When I wrote “Preempt the Winter Blues” back in November 2013, I nor anyone else could have imagined the harsh winter that lie ahead. http://endlessmtnlifestyles.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/ricks-report-preempt-the-winter-blues/
In it, I offered three key suggestions to stave off the harbingers of winter depression: stay warm, make your own brightness, and don’t let the holidays stress you out. It’s a formula that I’ve worked out for myself by trial and error to counter years of winter-hating caused largely by light deprivation issues.
As the winter of 2013-14 deepened and lingered, an evolving number of people expressed their dismay or downright disgust for the cold and snow. I went back and read the above piece several times, and it became my mantra for surviving the winter.
I managed to hold my head higher than many of those around me when yet another polar vortex invaded the area and plunged temperatures to zero or below for a week or more at a time, even though I secretly dreamed of walking barefoot through my yard in a pair of shorts.
I shared the relief of most when the big storm forecast for last Sunday into Monday stayed well to our south. Nonetheless, it has been cold since October and snowing almost weekly since November. I think it’s made us all feel a little crazy at times, even while putting on the brave face to keep some of those around us from going over the edge.
Except for a spate of warm weather just before Christmas, this winter has been void of the swells of mild weather between storms that are more characteristic of our average winters. But we were also spared the serious ice storms that riding the fence can bring.
Sunday morning at 2 am we turn our clocks ahead, and temperatures have moderated a bit in the past few days to almost average highs in the lower 40s.
The extra hour of light we enjoy on Sunday evening is cause for celebration and could serve as the catalyst to bring people out of hibernation and boost spirits.
Yes, there does appear to be some very cold days yet on the horizon, as well as plowable snow. But the reality of our tilted planet is on our side. The days will continue to lengthen, and the waves of relative warmness will increase and finally conquer the cold.
You can enhance this process by “thinking spring.” Look back at some photos of your property taken during previous springs or plan your summer vacation or party. We’ve started planting flower and vegetable seeds for this years garden, and I can’t wait to see them begin to germinate.
Robins and other spring birds will soon return to the area, and flowering anomalies like snow bells and crocuses will begin to pop up between snow falls. The grass still laying under as much as 10 inches of snow in parts of our yard will eventually turn green, and we will love to hate dandelions again.
As I was writing this, the thought of and desire to see something green and fresh moved me to put on my boots, jacket, and gloves and strike off for the warmest corner of the property. When we first looked at the place, we were told that there was once a spring house on the edge of what is now a swamp. That area is difficult to access in the spring and fall and usually too overgrown to traverse in the summer.
As I trod down the hill, I found the snow had been softened by the warm sun a was easy to move through. Most of the path toward the old springs, however, was still frozen solid. When I started popping through patches of ice and snow, I knew that I was getting close.
And there it was, like an oasis in a dessert of white, a gurgling stream of fresh spring water sparkling in the late day sun. Under the shallow water and along the edges were clumps of thin grasses, thick and verdant mosses, and abundant watercress.
It was certainly worth the trek and did my heart good. I took some pictures and picked enough of the watercress to make a fresh salad.
My search for some sign of spring was satisfied in a metaphorical sense. I know I’ll probably have my heated mattress pad turned on for more than a few nights yet this winter, but now I will dream of warmer days.