03 February 2011

in praise of hibernation.

I was inspired by these thoughts in a recent post by Miss Sarah:
"In these winter months my attitude towards transportation is much more defensive than it is offensive. The application of some perspective on moderation suits me very well, and since I don't particularly prefer driving, I only do it when I must. One can embark on the quest for sustainable transportation practice in a variety of ways. I like consciousness and choice. And sometimes I choose not to go out at all as a way to save a car trip.

Instead, we have fun in our neighbourhood doing hibernation-like things instead of battling the roads. Watching movies. Having brunch. Walking the dog on a sunny afternoon. Spending time building mega blocks towers with Dexter. Ordinary stuff that we should be careful not to take for granted."

The last month has probably been the least bikey of the seventeen I have lived in Philly. Between my trips to Boston and Salt Lake, weather, and illness, I have had a handful of bicycle commutes into school and only a few opportunities for bike errands. Although the lack of exercise (with its attendant mental health benefits) has been rough, I am fortunate on a number of fronts:

-I live in a neighborhood with a number of amenities in walking distance, including great bars, a grocery store, a liquor store, and a number of friends (and not to mention, all of Center City).

-I live several blocks away from a subway line that takes me directly to school and work. While it's not my favorite way to travel, I appreciate being warm and dry. I have biked a lot less this winter because I live on a direct public transportation route, but I have also been a lot happier not showing up on campus completely soaked and miserable.

-I have a roommate. Living with someone does much to temper cabin fever. We've gone on walking excursions in the snow (the hamburgers / Apple Store / liquor cabinet restock adventure was a favorite). We've enjoyed plenty of cocktails at home watching foreign films, RuPaul Drag Race, and 30 Rock. Cooking projects abounded. And perhaps best of all-- he went out for groceries when a cold completely knocked me down. A good roommate is far more useful than a car!

So let me just add an amen to Miss Sarah- hibernation in the winter is the way to go, whether underground or at home. Location is key-- living in an urban neighborhood is a critical component in maintaining a sustainable, car-free lifestyle year round. Bikes are a part of it-- a key part of it during most times of the year- but it's nice that when weather makes biking inconvenient, dangerous, or impossible to have a number of ways of getting around and living a comfortable life.

weeks of hibernation meant a momentous and hoarder-like trip Trader Joe's. Putting those Walds to work!


portlandize.com said...

Something related that I've thought about lately, is that if everyone had to move themselves around on their own power, I bet they would be much more likely to stay home and rest when they really need to (because of sickness or exhaustion or whatever) - because they couldn't rely on the engine of the car to get them places without any effort. Sometimes I think it's important for us to realize and accept healthy limits, and the overdependence on automobiles I think has been one of the biggest factors allowing us to ignore healthy limits for ourselves.

Kara said...

I like the term hibernating a lot better than being lazy or a wimp. I look forward to spring!