|Lena in the Snow|
I also thought about cards that I love, which are usually blank inside. One of my favorites became one of my mom's favorites. It reminded her of me, as a little girl. I had a coat much like this, and I used to twirl about in the falling snow. Mom felt the card should be called, "Christmas in Shohola", because that was the name of the tiny town in PA we lived near when I was about nine or so.
Let me share my take on winter and why I don't usually experience the depressed side of bipolar at a time when most people are struggling with melancholy. Traditionally, winter is a time when the earth is dormant, trees are bare, most plants wither and die off, the harvest of both animal and vegetation is past, and life slows down for humans too. Animals slumber and hibernate, passing time in deep sleep, their systems slowed to a point that allows them to live on their reserves, fats stored in their bodies.
It really is only within the more contemporary times that human's in developed countries continue with the same hustle and bustle as the rest of the year; in the past, we slowed our activity too. Winter was a time to repair or replace tools and implements that we used throughout the rest of the year; a time for us to stay indoors as much as possible, out of the elements, focusing on activities that we may have put off until we would be more dormant too.
I grew up in Pennsylvania, where winters are cold and snow is the norm. January marked the midyear for academic schedules. Holiday rush was over, Thanksgiving and Christmas travel was behind us, and snow days could be counted on.
So when winter comes now, those months of January, February, and March, I expect to slow down. I look forward to the time to rest, the time to allow my brain to breathe and my body to repair from all the damage stress has worn. I know that the days will grow longer, yes, but so slowly that the dark seems to settle early in the day, late afternoon or early evening. Dark signals me that it is time to rest, to slow, to sleep. Coldness creeps in, and you may find me layered in short sleeves, long sleeves, jackets, or thermals.
I expect to be quieter, more reflective, less likely to schedule myself with lots of commitments and obligations. Perhaps because I do expect an ebb in the pace of my life, I am less likely to fight the shift into stillness. I seek the deep slumber that my body craves, not because I am depressed, but because this to me is the natural cycle that fits.
Not everyone has these options, I know. But, I do. So I take advantage of the ability to breathe, to be calm and still, to rest, to surround myself with peace and pleasantness. To be.