Making A Case for “Chrysalis Time”

Screw YOLO. Between Instacart, Netflix, and box wine, why go outside at all this winter?

By Amy Martin January 25, 2016 Published in the February 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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Image: Amy Martin

It’s finally winter. Your bathing suit has been in storage for several months now. No one is bugging you to go to the river or show up anywhere with a fruit salad. Unless you adopt a litter of kittens (, no one is going to give a damn about your Instagram for the next four months. This is Chrysalis Time, when you can retreat from the world for a weekend (or month!), create an impenetrable temporary home around your softening body, and rebuild your internal life. This is a precious gift, and I am just the hypermonastic indoors person to help you unwrap it.


It can be as small as a loveseat or as big as your bed. Make sure to start with clean clothes and sheets. A Blue Steel Napsack from PDX outdoor shop Poler could be considered both. Oxygen is surprisingly important—crack a window so that you don’t inadvertently become depressed.   


If you’re cocooning for a weekend, one corn pizza and kale salad from Dove Vivi will keep you alive (and happy). Did you eat through your stores? Instacart ( will deliver more food to your door. Farm to Fit ( can set you up with three healthy prepared meals a day, shrimp and spinach gnocchi to stuffed French toast. SoupCycle ( will bring you exactly what you’d expect—by bike. Water is important, but boxed wine is more important; Bandit’s clever packaging seems designed to be sipped while hiking (gross), but you can totally drink it lying down. Advanced caterpillars might prepare a flask or a one-drink minibar (I like old-fashioneds) for their cocoons, and that’s OK, too. Remember, you are like a tree, fallen in the forest. No one cares.


Feeling tortured? Process out the past 10 months in a journal. Write terrible, lusty poetry about your coworkers. Read a book: Life After Life, Fates and Furies, and The Interestings are all semirecent, satisfyingly sprawling, and can be knocked out in a weekend. Up for some binge-watching? Nothing says 20 hours of sitting like a 10-part PBS documentary series. If you’re looking for comfort eye candy, you can’t do much better than The Great British Baking Show. Find superpowered catharsis in Jessica Jones, transport to other worlds with Doctor Who, fall in love again with Sports Night. Roll the dice and search “expressionistic documentary” on YouTube. Then climb into your nest, pour yourself a drink, and settle in for a serious emotional journey. Soon you’ll be a butterfly.

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