Monday, February 15, 2010

Seasonal Affective Disorder

When the gray sky dome descends upon us in November and doesn't often rise until March or April, I understand there are some people who get depressed, but not me. Nothing makes my blood race more than a cool fall day, with dry dead rustling leaves, wood smoke in the air, and imminent frost. That is because I know winter is coming, and I love winter. I love being wrapped in cashmere, and cooking hearty soups and stews, and baking sweetbreads and cookies. I love Christmas too, along with a cheerful fire on the hearth, hot tea, and feeling all warm and cozy inside.

No, for me, SAD kicks in during our wretched southern summers. I get weary of the same old weather forecast in July of the three H's: hot, hazy, and humid. When I wake in the dim light of a summer morning, and the temperature is already above 80 degrees, I want to pull the covers over my head and never emerge. Invariably, the forecast is for 93 degrees with 90% humidity with a 30% chance of rain, but it never does. I get tired of being hot wearing any clothes at all, much less anything with sleeves, and I feel sticky and itchy the entire day until I sink into a cool bath at night. On my way to work in the morning, the pavement is already radiating heat waves, and I am so tempted to just drive north until I find a New England seaside town where they do not build their houses with air conditioning. Once at work, the difference between the outside temp and the inside air conditioning can vary as much as 25 degrees, so I am alternately sweaty and freezing everywhere I go. Maybe this is why Scotland is my preferred vacation destination: I am thoroughly sick of our relentless summers.

Except this year.

This year after two feet of snow, most of which is still in my yard, I now understand why people from up north take cruises in February and March. If they didn't, they would just stay in bed or drive south until they found people who say things like, "I've never seen snow," and don't build their houses with heat. I now understand why Yankees retire to Florida. I now understand why Summerset created "Garden Path" while experiencing a frigid northern winter. Last month my electric bill was the highest ever, and I don't know how much more I can stand. My skin never feels warm, and I don't want to get up in the morning. It's either snowing or raining, and I don't remember when the temperatures last exceeded 40 degrees.

So bring on daylight savings time and the daffodils and Easter Sunday! Where spring was once dreaded, it is now longed for. I welcome the tulips and St. Patrick's Day and your new barbeque grills. I propose we all go on spring break, together. Bring your sewing machines.


Lindah said...

I hear you, Kim! When I lived in VA, I always said, "I don't care how cold it gets as long as the sun shines." I was younger then. I probably would care about the cold now. Where I live now, the summers are not humid, but oh the heat and smoke...115 degrees with smoke, always smoke; either wildfires or prescribed burns to prevent wildfires. Smoke is smoke. Makes the sun red. One is bad as the other. Surely, there must be a perfect climate out there somewhere?

gwensews said...

I never liked summer. Ever. I do much better in the winter. But, this year has been exceptional with freezing temperatures and snow. I don't want to see summer, but I could really use a nice dose of fall, which is my favorite time of year.

KimP said...

Wow. Heat AND smoke. Talk about adding insult to injury! I think the solution is that we win the lottery and move around the globe, always staying in the perfect climate. Maine in summer, Miami in the winter. Or just jet off to Australia when its autumn there!

Mary said...

So funny, I love winter now that we live in MN. We get snow but our days are bright and sunny. I don't miss the dreary, winters of the mid Atlantic at all although I don't miss the LONG summers from living in FL and GA either!

Summerset said...

LOL! Trust me, I do not miss the roasting out side/deep freeze inside summers of the south. I spent quite a few summers as a kid in Tampa, FL and believe it or not, our house had only one little window unit air conditioner (we also only had 2 small in-wall electric heater units in the hall way). My mother would turn it on only during the hottest most humid days and then shut half the doors in the house to keep it cool in one section only.

Our house in NH does not have air conditioning, not even a window unit and it is ok, except for the few really hot days of summer. Then we go lounge at a friend's pool.