Tag Archives: Winter

On winter, seasonal affective disorder, and lack of self-perception

I’ve always liked gawking at those tiny houses online – so sweet! So perfect! So tidy and small and cute! How I’d love one, I think.

I wallow, again, in my insane self-delusion. I’d love a tiny house – for about ten minutes. I’d love it in the summer, where the great outdoors was easily tolerable and filled with life. Maybe even in the spring and fall, the warmer bits.

The idea of being in a caravan, light-footed and agile, appeals to me in various seasons, but never more so than now, when I feel trapped inside by a combination of cold, snow, ice, new knees, and you know, pure laziness.

Imagine a tiny house now….or say in DC today…


See, for me that just feels like hell. Cozy for a bit, but then I’d start snarling at the walls and dig myself out.

Of course, until lately (like last night, as I lay awake wondering what my post yesterday was all about when I have everything I could possibly want here and should just stop complaining about my wonderful life), it hasn’t occurred to me that my restlessness and desire for open spaces, changes, and such happens EVERY YEAR AT THIS TIME.

I like to think I am a bright woman. I like to think I have a smattering of self-perception. But this hit me like a bolt out of the sky. See, when I get my SAD symptoms, I eat badly, which throws my system out of whack, which makes me feel worse, which makes me eat worse, and so on. I drink too much, I eat sugar and suck back coffee, I avoid exercise, I just generally mess myself up. And then I realize this is no way to live and straighten myself out, around March. But in the meantime, I usually have done something foolish like booked expensive travel I can’t afford or plan to move to a different place, or whatever. It’s insanity and I am posting this now so that next year when I am feeling blue and restless in my delightful apartment in paradise by the sea, I will give myself a shake and get me some eggs. Or steak.

I already ran away from home. I ran here, because I love Nova Scotia. I love the sea, I love the people, I adore the way teenagers here say hello to you as they walk along the sidewalk, even if they have to speak through multiple piercings. I love the small view, the lack of self-important mindset. I can be myself here in a way I probably couldn’t be anywhere else, and everyone just puts up with me because that’s the type of people who live here. When I do my “yes/no” list of whether to move or stay here, yes ALWAYS wins.

Time to shake off these winter blues and get back to creative endeavours!! Creative cheap endeavours. You see, I’m still paying off the past winters’ foolishnesses….


Fallow fields

Tis the winter of my not writing…but for a change, it feels more like a resting field than a concrete parking lot.

I can feel the life under the surface, the worms and bugs and roots and earth, cold now, but resting, not dead. As in winter garden, there are still twigs standing, bits of last years’ life, shrouded with snow now and hoarfrost. They show me where the growth will start in spring, they direct my attention.

My writing field needed a rest. Sometimes personal and physical challenges are too much, and require a retreat from writing. I’ve focused on non-verbal creativity, and it’s been a welcome break. I figure it will be another month or so before the fields start to warm, begin to break into greenery.

The writing isn’t really an option. It will sprout when it needs to, as it always has in my life. I’m not sure about what will sprout this year – I know I’ll want to tend my perennials, but the big thrill is always the surprising plant that has blown in from somewhere, the one that calls the eye, makes the heart race.

I’m already scanning for tendrils….maybe a snowdrop will make an appearance….


Yin and Yang

images-13I’ve started a Tai Chi class, taught by a very soothing gentleman who is patient with our stumbles and questions and awkward poses. He may go home and snicker to himself, but somehow I doubt it. He seems suffused with calm. I find myself looking at him, wanting to get closer to his aura, somehow absorb it all.

But instead I try to memorize the steps, ease back and forth, move my arms around in circles, feel my body sway. It is wonderful, even as I miss steps and teeter.

He speaks a lot of Yin and Yang as we work, reminds us of the constant shifting from one side to another, controlling our weight as we move, maintaining a strong posture, holding the centre.

It’s all wonderfully applicable to this, my winter of discontent.

I’m not alone in the discontent, I think. This winter has been unusually harsh and we are already fed up, a lot of us, with the prospect of weeks and weeks of more winter to come. Add the usual and unusual trials of life and a lot of us feel buffeted, knocked off-balance, off centre and wobbly. We crave change, if only to alter the view.

And yet, change is already constant. The challenge in all, as in my Tai Chi class, is to keep centred as the changes happen, as we look this way and that, as we move forward and back, full or half-steps.

My balance is dodgy at the best of times. I race forward with enthusiasm and then find I am overreaching my abilities. I retract and grieve when really I should just seek balance in my new position, move into it or past it, stop fighting with myself as I go forward.

I need to remember that we naturally seek balance and I should ease into it, arms raised high.



images-12We’re waiting for another nor’easter to blow its way up the coast. In houses all over New England and the Maritimes, children are lying, breathless, under their sheets, waiting for the sound of snow.

The silent stealthy steps of snowflakes, tiptoeing around the house. The grumbling of snow plows scraping  the streets. The unusual quiet of cars as they hover past on cushioned tires.

I remember those mornings. I’d turn on my AM radio to WRKO, trying to hear school cancellations between the morning chatter and pop tunes. I lived in Winchester, so I’d try to stay awake as they ran through all the school districts but I’d invariably fall asleep waiting for our town’s announcement and have to start over through the A’s and on.

I did it again when my kids were little. I’d have CBC on this time, trying to hear the announcement of cancellations, listening for the howling of the wind, the sound of shovels. If school was cancelled, I could grab another half-hour’s sleep, the kids would be happy, we’d all hang around in jammies all day. They’d watch too much television, we’d have creative snacks, the day would creep by in delicious slo-mo.

If there wasn’t an announcement, I’d have to spring into super action, sort out where all the warm clothes were, clear off the steps, maybe shovel the drive, especially if I had to drive them to school.

So I’d lie there, rigid, not sure if I could relax or if I had to leap out of bed. Listening. Trying not to fall asleep. Listening so hard my ears nearly grew.

I loved snow days, as a kid and an adult. I still love them. Tomorrow, I expect we’ll be sheathed in swaths of powdery snow. Here in the Maritimes, we have a day or two of  mess, and then it melts off, so the kids here have to run out when they can and make big big snowmen to persist through the melting. I hope they get a day off, though I know it’s tough on parents. Snow days are one of those most magical things about childhood. A gift from Mother Nature or Jack Frost.

Happy nor’easter, and may your power ever burn bright…

I’ve got a bunch of good books and a warm cat. Perfect.

The gathering gloom

It was lovely waking early today, with an extra hour to laze about before I headed into the last day of training. I finished it without collapsing!!! And now have a certificate suitable for framing for my troubles. Only got into one mild fisticuff, so I’m feeling pretty proud. Soon I’ll be able to inflict my knowledge on others…
But now it’s evening, and the new daylight has all been used up and so have I. November seems November-ish, all of a sudden- dark and gloomy and with winter hovering in the clouds overhead. The wind, so warm til now, thanks to Sandy, has remembered how it is supposed to blow.
The sky looks leaden, almost snow- laden…
On the good side, no more classes for this course, so tomorrow I’ll get to snuggle under the covers, read a little, and get caught up on NaNoWriMo, where I have fallen horribly behind.
And maybe the sun will come back, just for one more day…