Tag Archives: January

Finding some beauty in a dreary Ohio January

Ohio is experiencing yet another random January. Snow one day, rainĀ  the next; 10 degrees one day, 50 the next. And so it goes. Typical Ohio weather.

Every year, people comment on how strange this winter is and the usual contention is that it is all the result of global warming — which is no doubt true. Those of us who are at least 40 years old will swear that we had a LOT more snow in our childhoods than our children have ever seen.

I distinctly remember clearly 29 years ago, just six years after New Jersey scientist Wally Broecker coined the term, “global warming”. It was early February, because daughter number one was just one month old. She and I ventured out for a walk on a sunny, balmy day — I wore shorts and a t-shirt, she in a light sleeper and tucked into the Snugli.

The truth is, Ohio winters can be very dreary. Sunny days are few and far between. SAD is a common phenomena, so the sale of “happy lights” increases in winter time. In fact, as I write this, my SunTouch is cranked up on high.

Surprisingly, I woke up this morning to sun shining in the window. Five hours later, it has disappeared behind a bank of clouds threatening us with some sort of precipitation. But for the few hours that the sun was out, it was glorious.

Sunday is a day off from running, so I opted for a walk through Motter Metropark, a small park on the edge of town. It’s about two miles in length, and rambles through former farmland and a small woods.

The higher parts of the trail are frozen but at the lower end, one has to walk carefully, hopping chunks of dirt to avoid wet feet — a thin layer of ice covers large areas of standing water.

It occurred to me that although we often view this time of year as dreary with little color dotting the landscape, it’s also good to remember that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” My friend, Joanne, commented that she has snowdrops blooming. Though I didn’t see any signs of those tiny white flowers, I decided to focus on what signs of beauty dot our landscape. Here are some examples:

Return of the dreaded month

It’s back. January. No matter how hard I try to skip this month, it always comes back to haunt me. I hate it. Well, maybe that’s too strong of a word. I strongly dislike it. Very strongly. But since I don’t get my pick of months, there’s no skipping it.

My husband threatens every year to ship me off to Arizona for a month to stay with my brothers. I’m not sure if that’s because he thinks the sun will be brighter there or if he just thinks my brothers are better prepared to deal with my grouchiness. Probably a little bit of both.

Here’s the thing. I have this job. It requires me to stay put during January…in fact, it’s usually one of my busier months since we have new students starting up in a few weeks. So this busyness should keep my mind off the fact that it is January…dark…dreary…cold…snowy…in general, a yucky time of year.

About 10 years ago, I realized I’m part of a club. I didn’t ask to join this club; in fact, if I had my way, I would not join any clubs. But there it is….a club one is assigned to whether one likes it or not. It’s called SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which very simply translates to winter depression or winter blues. There are those who claim this is bunk.Well, bully for them.

Fortunately, I’m in good company. I share this with my husband, a child, several friends, and probably a whole slew of others.

You’d think by now I’d be ready for this…but no. Every year it sneaks up on me like a nasty cold. It hangs around and around until about the end of February when the world lightens up. The sky lightens earlier in the day and the night sky darkens later in the evening.

So out come the magic lights…those bright, luminous boxes that deliver the elixir of energy. Sit in front of one of these every day and you’ll smile through the darkness. Add an even more magical wake-up light that is said to align “the body’s circadian rhythms that regulate normal sleeping and waking patterns”.

Okay, so I might not bound out of bed but slowly waking up to this pseudo sunshine makes getting up easier. And my husband might not ship me off to AZ to face Big Brother.