Hibernation is a state of minimal activity and metabolic depression. Hibernation is a seasonal heterothermy characterized by low body-temperature, slow breathing and heart-rate, and low metabolic rate. It most commonly occurs during winter months.
Lately, I’ve become envious of those animals that can just go into hibernation and ignore the outside world. Between the pandemic totally disrupting our lives both physically and socially, and the history-making political shenanigans and crises, I’m house-bound and unnerved. I think of it as B&G, bored and grumpy.
Politically, I don’t think either conservatives or liberals can possibly be happy with our national state of affairs. All the norms are broken, the fate of our country is in doubt from both internal and external forces, and everybody is pissed off at someone else. Socially, I’ve mostly self-isolated with the exception of a few shopping trips for necessities (groceries, liquor and Starbucks). We have several routine Zoom calls to try to keep our social life intact, but some days there’s really nothing to say. Our Zoom friends in England feel the same – just dealing with Boris rather than Trump. These interactions remind me that we’re all suffering to some extent, but also provide a shared sense of joy and humor.
In addition, lately here in Colorado we’ve had multiple snow storms and very cold weather. It keeps us inside; I think we just lack the energy to fight the weather. I now understand a bear’s urge to just hole up in a cave somewhere.
But how to explain my lethargy and B&G when it’s been warmer and nicer outside? Wikipedia defines aestivation as “a state of animal dormancy, similar to hibernation, although taking place in the summer rather than the winter. Aestivation is characterized by inactivity and a lowered metabolic rate.”
So, my lack of energy and bad attitude includes both hibernation and aestivation. Good to know that it means I’m actually just another mammal, and not merely a bad person. (Although I suppose I could, be another mammal and a bad person at the same time.)
I think people deal with this kind of stress differently. Some feel the need to do, to get out there and do stuff! I have those urges, but they seem to be offset by an overwhelming tiredness, a lack of purpose. Maybe if I were employed, the obligation to get out there would be enough of a driver. On the other hand, I don’t know that I could face the additional trauma of dealing with the threat of and restrictions for covid in a workplace. It’s tough enough here at home.
So, I’ll just pretend I’m hibernating here. I’ve got the newspaper, a running game of Solitaire, email and Facebook, crossword and jigsaw puzzles, piles of unread books, Netflix and cable TV, video games and a warm companion.
I suspect the bears would envy me…