It’s starting again. The winter blahs. It’s mid-January, past the holiday craziness and New Year excitement. The ground is frozen, the sky is gray, and I don’t see the mountain in my mudroom diminshing anytime soon. (Hello, bulky coats, boots, snow pants, scarves, hats, and mittens without mates!) The days are short, it’s dark when leaving work, and I’ve lived in New England long enough to know that this is only the beginning.
Every year that feeling settles in, a combination of blues and restlessness. I vacillate between never wanting to leave the safety and warmth of my couch and wanting to pack a few suitcases and move to someplace warmer, leaving the entire Northeast in my rearview mirror. I think all New Englanders feel this way at some point during the winter, but island life can really amp up that lonesome edginess, that feeling of What on earth are we doing here? that kicks in as I drive down a deserted Circuit Ave or walk into another empty restaurant.
This year I’m doing my best to combat the inevitable malaise with a new strategy: stay as busy as possible. I booked my kids into extra after school activities, planned several weekends out of town, and am trying to fight my inner anti-socialite and actually get out of my house on Saturday and Sunday. It’s sort of working, but it’s still January and really cold out there.
The other day the temperature tipped fifty. When I got in my car on the way to work, I heard birds chirping, a sound so unexpected and cheerful that I stopped in the driveway to listen. I drove over the bridge and marveled at the golden glow of the sunrise coming up over the lagoon, even pulling over to attempt to capture a photo. I’m not so naive as to actually think that spring is coming. Later that week it was in the twenties again, the sky slate grey and somber. Yet it was a reminder, however small, that winter does give us little pockets of beauty. The trick is to look for them.