Winter has never been my best time of the year. I look back at my journal entries from my winters in Minnesota as a teenager and I am sure that I suffered from fairly severe S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder). All through the winter months, my journal entries would smack of discouragement and negativity, then magically change to a more positive tone come April or May of every year. I never caught on to the pattern though until moving to a warmer climate. Since living in Virginia (39° N latitude), I sometimes still struggle in winters, but on a much less severe scale than when I lived in Minnesota (45° N latitude).
Spencer getting diagnosed with leukemia at the beginning of January was both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it was nice to have the kids well established in their routines at school at that point, so the disruption to their daily schedules was minimal. Also, I think it was helpful that we were in "hunkering down" mode already which made the long days at the hospital seem slightly less daunting to face.
ON the other hand, since his time in the hospital two winters ago, I have discovered that wintertime is a struggle in a new way for me. First off, I worry a lot more Spencer's health in the winter. Because my memories of his diagnosis are all wrapped up with the winter, I automatically think the worst whenever he mentions that he isn't feeling well. It's actually a little easier with this now that he's at college, so that I'm not constantly checking his pallor or wondering if that extra nap he took has any meaning, however it does seem like he's gotten sick an awful lot this school year, which has made me worry a lot! Secondly, S.A.D. or not, I am definitely more emotionally fragile than usual in the winter…especially at the end of winter when undoubtedly my vitamin D stores are at their lowest. I am especially sensitive to others who are struggling with their own serious health issues or with those of a child. I've gotten to the point, that I can't even watch videos of kids with cancer anymore. It's just too much for me.
So, I share all this, because this long winter is starting to get to me. March in Virginia is usually a very mild time of year and we start spending more and more time outside. Although I love the snow and the variety it brings to winters (even the days off of school are something I look forward to), yesterday's snowstorm was a hard one for me. In fact, yesterday was just plain a hard day for me. I had been disappointed by something the night before and I woke up that morning feeling off-kilter and sad. I tried to stay away from everyone for a while, but I worried that if I didn't snap out of it soon that my negativity could taint what would otherwise be a fun day off of school for the kids. Finally, I decided that I needed to get outside for a while. Never mind that it was about 20-degrees and still snowing, I needed fresh air, quiet time to reflect, and something creative for my brain to think about.
So I went on a photo-walk.
I didn't take any amazing pictures. I had no eye opening "ah-ha" moments. I just walked and enjoyed the quiet stillness. The brisk air was invigorating. The solitude gave me the time to feel closer to God and to see my very shallow problems for what they actually are. I came home still subdued, but not sad anymore.
We enjoyed the rest of the day playing outside, drinking hot chocolate, walking to the shopping center for some dinner, playing board games, and watching a very dumb movie.
It was a good day.
Here are some of the pictures I took:
Barefoot! Daddy will help pack down the powdery snow!
I love the striking contrast of a cardinal in the snow!