The Holiday Season
Here in my neck of the Pacific Northwest woods, we’ve experienced some strange weather this winter. First, it started off with an unusually long summer. We were still having 80-90 degree weather in October. Summer was followed by an unusually short autumn. I think it lasted two weeks. Since then, we’ve had more rain than we usually do, more flood warnings than we have had in years, and wind. Wind warnings of all things! We’ve also had snow, something that usually doesn’t happen here until January or February, if it happens at all.
I tend to be a summer/autumn person. These are my favorite times of the year. Spring tends to be beautiful here, but wet and cold. I hate the gloomy gray days of winter. Everything looks dead and barren in town. The forests continue to be beautiful all year round. In my younger years, I really had a hard time with the short summers and long winters in the Pacific Northwest. To combat this, I moved. I moved to California. I moved to the Southwest (Arizona & New Mexico.) While I loved each of those areas and could have lived in each location contentedly for much longer than I did, I found I did miss the four seasons. Having grown up in the Northwest, it just wasn’t the same wrapping Christmas lights around the cactus. It was fun, but I missed home.
I’ve been back home, for almost 20 years now. While I might travel about, it isn’t likely I’m going to be relocating anytime soon. I just have too great a situation going right now, and it is stable. If there is anything I need in my life right now, it is less adventure and more stability. The winters are still long. So, I’ve come up with a plan for dealing with these long dreary days of winter.
As always, it is all about how you view things. If you view winter as unending, it will be unending. You will make it unending by the manner in which you approach it. So, time to adjust the thinking, try looking at winter in the following manner.
Winter, to me, usually begins in January and is only two months long.
I know, crazy, right?
Look at it this way. October is autumn. The weather is getting colder and winter is on the way, but there is the beauty of the changing leaves and there are still quite a few sunny days.
Starting with October 31 and running through January 1, is a new season. It is not yet winter. It is the Holiday Season. The festivities and the business of the season tend to keep me from thinking about the fact that the weather is cold and dismal out (and is has been especially dismal this year). I tend to decorate and plan parties and attend parties, so I keep busy. The weather at this time of year is the perfect backdrop to the events of the season. Not unlike a hallmark Christmas card…sans the snow.
So, if Spring begins in March and Summer follows in June, roughly, one really has only two months of winter to worry about. Two and a half if you count the beginning of March. I can endure two months of winter. Add to this the knowledge that as I get older, time passes far more quickly than I’d like and those two depressing months are gone in a flash. Before I know it, the daffodils are blooming. By then, I know I’m beyond the winter doldrums for good.
One other little mental trick that helps me out, after December 21, the days begin getting longer. (Of course, the flip side of this is that on June 21, they begin getting shorter. I do hate that.) But in December, after the 21st, I can begin turning on the Christmas lights a little later each evening. Pretty soon it is 5:00, before they can go on. Then it is soon 6:00 and there’s still a little bit of daylight left in the sky. (Of course, by now the Christmas lights are long gone from the house.) I can watch the lengthening daylight hours and begin to anticipate warmer days.
Of course, the older I get, the greater appreciation I have for all the seasons. I probably will always prefer the warm weather over the cold. I just like being outside in short sleeves more than I prefer bundling up. I do appreciate the rain we’ve been getting though. It is good for our waterways. It is good for our forests. It keeps this place looking beautiful all through the year.
What is your trick to getting through the dreary days of winter?