I am jealous of bears for a lot of reasons, and this time of year, the reason at the top of the list is hibernation.
Now, I realize the scientists like to argue about the finer points of hibernation, including what it is and who does it, but for the sake of discussion, I am referring to the general idea of hibernation.
From where I’m standing, it looks like a pretty sweet deal.
When considered as a lifestyle choice, it seems like the perfect setup. It embodies some of my favorite hobbies.
It’s no secret I enjoy a good meal. Bears, and other creatures that hibernate, get to feast like mad for weeks, eating everything in sight.
I concede I wouldn’t enjoy the menu of the average bear. Raw fish, bugs, and carrion just don’t appeal to me.
But, if I could follow Yogi’s lead and feast only on the contents of picnic baskets, that would be splendid.
I haven’t been on a picnic in ages, but I seem to recall picnic baskets are usually stocked with all sorts of delicious treats.
And, here is the beautiful part: after eating myself silly for several weeks, I would get to take a three-month nap. What could be better than that?
I love naps. I especially enjoy taking a nap after a big meal. I can only imagine what bliss it would be to take a nap that lasted three months.
It hasn’t always been this way, but lately, a day when I can take a nap is like a gift from the gods.
I don’t get much sleep during the week, so a 30 or 40 minute nap on the weekend is just what I need to recharge the old batteries.
On some very rare occasions, I have enjoyed the luxury of a two-nap day.
These are usually the result of awakening at some absurd hour of the morning, abandoning hope of getting back to sleep, and jumping into my day.
Then, a couple hours later, after a robust breakfast, I may have a chance to catch 40 winks.
After awakening bright-eyed and refreshed, I might go about my business for another several hours, and then have another snooze in the afternoon.
Days like that are like the Holy Grail of adult recreation.
I would have scoffed at such a program when I was younger, but with age comes wisdom, and I have learned to appreciate the benefits of a good nap or even two.
Hibernation, like all luxuries, is not without its risks.
Judging by the way I feel after a long night of sleep now, I imagine I would be extremely stiff after a few months in the sack.
It would probably take me awhile to get all the limbs loosened up and working properly again.
I suspect I would also be pretty darn hungry after three months without a snack, and that might make me cranky, if not downright ornery.
On the other hand, that brings us to one of the greatest benefits of hibernating.
I could feast like a king, sleep like a rock, and then wake up slim and trim and svelte as a dancer.
Creatures that hibernate often lose a significant percentage of their body weight over their long winter’s nap.
That has got to be the best weight loss program ever.
No special diets. No rigorous exercise program. Just eat everything in sight, and sleep it off.
That sounds easier than any of the weight loss schemes they advertise on TV, and the beauty of it is, hibernation actually works.
Critics might argue that one would miss out on a lot if one spent a quarter of each year hibernating, but based on what has been in the news lately, I’m not convinced that would be such a bad thing.
There are plenty of times after hearing about the madness in Washington and other places, I wish I could curl up in a ball and tune it all out for awhile.
Hibernation would allow one to do that.
A few months with no television, radio, computers, or mobile phones might not be so bad.
Perhaps it would even be possible to shorten the hibernation period so one would get the benefits without being out of touch for quite so long.
I’m no expert, but this seems like something the medical professionals might want to investigate.
I wouldn’t be surprised if tuning out for a couple months each winter made us healthier and gave us more energy.
Maybe what we need is not more pills or chemicals just more naps.
I think the bears have the right idea, and I wish I was more like them.