When the seasons change kindly, our brains react in kind. We forget winter’s dark moods – the lack of sun, the unending steel-gray of the sky, the chipping of ice from our windshields as a knife-sharp wind slaps us silly, the interminable length of it all. Some years, I am amazed at how a spring day, a seedling in a pot, a bird singing on a branch outside my window can give me selective amnesia. It distills my memories into times when snow fell gently, sparkling and crunching as I walked; days when the sun bounced brilliantly off white rooftops; evenings when I’d stomp my boots, open my front door, and feel thankful for the simple warmth of home. All is forgiven. It’s behind us. Now let’s go out and play.
But when the seasons change badly, as they have – notoriously – this year, I could give a fuck.
Forgive my language, Mother Nature, but you know what I’m talking about.
I am writing this during one of the few consecutive 12 hours of sunlight I have experienced in 2011 (although I am basing this on today’s forecast, we’ll see). It is late June. Something is not right about this.
My logical self, usually so resolutely optimistic about The Weather (“It’s useless to complain I have chosen to live here I will make the best of it it always gets better just in time after all I could be living in Joplin”), has now embraced epic pessimism.
I have started thinking about the number of cold sunless days I have experienced not just during the past season, but during my lifetime. Instead of accepting the ebb and flow of the seasons as a natural balancing act that sets things straight on an annual basis, I am thinking darker thoughts. Much darker.
What if every gray, cold day has a cumulative effect on a person’s body? What if, for each cloudy day of my life, my eyes are getting more mole-like? For each day when I can expose only a portion of my face to the elements, my skin becomes more sensitive to air and light? For each day that things are frozen, muddy, drenched or dead, my nose is less tolerant of a garden’s smells? What if all of this is irreversible? What if I am actually adapting to bad weather and becoming physically intolerant of good weather?
And then I think — what is it doing to MY SOUL?
On the other hand, here is the scene outside my window right now:
Sun sparkling on the tree leaves as they quiver and rustle in the breeze. Clover and daisies in the meadow nodding their sweet little heads. Grasses rippling in the distant field. And yes, birds chirping.
(. . . long pause while I think about this . . .)
Why am I inside at a laptop complaining about Oct. 1 through June 25? It’s June 26. I’m in the country, and it’s the kind of day I have been dreaming of.
I won’t be afraid. I will find a hat to shield my little mole eyes, slather sunscreen on my white wimpy skin, pack my pockets full of Kleenex, and leave the house.
I’ll let you know how it goes with my soul.
Note: This was written June 26 at the Bean House before I lost internet connection and while the sun was shining and did, as forecast, continue to shine through nightfall. Posted June 27, back home, foggy and about to rain. Soul status: iffy.