Hibernation of the Introspective Mind…

“The world isn’t a place to be defined, especially in winter. The cold gives you a name. You are Old.”

Bear Amulet with silver chain.
Bear Amulet: Autonomy, Freedom, Protection.

With a blink of an eye, time changes like an arrow flying through the sky. No matter who you are or what kind of vitamins you eat or what kind of lotion you buy, time is the winner in the game of age. I lived a pretty hard life and never slowed down once. I get bored easily if it’s not inspiring or motivating. I guess you might say I burn on both ends – hot as hell at times – simmering at others and sometimes just plain ole’ mentally burnt to a crisp.

When they made me, they made a hyper kid that doesn’t sit still…

As winter begins to nestle into the wild valley of Taos and the sweet scent of pinon wood smoke wafts through the valley.
the touch of snow on the peaks is clearly seen.
Winter in Taos does give you a sense of admirable scrutiny. You wake up slower, you move a bit like the light from a lantern, your hazy gaze lasts a bit longer and the sunrise isn’t as powerful as it was when the late summer sun was fighting its waning flight.
The handsome new white and blue corn girl friends are smiling, flirting on their drying racks, and the newly harvested beans are also laughing as they receive the heat of the distant sun in their little shell skins. What’s there not to love when hard work looks and feels like a kiss from the corn maidens?

It’s time to settle the bones,the mind and the heart and for me it starts with handy work.
When the long nights settle in, I start to reflect on design and dust off the ole sewing machine and dig out the latigo and deer and elk skins. Within the slight down time, I actually have a bit of inspiration to work on some sewing maybe design a new amulet, work on moccasin orders.
within the quite-ness of my handwork i began to wonder off, day dream of things to come and the outcomes of things unexpected:

As the smell of beans, Bear chicharon and Chico’s (partched corn) cook;

The first random thought;
I think this season I will do more winter camping in the high country, hunt some deer or elk and get the horses on the old trails. Nothing more beautiful than riding down the mountain side singing round dance songs and looking at the town lights in their little sparkling beauty. I figure you are only as strong as your suffering, ice cold on the saddle, fingers frozen, mountain air so cold it pushes your breath down, pant legs frozen from fresh blood. However, that is when the songs come into your soul, squeeky saddle rhythm the unbending cold sound of snow crunching with every step. That’s when the thoughts of loved ones are pure and the unbending, unnecessary thoughts crack away in the ice. These are the times when culture comes alive in the soul.

Second randomness;
I wake up differently now. I enjoy my age now because I finally feel like my wild child mind has caught up to my unstable heart and unforgiving body. It’s only in the winter time that I contemplate the aging process. My aches are not as many, but there are more than I would care to talk about. I still have all my teeth (three) and my eye sight isn’t as vivid to the up front views. Either my arms are getting shorter or my eyes are losing their wonderment too close up… heehee, I don’t mind. I have kicked this life in the ass, and it has done the same to me. It was a good fight, and some of you witnessed it.

Third contemplation:
I stumble around like a big ole mama brown bear. I walk in to the kitchen and start the Vita-mix for the morning juicing. Lately, I have been working on some recipes, making some middle eastern style ala Mirabal lunches for the girls. Sometimes it’s Mexican style food, sometimes it’s traditional pueblo style soups other times it’s japanese sushi. Everywhere I have been I will find some spice that can enhance their taste buds to the world, other times it’s a standard turkey sandwich.

bear amulets burping plums
Bear Amulets talking corn.

I wonder out of the day dream thoughts look at my sewing, smell the Beans simmering on the stove, its amazing how even the taste of food is different in the crisp quicking of the changing season.

I feel we chose these elements of winter darkness of the soul so that we can understand the gift – our own light.

We will lose faith many times when life has ripped us apart more times than a bad wreck, as the people you loved stare in disbelief yet never fight with you. However,
Life keeps going and seasons keep going things will go on no matter what I do, and I’m not in charge of anything, or any outcome…

The winter brings a name. Yes…it also brings mama bear’s introspection. It brings, without shame, the moments of clarity.
If you’re lucky, and if you were strong enough, patient enough to understand what you prepared for in the summer and fall harvest, and hopefully it will carry you through the deep introspective mind of winter.

In our hybernation and all the warmth and beauty of the fatness of knowledge, your dreams of a better tomorrow will be the driving force, charging through the dream world out of a another icy wickedly cold winter leading us into another spring run off.

Stay Warm, especially in the heart. It’s time to sew moccasins…


28 thoughts on “Hibernation of the Introspective Mind…”

  1. What a great way to start the day….reading this inspiring writing…. It did help bring into perspective some things that I need to think about, things to do…..Bear is also very important to me…..Thanks for sharing this….it’s a lesson well taught.

  2. Stay warm Mirabal, I am 41 myself and swear I am shorter than I was a year a go lol. You are right about taking longer to get up especially if you are in a nice cozy warm bed with your better half. Blessings.

  3. Greetings Robert. Enjoy the Makwa (Bear) hibernation time. May your fire be warm & comforting during the chill of the coming winter season.

  4. Getting closer to 60 and feeling the slowness creeping in my bones. I love winter though, I feel more alive and spend a lot of time wandering in the woods…..
    keeping warm….

  5. Thank you once again amigo. When the Sun only shines on our Head for these fewer hours. When it’s dark during my morning walks and dark on my evening walks (when I take them), I am thankful for the Moon’s reflection, but the Light can be dim. The call was a nice little nudge. Self reflection is one thing. To see one’s self through another man’s eyes… that’ll keep you honest.

    Man… camping in the high country in winter…

  6. Beautiful descrition… can almost smell the wood fire and beans… Its funny tho also as i move into summer days.. you move into winter… fall and winter are my favorite seasons.. id move around the world it i could to avoice full summer… we don’t get along real well… Winter is the season that brings me to life… Hugs my friend.. Blessings to you and yours…

  7. Your stories touch my soul, thank you. I would love to see a recipe sometime of your pueblo style cooking. Blessings to you and your family.

  8. Great writing, thank you for sharing. I almost got excited about winter simply based on your descriptions. However, truthfully, I would like to hibernate just as the bears. I really do not enjoy anything about the winter season. Much peace and love…

  9. Hey Robert,

    I consider winter to be a time of introspection also. Love the fact that you take us along for your journey. You write so that the reader feels like they are going through it with you. I understand the Mama Bear..feeling every crack or sore muscles. Love to hole up during the winter with my warm blanket, cup of hot coco and a good book. How could it get any better than that…wait..I forgot the chocolate covered cherries with the liquid center ! Now we are ready for hibernation and introspection !

  10. Loved it!!!! I was thinking as i was living through your writing; Damn!!! I am very strong !!!! especially if your only as strong as your suffering…winter time is definitely a time of reflection for me and i have always joked with people around me, that i’m in hibernation mode…It’s a time to slow down and reflect on chooses and decisions i have made throughout the year and consider the new year approaching and what i can do differently as well as better!!
    Very romantic time as well when you have loved ones to share your adventures and stories with.I coud go on and on here of how i feel about winter time and how it speaks to me; as it is quickly approaching!
    Loved your humor on eyesight as i know all to well and thought it was lol funny and the teeth(three) HeeHeeHee!!!!!
    Stay warm by a slow burning fire and I will as well and believe me Many will be outside where i love to spend time at night watching the stars shine and feeling the cool crisp wind blowing through the trees and listening to every sound….LIFE IS SUCH A ORCHESTRA OF MUSIC IF WE WOULD ONLY TAKE THE TIME TO BE STILL AND TRULY LISTEN!

    Thanks Again,

    Paula R.Abalos

  11. Yours is one of the few blogs, writings, I reading fairly regularly. Being an upstate New Yorker, sometimes I find it hard to believe that the Taos even has a winter. It is on my bucket list to visit. It is a strange relationship you (Robert Mirabal) and I (being your collective fans) have. I cannot speak for anyone else, but in my case…it started with A Painted Cave, watching pbs one day, something spoke to me. After years of a wild, free, wonderful teenage frenzy, into my early 20’s, raising a child, looking into different spiritual ways of life, searching, seeking answers, usually only bringing more questions, something drew me in. Years of rock concerts and and hanging out with very eclectic free thinking, interesting people, yet this native american, on tv was calling to me. So I bought a ticket. The rest seems to be some strange spiritual “friendship”, I’ve been to see you, every time you have been close. Everytime. Ethel, Troy Music hall most recently.
    First time, we were all younger, more beautiful, more light in the eyes, less life under our belts, last time…we are a bit more refined, still the same people, behind the eyes, yet more wrinkles, needing longer arms, heee heee :). But there is a feeling of “Hello long lost friend”. I know this is different for you, because you are the hub of this “spiritual wheel” from my perspective, yet of course, I alone am not, but the collective fanbase, I think must feel similar to me.
    I have watched your children grow up, while watching mine, this little side family, that has no idea I even exist or care. I’ve come to feel as if your wife, Dawn is one of my “girls”, someone I feel the need to check in on. This is a strange relationship on my end, as it must be for you all as well. There are so many different kinds of fans, you have the “accidental fan” such as myself, although we all know there are no accidents. Then you have the fans of the native american culture, I am not one of them. That sounds wrong, well you know what I mean, I’m not a native american “groupie” and we know these people exist. I don’t feel the need to embrace a lifestyle and heritage that is not mine. But I do respect it. Admire it. Understand it a wee bit more, because of “knowing” you.
    Ill summarize here, I just wanted to let you know, 1 fans perspective, of the strange little cosmic adventure we have all been on. There it is. I hope you enjoyed. Felt the need to give a little something back.
    Laurie of the Upstate ny peoples 🙂


  13. Wonderful words as always. I turned 50 this year so did a 50 day hike in the Olympics. Your music and stories were a great companion during this hike. I even brought my flute. Winter is my traditional hiking season and eagerly await the quiet and beautiful snowy landscape.

  14. You write so beautifully, it always makes me cry. Thank you for what you do and who you are; you are appreciated. Namaste.

  15. Robert, I think the bear is my “totem”. Like so many of earth’s creatures, they seem amazing to me. If I buy one of the amulets, will you send me a brown one? Thank you for the poetry and open heart and “take me there” words. I will find some pinon wood at Lowe’s and burn it and pretend I am in New Mexico, in Taos, even though I am thousands of miles away in North Carolina.

    Smiles and blessings to you.


  16. Robert- I realize at your age you are thinking you’re getting old, but at my age I know you are just a pup!! You’ve got a long way to go, mi amigo!!

  17. Robert, I am in the same place right now. In fact, my next book is entitled “Meadowland” It is book two after my “Dance in the Woods” I will write one more in a few years about old age. I am now in my Meadowland and this book is about taking the things I learned in my life, tragedy and good and using those things to help cope during this transitory time of life that can be just wonderful. A comfortable time, a happy time. I too am going up on the mountain behind my home. I have been there often with my dogs but now I don’t feel it is necessary to climb all the way to the falls, the Meadlowland is just fine. It is a metaphoric journey, much fun and very cathartic. Hey, thanx for starting the mocassins, my imprint is on the way.

  18. Great Blog! Thank you for sharing the winter stories…When will you do a cookbook! I would love to know your cooking secrets.

    Blessings to you this winter!


  19. Hi Robert,
    I really enjoyed this blog. I do love fall and winter. As soon as the leaves turn crimson and gold my senses are awakened. The cool crisp breeze refreshes my spirit and I feel so alive and energetic. I am told, I am a polar bear, there may be some truth in what they say. I love the fall sky it is almost as blue as the Taos sky, but then, who am I kidding. I adore the sky above Taos and the clouds your magical clouds. One of these days, I will have to visit in the fall and winter. For now I will eat fresh baked pumpkin seeds as I watch the setting sun. I love our ocean in the fall, all the summer hustle and bustle is over and the beaches are calm and quiet. The islands seem so close you could reach out and touch them. Enjoy fall and winter, let them rejuvenate your spirit.
    Love and respect,

  20. Thank You for sharing This with us… Its always beautiful to read Your thoughts & whats going on with you… Take Care .. Stay Warm … In the North here. about this time we have such a harsh winter… but it seems pretty mild here 🙂

  21. Beautiful writing as always and I look forward to reading your blog. You never fail to make me take notice of my own feelings at the same moment. Your words are like music to me as well, moves me.

    I also come “inside” for the winter. The gardening and long, lingering, warm sunsets are becoming a memory. Wood is stacked to burn for the next 6-7 months in two wood stoves here. My husband’s labor on our place and his love of trees keeps us comfortable without need for other fuels. We live in a log home we built together in the Finger Lakes. The Bear Claw area of NY that many don’t know about (yes I am glad).

    The aroma of pure foods cooking at your homestead have such reference to comfort in the soul, kindles our spirit to rest a little. I also come inside to my sewing machine and my room of creative expression. My eyesight has been irritatingly trying to delay me working so hard on my mind’s projects. I also burn at both ends and agree with your overall feeling in this writing, thank you. Stay and warm inspired friend.

    Denise Gail

  22. Good morning Robert 🙂
    Thank you for this inspiring writing and beautiful, beautiful description. I truly do love your blog. It always makes my day. I love winter. It reminds me of my childhod and my belowed grandparents. They are living in my heart together with all memories of snow, valleys and mountains around our home.. Thanks to them my spirit will always stay young.My face might be older than before but my soul have no wrinkles. 🙂 Take care and stay warm my dear friend. I send you and your loved ones many blessings from Croatia.

  23. Osiyo Robert-
    Looks like Papa Bear Mirabal, the white bear that visits in my dreams, and the mama black bear that regularly comes into my Trinity Alps (CA) retreat all remind me to rest and prepare to birth in spring. A seasonal ritual of my music and artwork.
    I too burn the candle at both ends and HA sometimes from the middle too. I’ve lost some of my spine to titanium implants BUT – still have some of my eyesight, all my hair, and most of my teeth. Well, okay, some of them.
    HA – Sometimes I can’t keep up with myself. But I’m reminded to sleep along side white bear, feel her heartbeat, the slow rise and fall of her breathing, the security and warmth of her fur, and just cloe my eyes and breathe. Spring will come of it’s own accord.

    Wado for the reminder!

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