I hate to break it to those who think winter is finally over: it’s not. Sure, it’s the beginning of April and Easter is next weekend. Sure, the sun’s been shining and the ground is now thawed enough to dig around in. Sure, the trees are starting to blossom and the crocuses are poking their heads above ground and the pollen has started to drift skyward. Sure, the robins have been back for a month.
My husband, who is the news junkie, just informed me that there’s snow in the forecast for tonight. NINE inches of snow. Yes, the sun is shining right now and we all know weathermen do not look outside; they are glued to their computer screens and Doppler radar and ground-sensing doo-dads. One day last week, I was listening to the car radio when the weather came on. The announcer diligently proclaimed that the day’s high temperature would be 45.
It was already 62 degrees.
No matter how much I yearn for fair weather, lots of sunshine, and an opportunity to resume my life’s calling in the garden, I will not fall for the false promise of spring.
I don’t care what that stupid groundhog says, a large furry rodent does not know when spring will be sprung. The way I look at it, Ground Hog’s Day is an excuse to party, to break up the monotony of winter — a little over a month after Christmas, and a little over a month until St. Patrick’s Day. People should call it “Let’s Drink and Be Stupid Day.”
No, it’s not spring until the SAD woman sings.
That’s right, I have SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. I am sad during winter, when the days contract and the sun is absent. I didn’t realize it at all until a couple of years ago, when during a doctor’s visit my physician asked me some pertinent questions. Looking over my voluminous chart, we realized a constant. I become depressed in the wintertime.
It was that way for me as a young person, and into my twenties. I’d blame my blues or depression on other things, like job problems, boyfriend problems, or health problems, not realizing that my problem was caused by winter itself.
This isn’t a good problem to have if you have lived most of your life in the northern part of the United States. No wonder I was a basket case when I lived in the Twin Cities. There were winters in the ‘70s and ‘80s when I wondered why I was still living there. The only good thing about living in Detroit is that it’s a few degrees south in latitude, so winter ends about two weeks sooner than it does in Minnesota.
I know of people who have terrible cases of SAD, unable to cope with life at all without the aid of plenty of medication and light therapy. Fortunately, I'm not among those poor souls.
However, I’m still a person who dreams of living where I will never see snow or winter's wrath again. That’s right, a deserted tropical island would be a perfect place for me to live out my golden years. I surround myself with houseplants that grow outdoors in California: rosemary, bay, bougainvillea, orchids, philodendron, and bird of paradise. As soon as frost is no longer an issue, they all go outside to soak up real rays of sunlight. They get healthy and lush with four months of summer, bulking up for the six months they will strain to get enough light.
It’s not time to reposition my houseplants outside. Obviously, with nine inches of snow in the forecast, that would be foolhardy.
It’s also not yet time to give up my antidepressant medication. Two more weeks, maybe three, when the sun gains strength and the Arctic chill is forced back to where it belongs, maybe then I’ll wean myself slowly and get outside.
It’s not spring until the SAD woman sings.