Tag Archives: seasonal affective disorder


January. I don’t have much use for it; hate it, really.

January is a dark and cold reminder that we’ve eaten too much, drunk too much, spent too much, perhaps slept too little, for way too long. Boom. The scale. The credit card bills. Dry, cracking, pasty skin. Freezing pipes.

Every January I’d like to turn myself inside out and hide until the first crocus peeps through the thawing ground.

Not today.

Call me nuts, but today I added about 20 Christmas cards, which have trickled in over the last two weeks, to our sprawling display. Every year I use nearly two full rolls of masking tape to affix incoming cards to the molding around the doorways in our home. One hundred seven in all this year–so far.

Today it hit me. One hundred seven people or families expressed their love and good wishes – to us!

One hundred seven people went to the time and expense to buy or hand-make cards. Some signed their names or wrote lengthy personal notes. Some even addressed envelopes. They spent 46 cents apiece for stamps. They went to the mailbox. To wish us a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.

Today, in the frigid darkness of the month I despise, I counted 107 expressions of good wishes. And, as I counted these blessings, I saw light. I felt warmth.

In the rush of opening the mail, we can forget that there is meaning in the wishes that honor the holy event we celebrate in December, and there’s immeasurable hope in the wishes for a happy and healthy new year.

Fellow January-haters: Let us thumb our noses at seasonal affective disorder by re-reading our Christmas cards (if they haven’t already gone out with our dried out evergreens) or remembering at least one person who wished us well, and appreciate how much we are loved.

And let there be light.


Filed under Hearth and Home, Holidays

Tropical depression

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
Except February, which lasts forever.

Another batch of snow fell on us yesterday. Not a deal-breaker, by any means; just enough to ugly up the landscape and annoy commuters. The sun has been scarce for way too long and there’s a piercing chill in the air.

Dreary doesn’t begin to describe it. What does?

I spent yesterday in a snit over having to wait at home all day for a county inspector who never showed. A hostage in my own home between 8:00 and 5:00, I was forced to confront an unsavory build-up of mundane tasks.

Inside was depressing; outside even more so. I didn’t want to be in either place. I was in the doldrums. Or did I have the doldrums? Which is it?

I looked up “doldrums” and was surprised to learn that it’s actually an oceanographic term. It seems that doldrums are regions of light ocean currents within the inter-tropical convergence zone near the equator. I didn’t know this. My husband, an oceanographer who specializes in ocean currents, didn’t either. I learned that the doldrums give rise to converging trade winds that produce clusters of convective thunderstorms.

In contrast, the doldrums are also defined as a period of stagnation, a slump, a period of depression or unhappy listlessness. This is what I had all right. Funny how the two definitions seem to be at odds, like hot and cold.

Still, I could sense how both meanings were descriptively apt. If you could have seen me yesterday, storming over the delinquent inspector, wanting to leave the house, yet fearing the February chill. A prisoner of bureaucratic breakdown and paralyzed by inertia. I was doldrums incarnate—a convective tempest trapped in a cross current of a stubborn winter and seasonal listlessness.

One word. Two meanings, both appropriate.

This storm too shall pass. It’s 21 degrees, but the sun has made an appearance.


Filed under All Things Wordish, Health, Hearth and Home, Rants and Raves