The holidays are past and another year has come and gone.
Is it just me, or does that sound depressing?
The funny thing is, seems like we set ourselves up for it to be depressing.
It’s cold outside, the days are short and often gray, which we can’t control, but up until Christmas, we have our houses decorated and everywhere we look we see lights and beauty, of some sort.
In summer, of course, there’s the green of everything and a general “slow-down” time when school is out, most people vacation, have cook-outs, etc., etc. Then comes fall with its fresh breath of cooler air and the color of the autumn leaves to be enjoyed, there are pumpkins, mums and fireplace fires and Halloween festivities for young, or young at heart. From there we segue right into Thanksgiving, followed without pause by Christmas and then, sigh, finally New Year’s Day. After that, and sometimes before New Year’s itself, we strip down the decorations we’ve so lovingly put up, throw away the wrapping paper and other remnants of Christmas, of Thanksgiving, of life during the holiday season.
We go back to our routines, we bundle up, we fight colds and the flu, the wind, the rain and maybe the ice, we do our tax returns, etc., etc.
So it seems that what we’re left with at this time of year is, well, depressing.
And it’s weird to me that we not only take down and put away the Santas, the Christmas tree, the candy canes and the reindeer – in fact most of us (myself included) put away any colorful decorations we have, including the red candles, the snowmen (I mean, come on, it is winter), the snowflake decorations.
We’re just left with cold and gray.
You get the picture. It’s as if we collectively say “well that’s over — back to the cold austere reality of life.”
No wonder we’re depressed.
I always feel like I “endure” January and February to get to that first glimpse of spring, when, in fact, I need to remind myself that there is a beauty to be found in every time of year.
For instance, I love to watch the industrious little squirrels working and playing their way through these winter days. They chase each other, hang from their tails to reach forbidden birdfeeders and chatter away to the cats that swish their tails on the ground below.
The birds that come to the birdfeeders are beautiful and unique, each species in their own way.
Walks in the woods (after deer season) will show you things that you’ll never see in spring or summer – the unique curve of the trees against the pale winter sky, the way a stream looks as it winds unencumbered by leaves through a valley. If you’re lucky, you may see a deer, or a turkey or another forest resident that would otherwise be hidden.
Then there are those quiet evenings by the fire with a cat or dog (or in my case several) curled up at your feet or in your lap, a good book, and a cup of coffee.
Can’t beat that.
Most of all, maybe it’s about feeling peace and contentment in the stillness, maybe taking a little time to recharge, while the earth is turning toward spring and the first shoots of life renew us once again.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.