I’m doing a fine job of channeling my inner bear lately. The lack of daylight has triggered my need to eat and sleep, period.
Why don’t humans hibernate, I wonder. It seems an eminently sensible solution to winter to me. Gorge yourself at the harvest celebration in November, then hit the hay, wake briefly at the holidays for more feasting, some good cheer, and a warming drink or three, then sleep until spring. I could get into that. In fact, judging by how frequently I nod off over a book only to wake up two hours later with a crick in my neck, I’ve got a pretty good start at this bear thing.
The cold has been my excuse in other years, as in ‘Gee, my feet are chilly. I think I’ll just wrap up in this fleece blanket and…z-z-z.’ But I have no convenient fiction of needing to get my feet up off the cold floor this year. It’s been abnormally warm here, so much so that I’ve only had a fire in the pellet stove a few times. Mostly it’s just been easier to let the oil furnace kick on to take the chill off. It hasn’t had to run much most days, which is great for the fuel bill but bad cover for my napping habit. No, it isn’t the cold that’s got me.
The lack of light at this time of year is probably the real culprit, especially at this latitude. With sunrise after 7 a.m. and sunset before 4 p.m., plus many days that are cloudy, my body knows that we have come to the nadir of the solar year. I try to supplement with vitamin D3, but it doesn’t help much. By the middle of February, I’ll be able to feel the increase of light, but right now it’s just a memory.
Exercise helps–outdoor exercise. Fortunately, the same freakishly warm temperatures that are making the leaf buds swell on my hydrangeas are providing terrific walking conditions, so I’ve been able to keep to my summer regimen of three miles a day. The ‘wake-up’ effect only lasts a couple of hours, though, I find, and then I want something to eat, and then I want to sleep. And then I’m grumpy because I gave in to it.
The bad part about having Seasonal Affective Disorder and being retired is that I don’t have to do anything most days. Oh, there are household chores, to be sure, and a lot of other things I could/should be doing to keep myself occupied, but it’s hard to work up any interest, frankly. Crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, reading and painting seem to be as much as this little bear wants to do.
Yes, I know: poor me, to be able to sit at home and while away the hours with a little of this and a little of that and not much of anything. Aww.
If I could just relax into this hiatus, knowing that the energy will come back when the light comes back, I’d agree. It’s frustrating, however, to have this long block of time in the winter months, which would be the perfect opportunity to get tucked into some serious cranking-out-the-words writing, and to have zilch to show for it in April when outdoors chores claim my time and attention. I do not understand how other northern writers do this. Did Stieg Larsson go to Spain to write in the winter, or what? Does Garrison Keillor fly to Vegas every week to write his monologue and then catch the red-eye back to Minneapolis-St. Paul for the show? C’mon, ye writers of the northern tier, ‘fess up. Inquiring minds want to know.
While you’re pondering your answers, pass the chocolate and I’ll fluff up my pillow.