Hazy shades of winter

I keep singing that song by Simon & Garfunkel (and later, redone by the Bangles, the version I prefer), A Hazy Shade of Winter.

Most likely this is because we got a couple of more inches of snow this morning. And yes, it is beautiful, everything coated and soft. When evening comes (and it comes at around 4 p.m. now, and we’re still losing over five minutes a day), everything turns a lovely blue before darkness settles in.

And settles in. And settles in. We’re down to seven hours of daylight and trust me, the darkness can wear on you. It can press down on your shoulders and make you feel a little bit crazy.

Which is why I have to run or swim or get out each day. If I don’t, I sink down into a dark place and lie on the sofa and stuff carbs into my mouth while binge watching Netflix (it’s Weeds right now, poor Nancy Botwin and her impossibly messy choices, and why in the hell is she always sipping on some type of drink?).

But when it’s still light, in that hour or so before dark, when I’m finishing up my run, I feel that special magic of winter and dusk and the silence of the snow-coated trees and the occasional moose I pass as the dog and I run trails, and at such times, I am madly and wildly happy.

Of course, my running high only last so long. And then I begin to sink again. It’s the time of year. It’s the darkness. It’s to be expected. Sometimes I go to the gym at night, crank the treadmill up on its highest elevation setting and trudge up and up and up while watching Weeds. Sometimes I do this for two hours. I realize that this is a little bit extreme, a little bit ridiculous, but it gets me through.

The odd thing is that as much as I don’t exactly adore the winter, as much as the darkness wears me down, I still find it incredibly beautiful. I suppose that’s always the case, isn’t it? It’s always easier to love the things that are hard, that we don’t understand; the things that challenge us the most.

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12 thoughts on “Hazy shades of winter

  1. Beautiful, and honestly, a little frightening. I imagine that I would feel as if the darkness were beginning to erase me as the day holds less and less light.
    You are both really disciplined and very blessed to go at the running like that. I know I am not that disciplined, especially when it comes to taking care of my body, but also am feeling very frustrated that I can’t get the aerobics I need because of my foot reconstruction. But I could still walk, at least when the foot isn’t acting up, and I have not been. And why? The dumbest reason EVER. I feel as if neighbors are watching me. And there is no park close enough to drive to.

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    1. That’s not a dumb reason at all, Luanne. Sometimes I feel that way when I’m running on the treadmill at the gym, as if everyone is watching me and criticizing my pace, my form, the expression on my face, etc., when really, I doubt that anyone cares. Still, I think that we are all self-conscious when it comes to moving our bodies. There is such a backlash against women and how we are supposed to look, how we are supposed to move and feel and be. It’s exhausting and stifling and just wrong, wrong, wrong. So go for a walk, okay? Listen to headphones or books on tape and if you see the neighbors watching from the window, give them a good wave and then feel smug because you’re out walking and they’re stuck inside. P.S. I wish I were as disciplined about my writing as I am about my running, sigh, sigh.

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      1. Thanks for making me feel a bit better about it. You contextualized it in a way that makes it larger than me, which is nice. I felt like I was being so paranoid, and I know I am, but . . . . I am pretty sure you’re disciplined about your writing, BTW. OK, I will try very hard to take your advice! Thank you!

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  2. I find the short, dreary, sunless days of winter hard enough in Ohio. I can’t imagine them in Alaska. Your pictures are beautiful though. And I loved Weeds! Was sad to see it end, even if it did veer off into some strange places.

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    1. I grew up in NW PA (probably much like Ohio) and the winters there were quite dreary. We lived close to the lake and averaged 100 inches of snow a year. That was not fun. So how in the heck did I end up in Alaska? Life is odd and strangely wonderful, isn’t it? P.S. I’m on Season Five of Weeds, hee, hee.

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    1. Oh, wow, Dan, you guys have it so much worse up there. No light at all for months. Keep busy, okay. P.S. Nice photos on your site. Kind of jealous. What type of camera do you use? Cheers and happy wintering.

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  3. I love your blue photos … I guess Alaska winters are your “blue phase,” with many takes on the word blue. It’s what I miss about north New York. As much as one misses the sun, the hours of warm light, the dark in winter is special. I loved winter nights when the moon was full and everything looked like a black and white photograph. And the quiet. No insects buzzing. No birds singing. Just a loud silence 😉
    And please don’t be hard on yourself with your writing. You are more prolific than you give yourself credit for.

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    1. Yeah, winter is my “blue phase.” I get blue, the landscape turns blue. There’s so much blue! (Ever read “Squandering the Blue” by Kate Braverman? Soooo good. In fact, I think I’m going to have to read it again.) But yes, winters can feel special. I do love the quietness. We usually run around dusk and I swear I can feel the quietness of the night fall over my shoulders. It’s quite nice, actually. But still, it’s cold. Right now it’s 14 degrees: brrrr! And thanks for the writing nudge. I do think that I am too hard on myself. Why is that? Maybe it’s easier to be hard on myself than to accept myself for who I am, which is a scary, scary thing. Cheers and enjoy the night sounds, okay?

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      1. Oh, you just summed it up so nicely: “Maybe it’s easier to be hard on myself than to accept myself for who I am, which is a scary, scary thing.” Indeed, at 60, I’m only gradually accepting myself for who I am. This might be the upside of aging: I no longer give a f**k 😉

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