It’s the dead of winter, remember
Sun setting red on the hill of red trees
Cold dusk’s blue clouds white skies
I count the days
(Bernadette Mayer, Midwinter Day)
I’m having a serious case of February. I thank Martha Beck for her humorous and insightful blog post about coping with the doldrums of February, because then at least there’s some consolation that maybe I’m not going crazy. I also appreciate Bernadette Mayer for her incredible work of poetry, where she marries daily scenes of domesticity with the doldrums of winter. She reminds me that there’s a way out (or through) the deadening effects of the season, whether it’s via the dream state, love or the persistent act of writing.
I’m fortunate that the winter in the South is relatively short, at least compared to where I grew up in New York City. Yet, February in Atlanta is generally a procession of relentlessly dreary days. How is it that the shortest month of the year feels endless? I wish I could take Beck’s advice to sleep 23 hours and 45 minutes a day! Sleeping during the coldest, energy-sapping, light-depleted month(s) of the year makes perfect sense. Fur be damned, there’s a reason why bears hibernate! And honestly, I think I would go hunker down in a cave if I didn’t have a toddler who recently decided that sleep is optional. Trying to do anything that comes naturally is impossible when you are faced with a little human being who is determined to rearrange your notion of what constitutes normal.
At heart, I’m a snowbird. You know, the people who migrate to somewhere – anywhere – warmer. One of the best winters of my life was the one where several weeks were spent in the sub-tropical warmth of Hyderabad, India. That said, I do enjoy the occasional snowfall. We received snow on Christmas Day and it was magical. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect backdrop for the day. But now I’m ready for Spring. Ready for more than the occasional day of sunshine, framed by damp, cold rain (or the dreaded “wintry mix.”) Ready to stop layering my clothes like a hobo. Ready to smell life returning to the Earth and dig my hands in the warm soil.
Winter, to paraphrase Mayer’s line, “better do me one better” before I completely lose it. Spring is amazing in Atlanta and I’m waiting for Sol Invictus to bring it on, blazing.
(Photo credit: Vicky Frank on Flickr)
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