Archive for the ‘winter’ Category

Winter felled

Marked in summer, demise foretold; Cut down at last, in a season cold

No more shade upon my walk; no more place for birds to talk

A part of the street for 20 years; Passed away with no shed tears

Nothing planted in their place to grow; Nothing to improve the barren show

It takes years and years to grow a tree; Who will see it, I fear ….. not me

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Holiday Thoughts

The holidays have come and gone, the last remnants of lights disappearing from the houses of those reluctant to lose the spirit of the season.  Since I didn’t decorate, there’s been no need to un-decorate, and so instead I thought about the time and what I learned.

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First, holidays are about others.  Until this year there was always a piece that involved receiving, but this year even that last tiny portion disappeared.  I’ve been discovering for the last few years that the best parts of gifts and giving was trying to find a gift that surprised or met a need. This year it came with a gift of a book to a friend who didn’t know I’d been paying attention, and to a late gift of 45’s (yes, records believe it or not!) that brought back good memories for someone.

I also discovered that the time can be highly productive.  Without having work lurking in the back of my mind (because almost all projects slowed to a frozen-molasses crawl during the last three weeks of December) I became free to focus on the things that I had been putting off for weeks or months but that I’d not had the energy to tackle.  From cleaning out closets to building new shelves, framing pictures, and catching up on reading, a whole list of things was accomplished.  (A word of caution however; don’t save it all for one week! I was exhausted after the first five days because I was doing so much!  Fortunately I had a couple of extra days to recover).

Finally, I acknowledged yet again that there is a difference between alone and lonely….although sometimes I don’t realize it until it’s too late.  Many of the days of tasks were done alone, and there were a couple of days that I probably didn’t speak to anyone because I was in the apartment taking care of things.  But while that’s good, the alone times tend to morph and change and become lonely times. And in the cold of winter darkness that can be especially trying.

Clearly this post has been percolating for a bit, because the holidays I’m talking about were Christmas and New Year, not Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day!

Time change

Even though we’re on the upslope of daylight, even though we are gaining precious minutes each week, even though I have so far survived this….I still feel the need to rail against Standard Time and mourn the loss of Daylight Savings Time.  Because I need to save all the daylight I can, have it touch me all that I can.  I don’t know the full story of the creating of daylight savings time and standard time. But it’s time for it to stop. Let’s do Daylight Savings and keep it there, year round.

The world has changed considerably since Summer Time, as Daylight Savings Time was first known, was introduced.  Things have even changed since we codified it in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  At one point it made sense based on how we lived and the condition of the developed world.  Technology and society have moved on and the reasons for supporting the constant switching of time are no longer so valid. We now have a 24-7 existence where people do everything from telework (thanks to the web) to shop and even go to the gym at all hours.  I’ve seen the Washington Beltway as busy at 11 pm and 1 am as it is at 11 am and 1 pm. We have designed energy-efficient facilities, use LED lights, and drive higher efficiency vehicles.  The idea of saving energy….has evaporated like frost in the sunlight.  A working world that was ruled by 9-5 schedules is different from what we have now.  Now it’s ruled by 24-7, and people do everything at all hours.

The time difference doesn’t help with farming and crops.  We have lost the society where there were large number of people on the land, and farming was a manual chore.  Now we don’t have large portions of the population living on farms and rising up early to milk cows and till the earth anymore. Farms are still important, they just are just significantly more automated and mechanized, and less impacted by the clock.

The time switching doesn’t help protect kids going to school.  The most dangerous time for pedestrians and for accidents is when the clock changes and we have a sudden shift in light and dark and twilight.  And now, because of football, band, aftercare and numerous other activities, they tend to go home in the dark instead of leave from home in the morning in the dark.

Finally…..it screws with my SAD and ruins months of the year for me (what?….why yes, yes, it IS all about me!).  Seasonal Affective Disorder is more widely recognized and understood, more widely diagnosed than ever before. It is the depression that comes from lack of light and disruption of rhythms, and the shift of the day only brings the dark of night upon us faster and faster.

Yes I’m grateful for the extra minutes I’ve been gaining these past couple of weeks.  Yes, it helps with my mood and my exercise; with my energy and productivity.  So I say “Down with Falling Back!”  Change the rules.  Have Congress do something useful AND unify the country (since there are a couple of states that don’t participate in this Ponzi scheme of the clock.  Stay with Spring Forward….do it in the spring and keep it there!

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I hate today.

Valentine’s Day.

It is a big, red, trigger-inducing, life-sucking day, unrelieved even by the copious amounts of chocolate around.

It reminds me of my childhood, of the valentines never received, the ones sent that were never responded to, the sense that all the others were liked and friends and I was not.

It reminds me of my marriage, of the never-ending failures on my part to do it right, to make it something that I would be complimented and loved for instead of being constantly off the mark.  Of the stress of trying to do it right, but always doing it wrong even when I thought I was listening.  Of the wrong kinds of flowers, the wrong events.

It reminds me of life post-divorce, of the lack of anyone who cares about me, who loves me, who would want to be with me.  Of Charlie Brown who complained that no one ever liked him at Christmas, but knowing that it is Valentine’s Day that displays the deep truth of being unwanted.

It reminds me more than Christmas of how uncoupled my life is, how unconnected to anyone it is.  How the only value in this otherwise stress filled holiday is the chocolate on half price sale….and knowing that the sale chocolates will no way make up for the empty shell that I stuff them into.

I hate Valentine’s Day.

Snow delayed

It’s been a lot longer since I posted than I intended. I have been pretty pleased with progress on writing more frequently in 2016…at least until the last couple of weeks. My falling of the wagon, or dropping of the pen (which would be more accurate, since I still tend to write longhand cursive the blog before I convert it to electrons on a computer) was due to a couple of factors.

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First up was work, which seemed to suck up time and suck out life at a faster than anticipated rate for a week or two. The second event was the blizzard. It seems to have thrown off my rhythm and pace of writing. Not that I couldn’t have written during the storm and the dig out. I could have, and probably should have. But instead I hunkered in and hibernated during that week. I grew lazy and bonded with my sweat pants and claimed dominion over the futon. I became a cushion for a large orange feline to reside upon, became a coddler of my cuddler.

Time moves on though. Cleared streets allow me no respite from the call of work. The daily routine returns to its rinse and lather and repeat. And so now it’s time to start writing once again.

Dear Winter…..

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Dear Winter,

Do you remember when we first met last year, during the fall?  I was coming off a hot romance with Summer, and was burned out.  I was on a rebound, and your cool attitude won me over.  You were a breath of fresh air in my life, so brisk,, so invigorating!  You were so chill, so calming that you spoke to me, called to me.  You were such an influence in my days, and nights, you even caused me to wrap myself up in you.  I thought, especially those first couple of months, that this could last, would last.  I thought you could be my forever season that I would enjoy and cherish.  And through the holidays, you were.

But something happened after the new year. You changed, suddenly you weren’t the season I thought I knew.  You became frosty, harsh.  I’d never seen that side of you before, the biting way you attacked me days and nights.  Mornings were the worst, I felt totally frozen out by you.  And you became so variable.  One day you’d snow me with your frigid attitude and actions, and two days later warm up to me again.  It was like you were going through your own climate of change, dragging me along.  The mood swings were so difficult to handle; I didn’t know whether to down my jacket or not around you.  And just as I thought you were warming up, after a nice weekend where we were so comfortable in our skin…once again you’ve turned a cold shoulder to me.

I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this.  But Winter, I have to say I no longer have feelings for you.  You’ve numbed me with this last outburst.  I can’t risk that you’ll take me on another cycle of freeze and thaw, breaking my heart.  I need to move on, to find a season I can learn to live with and to love.  You need to go back to your northern home and stay there.  I no longer want to see you anymore, Winter.  I’m sorry.

Best of luck in your arctic adventure this year.  I’ll always remember the time we spent together, but I can’t live like this anymore.

regards

Jeff

It’s “The winter that never ends….”

Many years ago, when my daughter was young and we spent time together, we would watch a variety of sing a long videos while curled up on the futon that was in her room in the apartment.  One of the songs that we listened to was from Sheri Lewis.  Now, being of a certain age, I remember Sheri and Lamb Chop and Hushpuppy from back in my younger years (yes, Sheri has been around for a l-o-n-g time!).  And as this season of snow and cold and polar vortexes and continued storms a particular song came back to me, in a form that seems all too appropriate as we prepare for yet ANOTHER storm on Monday.

It’s “The song that never ends” which is much more like “The winter that never ends” these days.

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Warning, once heard, it will stick in your mind and stay with you…..so think of it as you shovel this week!