Seasonal depression

I live in New England. It’s starting to get cold here, and the sun officially sets around 4:15 though sometimes it seems dusky much sooner than that. It’s often dark when I go into work, and dark when I leave. Some days I don’t see the sun at all except through my office window.

Sometimes in the middle of summer I romanticize these short days sitting next to a cozy fireplace. I imagine getting books read and written. Projects done. Crafting. Hot cocoa – or maybe a hot toddy. Cocooning.

It’s not until I’m in the middle of the season that I realize winter isn’t as romantic as all that. I’m inherently an outdoor person, and I miss walking in the woods (it’s hunting season, to boot) and hikes after 4 pm. I miss leaving the house without a jacket, hat, mittens, and boots. I miss being able to get to the beach after work to pick up tiny shells or sea glass or just tell the ocean my problems. I do that, sometimes. The ocean is a good listener.

You can go to the beach in the winter, of course, but my hours are much more limited and I simply haven’t had the time to do those things or visit those places that heal my soul. The fireplace can be healing, yes, but that fireplace has its work cut out in the next few months. And I often don’t give myself the time or space to just sit by it like I do the ocean. It’s different when I’m at home. Sitting by the fire, I see a house that needs to be cleaned. Laundry that needs to be done. Dust. Dishes. They’re all staring me in the face. There are always so many “things” to do there’s just no time for cocooning, which I think is what this season is desperately asking of me. Pardon me, but my soul is crying out to “forget” the laundry (insert another f word there, if you will), and just sit in contemplation or meditation or prayer or blessed silence. Instead, in years past I put a log in the fire and pushed through. Even then, my house was never exactly spotless, and as for me? Well, I was losing in every possible way.

They call this feeling seasonal depression, but I wonder…. is it the season that’s causing my depression or am I doing that myself? It’s a question to ask in the stillness by the fireplace tonight – and I’m going to make time for it. In fact, I have to. It’s what the season is demanding of me.

Is it the season that's causing my depression or am I doing that myself?
Moonrise the last time we went to the beach in November

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