Today I’m suspended in gray. Ash mostly, a bit of slate, a sprinkling of charcoal. Other days there’s mercury and fog or if I’m lucky silver and gunmetal. Rarely do I glimpse other hues. Cursing under my breath, frustrated with the slightest disturbance, the wheels slip in the cogs and the whole contraption pauses. Machines and my mind falter, the world slides, out of balance, off key.
I knew it was coming. I’d staved it off for so long. Remember all that caffeine and the hours in front of the happy light? Recall my boasting of regular exercise and fanciful holiday dinners? But even with those efforts, it arrived. This, the winter grays, came on hard, like thunder rolling over my world. I would call it winter blues, but I’ve seen so little of blue. All I see are the ever-present shades of gray interrupted by all that black.
Even though I expected it, I’m surprised. I live at the top of the planet, after all. A California girl in a place with only five hours of daylight? There’s no way I can exist here without falling under the curse. They warn you about it. I’ve written about it. And now I’ve succumbed to it.
This week, I packed away our holiday decorations and turned off all the twinkling lights. Instead of watching the sky burst, I scan the road and notice the ground littered with the debris of fireworks long-exploded. Instead of planning the next champagne night, I start a rigorous New Year diet. No more drowning out the winter with red wine or even with frothy lattes. And with the diet comes a two-week intensive period where I’m to walk each day, instead of sprint on the treadmill or swim for an hour in a hot pool beneath the snow.
Even the kids grumble and grow grumpy. Beautiful white snow surprises us, then disappoints, followed as it is so quickly by rain or hail or wind. Or, recently, all three at the same time, keeping everyone indoors, avoiding whatever is beyond the front door. School days, I get the kids off and the morning surges with possibility, until 10:00am when I’m at my desk begging the pitch-black sky to disappear. Solstice passed, but there is still so much darkness, SO MUCH WINTER. I pace, sit, stare, and use all my might to become productive.
Hibernating has never been my strong suit, nor denying myself culinary pleasures. So today, I’m going to wallow in it, I’ll trudge and groan through the winter grays. Complain and carp. Whine and whimper.