Subtitle: Seasonal Affect Disorder in March

Today’s break in this year’s unending winter weather prompted me to take a nature walk.  I wanted to take advantage of this: 

Glenn Carlyn Park today
Glenn Carlyn Park today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the weather once again turns to this:

My yard last week
My yard last week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t a beautiful day, the sky was milky but it was warm which brought out all manner of creatures;  squirrels, joyriders, walking widows and kids. Lots and lots of kids. There were also lots and lots of birds, mostly robins.  I didn’t need my binoculars to watch them as they were confident enough to hop and peck around the mish-mash of natural material on the ground. Apparently they gathered, discussed and decided we walkers were no threat. I  thought I was there in the park to bird watch but it turned out I was actually there to contemplate, write and look for signs of spring. It appears, we’re not the only creatures sticking our “necks” out on hope and optimism:

IMG_2570

Anyhoo….Today’s weather reminded me of a poem I wrote a few years ago titled:

Spring’s Deception

Do you feel the sun waking warmer in the morning?
It’s gentler when rising every day.
It spends time a little longer now
Chasing the winter blues away.

Did you notice the air has changed its’ smell?
It’s including a trace of the earth.
It’s teasing with that aroma of promise
Suggesting of green and rebirth.

There are days when the chill is obstinate
Then spring’s certainty seems a cold deception.
But March winds will blow the clouds from here
In time for the sun’s scheduled reception.

  

Soup’s On Heaven’s Menu

Gray day in Alexandria, VA
Gray day in Alexandria, VA

The holiday season is winding down and I don’t have any delicious food left. It’s cold and damp here and it’s a little depressing because it seems as if the holiday cheer is spent. So I’m going to spend this weekend in the kitchen and make some soup. Winter soups are a great way for me to add back some of the warmth it feels as though I’ve lost after holiday celebrations. I can cuddle up with a big mug of soup and relive the good times I was fortunate to have with my family and friends. One of my favorite winter soups is Butternut Squash & Apple With Pancetta. It’s a great recipe and I’m sharing it with you on my recipe page today. You’ll also find other winter soup recipes on Heaven’s Menu that brighter and warm a bleak day.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

In the Dead of Winter

I mentioned in my previous post that I have persistent thoughts of death in the winter. I don’t mind because I think it’s natural. Historically winter has universally been interpreted as the dead time of the year.

Every year I contemplate the lack of plant life and the hibernation of animals at this time, but more than that I think about human death. I tend to focus on loved ones who have passed on and re-mourn their loss. I would say that my definition of ghosts is the occurrence of re-experiencing someone or something that is gone so as to feel as though they are still present and further to feel the absence as a presence itself. To me ghosts are our own feelings. That’s why I think those ghost hunting shows are hilarious. Why hunt our own feelings? (Although a lot of us spend time doing it in therapy). And as an aside, how would the dead, who have moved on to a totally new reality, spend time here. Can you or I go back in time?

Anyway, I think about that every time I look at pictures or movies of people who are gone. I know they are gone yet it feels to me; it registers on my emotional scale as though they are still here. I couldn’t watch any of my favorite old movies if I viewed the actors as a bunch of corpses or ghosts. I was thinking about it today while I was listening to one of my favorite Curtis Mayfield songs. I could hear him inhale in the recording and yet he was not inhaling. The time of the recordings are “ghosts” themselves. That particular time of that song being sung that particular way is gone yet I am experiencing it now. Just as the plant life and animal life appear to be gone at this time of year yet we experience them anew but what feels like again in the spring, are we humans ever really gone as long as someone can re-experience us in some way? Ghosts, ghost images, ghost songs, ghost feelings. .. Ahh, but spring is less than a month away (March 20th).  The full snow moon is behind us and sunsets happen later now. As always, the added light prompts in me thoughts of new life. I hope it does in you as well.

Check Your Larder

I make sure I have my share

This winter has been mild where I live in the northeast. Although that’s cause for concern in terms of conditions come the spring and summer, we’ve had it easy compared to the residents of some parts of the U.S. northwest, southwest and Europe.

Still, I’m not a big fan of winter and this year is no exception.  The cold and lack of light weigh me down.  I was curious about the timing of Groundhog Day because of the whole prognostication of spring thing. Last week I looked into it’s history.  (I found a nice little article about it in mentalfloss.com.)  It evolved, in part, from so-called pagan observances as so many of our holidays do. Apparently it falls in between equinoxes, in mid-winter when ancient folk used to think about their food stores. They’d check to see if any critters were stirring. If so, they could breathe easy because it was a sign that the growing time was right around the corner. If not, they worried that they wouldn’t have enough food for what was left of a long winter, “Grandpa, get away from the root cellar. We can’t afford snacks!”

It all makes sense to me because I find myself thinking about food A LOT at this time. Maybe I reflexively follow the natural cycle, maybe it’s my body’s way of convincing me it needs some fat or maybe it’s a comfort device I use to relieve the discomfort of the persistent thoughts of death I have during the winter.  Whatever it is I’ve learned to make sure I have my share of food at the beginning of the season, indulge in hearty fare throughout, and check my larder right about now to make sure Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t make a fool out of me.

On my Recipes page I have added some dishes that are favorites of mine for winter health and happiness. Please check them out and enjoy!