “grace growth best,” according to Samuel Rutherford, so allow yourself to be in accord with the rhythm and the patience of this blessed season.