Thursday, December 5, 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside

It's 5:30 a.m. as I begin to write this.  The temperature is minus 4.  That's 79 degrees below my preferred number.  I've said this before - I don't like winter.  Never have.  The snow has it's benefits so I can tolerate that, in moderation.  But I especially don't like the coldness of winter.  And after my heart attacked me several years ago, very cold air actually makes it hard for me to breathe.  Doctors can't tell me why, but I never had a issue before so it must be related some how.  Shorter days are also a problem because I love the sun.  You've heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Yeah, well, I have that.  I can manage it just fine, though.  Whenever I start feeling depressed I just think positive thoughts like, "only 7 months until May!"  That one's a bit of a stretch but, hey, I'm willing to settle for pretty much any positive thought on a dark morning in a December deep freeze.
Meditation helps.  I have discovered a source for guided meditations that are as short as 10 minutes, and can do wonders for whatever disorder or malady may be affecting you.  You should check it out. There are meditations for gratitude, nature attunement, grounding, breath and body awareness, enhancing creativity, even one for morning energy (that one comes in handy on occasion), and a dozen or so others.  Your guide is Mary Maddox, and she is awesome.  Check out her site at .   Also available as podcasts on iTunes. 
I can also find some respite in reviewing my photography files.  Or by forcing myself to go out and find a visually pleasing wintery scene. I will often be rewarded for the effort.  Even a reluctant resident of this frozen intermission between fall and spring can still occasionally find artistry in a desolate landscape.

Of course, I also have my books.  A great escape from the dreariness of these gray days can always be found within the pages of a good story.  It's funny how I have grown to prefer non-fiction and books about history during the warmer more truthful summer months, but by the time those insincere months of January and February roll around every year I find myself reaching for a classic novel by Vonnegut or Brautigan.  I can re-read these authors over and over and discover something new every time.  Lost Horizon by James Hilton never fails to reveal the promise that spring is not all that far away.
Then there is my record collection.  Nothing like a good classic album to lighten up an otherwise dark and cold night. Or day.  Music on vinyl is different than what you get with a cd or from an ipod.  It's a richer, deeper, more accurate sound.  It's real.  How can you listen to John Denver or Harry Nilsson (in any format) and not feel better? One of the smartest things I've done is hang on to so many albums from high school and my days as a radio disc jockey.  And the term was accurate back then because we actually played those wonderful round vinyl discs.

I'm still adding to my collection on a regular basis.  Right now I'm on the hunt for a clean reasonably priced copy of Astral Weeks by Van Morrison.  Finding it will go a long way toward the healing of my winter blues.  That might be a tall order, but if you hear of one let me know.  Think of yourself as my doctor and that's the prescription.  "Listen to this record and call me in the morning."