Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter blues

The above is not that.

Today is a sunny but cold day. Unfortunately, it's still rather gray inside. I have realized that these long Maine winters do indeed get me down. It's not just the lack of light, and the cold, but the urge to hibernate. Activities that sound good in theory, especially when they are at night, are hard for me to go to. A twenty minute drive in the dark on a snowy road seems like a very long drive indeed.

Winter is six months long here. That is just too long. It is not just me who feels this way - a hefty bulk of the population becomes clinically depressed during this season. The crisis beds and psychiatric units fill to capacity, and they triage carefully (or not) because there is simply not enough room for all those needing help. The state should distribute sun lights to everyone. I wrote that in jest, but I bet that it would ease many a person's winter blues, or cabin fever as they call it here. Maybe our crazy high level of domestic violence would go down (and the high rate of alcoholism, substance abuse, smoking. . .my, this state isn't the wonderland that visitors see, is it?)

Maybe everyone should take up spinning wool. Just taking photos of my latest skein made me feel good. That one was labor intensive. Those strips of fabric hanging off it are hand-tied. Unfortunately, this lovely silk doesn't photograph well because of exactly the thing that makes it so lovely. It's colors appear to change, depending on the way light hits it. I'm sleepy, and there's a word for this phenomonem, but I'm so sleepy that I can't even think of how to google it, nor do I remember what the name of this Indian silk is. Sigh.


jmcleod76 said...

Yes, winter is hard. I would have scoffed at that statement when I lived in Pittsburgh, a mere 700 miles southwest - "Winter, ha! WInter is a piece of cake. You can always put on more clothes when it's cold. Big deal!" My first couple of winters here weren't so bad, but I've learned to dread winter in Maine, even for all of its beauty. It's brutality wears me down as undeniably as water shapes stone.

BitterGrace said...

When I left home to go to college in Massachusetts, I was shocked by the cold, and always wondered how the heck people lived in such a hostile place before the days of automobiles and central heat. And my friend from Maine used to marvel at how much easier the winters were in Massachusetts. You guys have my sympathy.

Julie H. Rose said...

I don't mind that it's bitter cold. I find damp weather in the 30's much less tolerable. What I do mind is six months of bleakness - I find that grueling. The stretch between February and May is rough and that's 1/3rd of the year!

I think, as rough as it was, those who work(ed) the land may find it different. I did when I raised sheep. It forced me outside and I was more in touch with the subtlety of the season. Living here and living a life that isn't actually tied into the rural nature of the environment makes it much more of a battle. Seems counterintuitive, but I really think this is so.

But of course, being here and eking out a life on the land IS much harder than doing it in a more southern place! Those who do are hardy indeed! I know I can't do it anymore. That's why people used to have kids - to take over working!

I bet that wasn't the response you were expecting.

I like what you wrote, Jaime, "as undeniably as water shapes stone." And this is where we choose to live, in a place that wears us down? Hmmm.

jmcleod76 said...

The dark is definitely part of my struggle with winter and the accompanying wish to hibernate. Before I moved here, I never would have believed amount of darkness. I wake up in the dark, start my day in the dark, and get ready for work in the dark. Daylight, mercifully, arrives by the time I drive to work, a little before 8 a.m., so I get 10 minutes to view the usually obscured sunlight before spending the next 8.5 hours in a windowless box. When I leave at 4:30 p.m., it's as black as midnight out. And M. wonders why I bitch so much about having to spend so may hours at work ... Terribly un-Zen of me, but there you have it. This bear wants to be napping!