This time of year can be daunting. The weather is difficult in many places, the holiday bills have arrived, nights are long and cold, and taxes will be due soon for a year that flew by for many of us. In the Canadian provinces, mid-winter is so challenging that provincial holidays have been established, days to have fun, hang with family, and catch up on rest.
Unlike a Canadian province, however, I have no means of declaring an extra holiday. When I’m due in court, in court I shall be. When I have a writing deadline, I will make every effort to meet it. And yet, I can get down, mopey, and blah. January in northern climes is a looooong month.
I’m starting to get the hang of January, though. Good books are part of the solution, domestic projects can help too. If I can’t control the weather, I can at least control the dust bunnies under my sofa. I also make it a priority to get OUTSIDE as early in the day as possible, even if it’s only to ramble around the yard while the dog waters the bushes. Something in me craves natural light this time of year more than most.
I try to focus on what’s good about winter: No bugs! Lots of holidays! The weeds don’t grow! Snow is so pretty coming down! The leaves are off the trees so the inside of my house has more light in winter than in summer. It’s quiet—the neighbor’s roosters aren’t making a racket at 3 am.
All of which is lovely, though it falls short of curing the winter blahs. Road trips are not a good idea this time of year—those chain-up laws exist for reasons—and I have no family nearby.
I’m thrown back on the coping mechanism that has always worked best for me: My imagination. Rather than dreaming up yet still more heroes and heroines to preoccupy me, this is the time of year I look for a Big Trip, something full of cool places to see, and cool things to do within my budget.
Chatsworth, anybody? Longwood Gardens? Waterloo? The festival season in Edinburgh? Visit my nephew in Sweden? Lavender farms on the Olympic Peninsula?
I will never get to most of those places, but dreaming about them makes a long, cold winter a less difficult proposition. Travel isn’t for everybody, of course. For my sister, a new quilting project brings some springtime into her sewing room. For my gardening buddy, planning the year’s annual beds is a winter pleasure.
What about you? How do you dream your way through the long, dark winter? Or do you love winter, and find summer is the time you must be patient and creative?
To one commenter below, I’ll send a $25 Amazon gift card.