Beverly Godfrey column: Thinking of brighter days
As the sun has started to appear with more frequency, I feel happier, like my old self again, and realize how much my energy was depleted by our long bout with gray, cold and snow. I would have needed the constitution of a robot not to feel depressed this past winter. A lot of people I’ve talked to have said the same thing.
But spring has started and faltered again and again. I’ve turned off the heat “for the last time” about 10 times. It’s electric, so there’s no big furnace to turn off and on, just the thermostats in each room. But it’s still a bother, and you’d think we’d be done with this by now.
Since in some ways, it still feels like winter, I’m keeping up with my winter-coping strategies. I bought some candles to add a little brightness to the living room. I bought four with different scents, thinking I’d use one at a time. But I ended up lighting all four at once, creating the smell of an apple, cinnamon, tropical island, patchouli mash-up. The house might look a mess, but it smells like Pier 1 Imports, so it’s easy to imagine it’s decorated all neat and pretty, too.
My fireplace is helpful this time of year, even more so than during winter. It burns off the dampness in the house and provides light where the sun fails. I imagine our ancestors spending the winter staring at a fire; it’s what we’re supposed to be doing, really, while mending tools and spinning cloth and telling stories. Our modern lives don’t accommodate the seasons as well. I trudge through the same routines year-round, but I’d rather hunker down like a bear under the snow.
I’ve also spent a lot of time pretending I’m somewhere else. This could be called delusion, daydreaming or vegging out. But I’ll put a positive spin on it and call it meditating. See what a difference our word choices can make?
I’m meditating on happy memories of sun, peace and heat.
There was a day when I was returning to college on a plane. As the plane got lower, the clouds became gray and thick — dark by the time we landed. The rain was heavy, the air cold. I remember what I saw that day any time it’s cold and rainy. There is bright sun above it all.
Another memory is from a drive across the Dakotas before I had kids, at a little rest stop at the geographic center of the United States. I recall a horizon 30 miles away and air that smelled like flowers. All was quiet except for the faint sound of the breeze and the bleating of one baby lamb.
Moving on to one of the most crowded places on earth, I enjoy a memory from Disney World a few years ago. I was sipping a frozen lemonade while the kids played at “Donald’s Boat” in Mickey’s Toontown. It was hot, and the youngest kid slept in the shade of a stroller while I soaked in the heat and sat on a bench watching the kids play. Years later, I’m still living off that heat.
These memories always help bring brightness, peace and warmth to mind. Here’s hoping you’ve soaked in your share of memories, too, because it can still feel pretty chilly out there.
Beverly Godfrey is a News Tribune copy editor and columnist. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.