Hunkering Down for the Winter

We had a very warm and long summer in North Carolina this year. In fact, summer stretched all the way through September and into October. With highs in the lower 90s and heat indices close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit several times in October, many folks who moved here from colder climates began to worry that autumn would never arrive.

As often happens in North Carolina, summer ended and winter ones began. We seemed to have a relatively short time of fall temperatures. Just a couple of weeks ago it was in the high 70s Fahrenheit. Yesterday morning it was well below freezing here, and the snow machines were busy making snow at one or more ski resorts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Great Smokies Oct 2015 013
An early autumn photo I took in the Great Smoky Mountains several years ago

No more kidding myself that I could avoid winter. If you’ve followed my blog for a year or more, you know that I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I don’t mention this to get your sympathy but in the hope that others who have this seasonal form of depression might read my blog and know that they aren’t alone.

For most of my adult life, I have dreaded winter. That annual longing for warmer temperatures and longer hours of daylight eventually morphed into a dread of autumn.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the bright reds, yellows, and oranges of the various hardwood trees when fall arrives, but we have a big yard and many huge old trees. By late fall/early winter, we are buried in dead leaves. I’m reminded of some of the words from “Camelot” that describe a world where it only rains at night and all the mess disappears by morning. (I paraphrase.) In my version of Camelot, all the dead leaves would disappear overnight once they’ve turned brown.

It’s hard for me to enjoy the beauty of autumn because I know winter isn’t far behind. I am on medication now that helps me cope with my discomfort with fall and winter, but I don’t think there’s a magic pill to help me cope with the mountains of dead leaves.

It’s time for me to hunker down for winter. I hope to work on genealogy, sewing, and my writing in the coming months while I try not to count the days until spring.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. I’m reading The White Darkness, by David Grann. It’s a nonfiction book about walking across Antarctica. It seemed like an appropriate book to read now that winter is here.

If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time.

Thank you for reading my blog. You could have spent the last few minutes doing something else, but you chose to read my blog. I appreciate it! I welcome your comments.

Let’s continue the conversation.

Do you dread autumn and/or winter? Maybe you love these seasons. If you do, share some of the things you like about the colder time of the year. Maybe you’ll make me aware of some of the things I should look forward to when the daylight hours grow short and you have to bundle up to go outside.

To my readers from “down under,” do you see any advantages in having your seasons the opposite of those of us in the northern hemisphere? It would seem odd to me to celebrate Christmas, New Year’s Day, and my birthday in the summer; however, I suppose it would seem strange to you to celebrate those special days in the dead of winter.

Janet

15 thoughts on “Hunkering Down for the Winter

  1. Thank you for this post today, Janet. I feel like I know you a bit better and I like that. I used to dread winter. Most of my life it was just a hassle. I grew up in New Jersey and winter meant dirty snow and heavy coats. Years spent as an adult in New York and Philadelphia did nothing to change that perception. Then I spent those two years in the Peace Corps (my response to 9/11) and winters in Kazakhstan sometimes hit 40 below. At that temperature, did you know, it no longer matters if you use Celsius or Fahrenheit! I hadn’t known that. But for some strange reason I grew to love the winter. It was magical. And when my husband and I returned from our two year stint, we settled in Vermont. It’s snowing now, and the ground is covered in marshmallow fluff. It’s time to hunker down, slow down, and draw inward. I’m glad you’ve found some respite with medications. SAD is not something to grit your teeth over.

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  2. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Janet. Now I know you a bit better, too. I did not know that about Celsius and Fahrenheit! I went to college in the Blue Ridge Mountains and it gets much colder there than even people in the piedmont of NC realize. The coldest actual temperature while I was there was -14F, but we had a wind chill of -61F to go along with it. I think I used up all my tolerance for cold temps the four winters I was up there! I think I would like winter better here in the piedmont if we had more snow. It’s so beautiful! Some winters we don’t get any. Some winters, three or so at the most with some ice storms thrown in. I’m really trying to have a better attitude about the whole winter things. Staying busy helps, and I don’t have any trouble doing that. Thanks again.

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  3. Thank you, Michael. I have medication that knocks the edge off and keeps me on a fairly even keel. That, along with opening the draperies and letting the natural light in, helps — as well as always having something to look forward to. Thank you for your input and concern. I’ve done better every winter than the one before.

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  4. I’m very sorry that the cold affects you so and wish it didn’t. Cold here in the midwest too in winter–and much snow to clean off cars and shovel.

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  5. Thank you, David. It’s a good thing I live in a relatively mild climate. I wouldn’t do well where snow measured in feet instead of inches is the norm. I will get through this. I always do. Then, I can savor every day of spring and summer. I feel guilty for wishing away the winter months. Life is short, and each day is a gift.

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  6. Yes, we must treasure our days, especially when as the song says, they “dwindle down to a precious few.”” Happy Thanksgiving, friend.

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