The weather was unusually warm this week with temperatures in low 20ºC during the day. From Sunday onward, the sky was clear and filled with sunlight. Then today, it rained—a warm rain with overcast skies.
I feel odd posting this given the topic of this week’s Lens Artist challenge. But I want to be the authentic me. And the authentic me knows what comes after the leaves have all fallen to the ground and the colour has been drained from the trees. Today heralds a change to long months of the cold grey death of winter.
A lack of sunlight from the shortening of the day and lengthening of the night can cause an increase in melatonin and a drop in the neurotransmitter serotonin and Vitamin D. I have a problem with Vitamin D deficiency even though I take 5000 units per day. This shift in hormones from the lack of sunlight can throw my mind and body out of whack and leave me feeling tired, irritable and blue. With the threat of infection from a deadly virus, I’ve been living away from my community of beer geeks and photographers for over eight months. I’m already feeling tired and irritable and blue. This blog post is an example of feeling tired and irritable and blue.
Some of my friends talk about their love for winter skiing, freshly fallen snow and curling up by a warm fire. I doubt they’ll be doing much skiing this year. In winter, the options for getting out and moving around are limited—no more hikes in the woods. Icy paths and the cold make it very challenging to find opportunities for exercise.
The winter months can also bring on a state of restlessness, depression, and irritability brought on by spending time in a confined space. Some people call it cabin fever. Did I already mention that a global pandemic has confined me to my home for the last eight months? We’ve fought off feeling of cabin fever for the last eight months.
Normally I would look forward to some end of year cheerfulness from Thanksgiving and the Holy Days. Celebrating another rotation of the planet around the local gas giant with friends and families would support me through the winter months. But the rates of infection are spiking everywhere, and intelligent people are strongly advising that we skip the normal festivities; that we continue to isolate. Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is this Saturday, 14 November. For my wife’s family, this is the first Diwali without her dad. This is also the first Diwali in her 52 years of life that she has been apart from her family.
I am headed into the winter months mentally exhausted with nothing left in the tank. When the first wave hit and we were ordered to abandon our shared spaces and isolate in our homes, I could perhaps take comfort in knowing that our isolation may be temporary. But I’ve lived through eight months of social and physical isolation and the infection number are spiking again as we head into winter. What’s the definition of temporary?
I consider myself and pragmatic optimist. I approach the challenges of life realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical and emotional considerations. I am hopeful about the future but I just don’t know when that future begins.
Submitted for the 100DaysToOffload project.