The Fall is a neat time of the year. It’s fascinating to watch all the suburban animals in their preparations for Winter. I go out to take the garbage to the curb and the biting cold has me scurrying back into the house post-haste (It would help if I put a coat on, I guess). But it always makes me wonder how the animals do it. We humans can barely survive a few hours in the Winter cold and these creatures manage to do it all the time. Oh, I get it intellectually; I did my undergrad as a joint major in Psychology and Biology so I know about hibernation, estivation, and migration.
It strikes me that every living thing seeks sanctuary. The concept of sanctuary is different from just shelter, although shelter is a part of it. Sanctuary is a combination of safety, protection from the elements, and basic comforts. In Yoga relaxation exercises, we are asked to mentally go to a favorite place such as a beach, or grandma’s kitchen. But these places just capture comfort; I prefer to think about places of sanctuary like the monk’s cell on Mount Athos after a gruelling 7 hour mountain hike in the rain. Exhausted and chilled, I lie down in the small, clean cot in my tiny room with its pot-bellied wood stove in the corner, and fall into a profound sleep.