“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
-Percy Bysshe Shelley
Second morning waking to the loathed music of winter: the hard shovel scrape as it delves into the iced-over snow and against the un-plowed driveway, the copper ice pick plunging perpendicularly against the wooden steps leading home, the rusting trucksspeeds over the street-sewer leaving a trail of dirt in its wake. I lie motionless in bed while an orchestra gears up outside my window: the nights’ cold splintering, breaking, the morning breathe rude against the window, intrusive.
Winter comes hungry after Christmas’s green and dying leaves delighted us; we spent the Holiday afternoons running around the reservoir, walking the dog to the local coffee shop-the shovel still neatly tucked in the garage among the sleds, the bags of pastel salt unopened. Yet, Winter comes with her frothing snow, her pellets of hail, her early moon, her wind-chill. Winter comes with her severity.
But sometimes when Winter comes she brings more than solid-precipitation, single-digit temperatures, and mustard-yellow sleds. For some, Winter brings with her, seasonal depression, or as it is otherwise known: Seasonal Affective Disorder (whose acronym taunts SAD). Perhaps this a term familiar to you, or perhaps this naming of this disorder is one you find simply unsurprising. According to Dictionary.com, winter is “a period of time characterized by coldness, misery, barrenness, or death”; Winter is defined against the warmth of the cackling fire, the romance of pines’ wafting scent, and her snow-glowing ground.
Doctors suspect SAD is caused by the hormonal response to the decreased number of hours of sunlight- an unavoidable truth we who love the sun cannot refute. We who are excited for December 21st to pass, we who are hopeful for the steadily increase of sunlit hours. The symptoms of SAD are similar to those of depression: less energy, trouble concentrating, increased appetite, weight gain, desire to be alone, trouble concentrating. Treatment for SAD varies; some Doctors recommend natural remedies such as early morning walks, others recommend an increase in Vitamin D (through supplement), and others recommend prescription anti-depressants or light therapy.
This morning as I huddle myself between fleece sheets, and an excess of fuzzy blankets, I attempt to outline Winter through it’s positive attributes. This morning I craft a list of the positives of Winter, a reminder:
White hot chocolate. Homemade soup. Surprise mistletoe kisses. Fuzzy socks. Fleece sheets. Glistening icicles. Holiday lights. Bee’s absence. Ear muffs. Glittens. Skating. Sledding. Crisp smell. Winter woollies. Pets in sweaters. Rosy cheeks. Smooching. Flannel layers. Fat moons. Red Fox. Tea-kettle moan. Acorn Squash. Fresh journals. Knitting project. Obvious breathe. Bootprints. Big pockets.
Though I acknowledge that reading or writing a list of Winter’s beauties is in no way a cure to a medical issue, I probe my reader to tackle the exercise. Only a week out fromNew Years, I add one new tally to our list of goals and resolutions: find, remember, and explore the good of and in Winter.
Unlike flowers, we do not have to wait for the passage of Winter to bloom again.