8Nov

Solar-Paneled

I relocate to the balcony but only for a few minutes; the pool of sunshine is colder than it looks. We’re on the jittery downswing after a summer of record-breaking heat, and I’m startled as I am each and every year by how abruptly clinging sweat is replaced by clinging sweaters. The high is in the mid ‘50s today—beach weather in Scotland, if I recall—but my Texas-born toes cower inside my slippers nonetheless. I just need time to acclimate. Come March, I’ll be toasting to 55° sunshine with flip-flops and a margarita cappuccino (just being honest here).

The thing is, “time to acclimate” is a diplomatic phrase, all polish and tact, meant to disguise the fact that long months of gray lie between now and the day when 55° will prompt celebration. A hundred days of wet woolen skies shade the upcoming calendar, and I might actually look forward to them—their rapport with chocolate chai and scarves, the color lamplight makes against their too-early evenings, and the cocoon they form around creative impulses—if not for this solar-paneled heart of mine.

Sunlight is the low-voltage hum through my veins, most noticeable when it’s gone. It’s maddening to have my motivation wired to a celestial dimmer switch, to view approaching clouds as enemy armadas, to pine for the tropical breezes and sparkling white Christmases I’ve never met in person. Besides, I hardly have grounds to complain, here, in the golden cup of the Mediterranean. But still, the gray of winter often passes through my corneas straight into my thoughts, and I know acclimating to the upcoming months will not be as simple as putting on extra layers.

I’m writing this now, on the cusp of cold, as a preemptive measure, a hopeful immunization against the dreariness of years past. Whether it will work or not remains to be seen, but at least I can store up an extra pool of sunshine today.

~~~ 

What do you look forward to about winter? And how do you stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder?

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6 comments

  1. Sweet Bethany,
    How I LOVE to read every word you write! I have wanted to comment many other times but for one reason or another I fail to do so. I remember you well from our days at LeTourneau although I never had enough boldness to take the simple step of friendship…how foolish. Anyway, just a quick note to say I love your writing and I too have a spirit that is ‘wired to a celestial dimmer switch’. I will be thinking of you as these long days of gray stretch out ahead and will rejoice with you when that 55 degree day brings celebration.
    Blessings!
    Tiffany

  2. Hello Bethany. I just discovered your blog and I am enjoying reading it. My husband who is Sicilian-Canadian (born in Ottawa) and I just bought a house in a tiny town in Sicily. Until we retire we will spend our summers there but six years from now we will be Sicily bound! I sure can relate when you say “the gray of winter often passes through my corneas straight into my thoughts”. When it is too gray and rainy here, I just close my eyes and think about summer in Sicily – and I pop another vitamin D pill.

  3. This may sound a little bit crazy, but: My sister is a nutritive therapist and homeopathic guru person and she tells everyone who has seasonal affective disorder to take high-quility, cold-pressed cod liver oil for the loads of vitamin D (among other health benefiting components) it delivers when the sun isn’t shining. I think she would say that the seasonal “down” time has most to do with nutrients . . . But, I also know that everyone is different and this may not be as simple as taking cod liver oil – just thought I’d pass on the info anyway. 🙂

    LOVE you!

  4. Tiffany – It’s so great to hear from you! I wish we could have gotten to know each other better at LU too. I remember your sweet little babies and am not sure I’m prepared to know how old they are now. 🙂

    Diane – Thanks so much for your comment! We haven’t made it down to Sicily yet, but I’m sure you’re counting the days until you can be there year-round. We ended up on the beach in Florida for Christmas last year, and it did worlds of good for my sunshine-dependent heart.

    Erika – I don’t think I’ve ever made a concerted effort before to up my Vitamin D intake — I might want to get on that! Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness.

  5. I know that the gray is something that I dread too. I have noticed it more the older I get. Basking in a bar of sunshine brings happiness to me, just like it brings happiness to my dog. I don’t really think I have SAD, but boy when the sun shines after days (or weeks!) without it, I feel a weight lift off my shoulders. I guess I try and go with the season…hot chocolate…a heavy afghan…a fire in the fireplace…a good book. I mostly work, however, ah…time to read a book? When will that be? I guess indulging in fantasy should be on that list as well.

  6. Megsie – All of those things at once–the hot chocolate, the heavy afghan, the fire, and the good book? Would be HEAVEN. Now I’m dreaming of a blogger retreat that would involve no speakers, no course, and no blogging whatsoever… just doing that. 🙂

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