Originally posted January 9, 2010:
I’ve noted before that, for me, winter brings with it a tinge of melancholy. Nowadays, we call it Seasonal Affective Disorder, I guess. When November comes and the daylight gets noticeably shorter, I pull inside a little bit, become somewhat morose. By the time of the winter solstice, when our daily ration of daylight is at its least, I can struggle.
There’s no real antidote, except for the lengthening of daylight hours that begins with that solstice. From that day on, as we finish December and head around the curve of the new year, each day’s light is longer than the previous day’s. The increase comes maybe a minute at a time, so it takes maybe a month or so before one really notices that the light arrives earlier in the mornings and hangs around longer in the evenings. The gloom can linger until those daily minutes add up.
But there are things that help. One is the general busyness of the last half of November and all of December, during the time when we’re heading into winter. Keeping busy does distract one, and even though the holiday season is now done, I still have plenty of tasks and pastimes to keep me occupied. Another help is that, come January, we tend to have more sunny days. It’s cold, certainly, but the month generally brings more sun than did the two previous months. And we have windows enough in the house to be able to let the sunshine in when those sunny days arrive.
And if those things aren’t enough, all I have to do to tamp down my current gloom is to remember how it was ten years ago this winter. I was unemployed, dealing with a chronic ailment difficult to diagnose and difficult to understand. I had not yet acquired a ’Net-worthy computer, so I did not yet have access to the various on-line communities of folks that now enrich my life. Friends called and visited, of course, but I still spent a lot of time alone. And my apartment was on the northeast corner of the building, which meant that for a good stretch of weeks, I had direct sunshine through my eastern window for only a few minutes a day. It was a hard time.
Remembering that time helps me recognize that, even with my regular wintertime blues, the life I have now is so much richer than the one I was leading then, what with the love of my Texas Gal, the friendship of those I’ve met through this blog and other venues online, and, yes, creature comforts as simple as windows on the south side of the house. Even in the short light of winter, life is sweet.
I really hadn’t intended to write about that time of ten years ago, but I was going through songs with the word “cold” in their titles this morning – it’s still seventeen degrees below zero at half-past nine – and came across a song that reminded me how I felt that winter. And it’s good to recall that, because remembering where we’ve been can only help us see more clearly where we are.
So, with that in mind, here’s your Saturday Single:
“Cold Winter’s Day” by the BoDeans from Go Slow Down