Friday, November 23, 2012

The November blues

In my part of the world (Portland, Oregon), we are entering the time of the very dark. We are a month from the winter solstice and two months from any substantial shift in the light. The sun comes up about 8 am and by 4 pm it's starting to get dark. And when it rains all day, like it did today and will do repeatedly throughout the winter, the sky is not ever very bright. In addition, above the 45th parallel (that invisible global line that marks half-way between north pole and equator), which is situated about 40 miles south of us, just north of the state capital of Salem, winter sun doesn't give us any measurable vitamin D that might enhance our mood.

I grew up here and I love the rain. It's what makes it so incredibly green and lush here and it's an important part of our climate. I also love the coziness of being inside when it's cold and darkish outside. But in November, it's always tough to adjust to the short days. And this year seems particularly difficult as we had a magical two months of dry sunny weather through September and October.

It took me a couple of weeks to remember that this always happens. That I want to sleep more than usual, that I feel like going to bed at 8:30 (it's already been dark 4 hours), that I don't want to get up when the alarm goes off, that I drag around a bit and wish I could open the windows (too cold, too wet) or go for a long walk without being plastic-coated.

I know it will pass. Not just the dark time of the year, but this adjustment period. That I will grow used to the long evenings and find ways to fill them. That I'll burn candles and keep the lights on. That I'll up my vitamin D intake and eat things that make my mood better. But for now, I just have to ride the November blues.

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