PUBLISHED June 2, 2019

On Weather, and the Satisfaction of Sadness

The weather has hovered calmly under twenty degrees all weekend–today an icy eight degree high. From the window there’s little to observe on the sidewalk below. The construction site across from the apartment complex is silent; Caterpillar cranes hibernating with their heavy, metal heads tucked between their feet. The few people who dart along the street are swathed in layers of gortex, down and wool, obscured from any semblance of human form.

Winter distorts us in that way.

An intrusion of bright, yellow sun disrupted the weekend’s monotonous grey. But it was only for a few hours, and wasn’t enough to seduce us from our central heat. The sky had otherwise cradled a blanket of mist; buildings disappearing past their fifteenth floors into endless fog above.

And so, with not much interest in losing the feeling in my fingers and toes, I nestled in for a long weekend at home.

Winter urges us inwards; into our apartments, into our beds, into our ourselves. It is the season for sadness, or rather, self-reflection. The holidays get us but so far–the twinkling lights of Christmas trees and window displays eventually fading, until all we are left with is the wait for spring.

But here in the long stretches of dark days and dark moods there is much to be gained. Only here, within winter, does it seem suitable to spend so much time alone. Only within winter is a blue mood tolerated, expected, and ‘quiet’ the welcome tone.

I’d like to think winter does not cause sadness, but reveals what was always there. Come January our sun-drunk delusions have faded with our tans. We are forced to be honest with ourselves, forced to be still and to listen more deeply to the sound of our own heartbeats. The part of ourselves we try to hide from reveals itself in dark, winter nights. But like in childhood, it is always better to just look under the bed, honesty ultimately being less foreboding than the unknown.

Come spring, this perspective will have surely melted.

As the season turns, the energy in the air will gather momentum. People will emerge, like buds on branches, from their dwellings, cautiously testing the temperature. Sidewalks will narrow as restaurants ready for their first al fresco diners. Sleeves will shorten, and our sorry pets will lose us to the social calls of friends, the outdoors now teeming with opportunity.

The sun will give us back to ourselves. We will walk lighter having less on our minds. Spring is for connecting, and coming together, and community. We will remember what we have missed–the infectious joy of being with the ones we love, under the sun, when everything seems possible.

And I will graciously give back my solace to the winter season, making room instead for joy, and kindness, and exploration.

Because, as my father always says, “I change with the weather.”

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