With over two feet of snow on the ground and negative temperatures arriving, even though winter solstice hasn’t arrived on the calendar yet, it’s safe to say winter is here.
Winter is a beautiful time of year on the homestead.
Having always been a northern girl, I really do love the changes of the seasons. I can’t imagine living in a climate where seasonal changes are mild or unnoticable. Every new season hold excitement for me. Although you’d think that after 40 years I’d totally have this seasonal change thing nailed, right? Nope. Complete nope. Especially when it comes to winter. And I think it’s becoming harder.
We do have a lot of fun in the snow. We play.
We snowshoe or go out for a daily walk. We explore.
We stay active shoveling, hauling wood, managing the animals and keeping their living spaces in working order, safe and warm. We continue to train the calves, putting them on light duty work. They recently helped haul back the holiday tree we cut down from our property – what a wonderful team they are.
But a few things have happened since Autumn changed to Winter.
My normal day of being outside in the sun for sometimes 10 hours a day, enjoying the beach, working the garden, harvesting the foods, preserving them and oogling of the beauty of providing the bulk of ones food – this has stopped.
Around the same time all that stopped, in mid-October we said goodbye to our dear family member, Quigley. At 14 1/2 years old, life was getting too hard for him. Saying goodbye was hard, adjusting to life without his sweet soul being by my side was torture. For weeks I dreaded entering the yurt without his happy greeting. Anything that was out of place or laying on the floor, registered in my brain as him. I cried daily…for quite a while. Those of you who know me, I don’t cry, it was pretty foreign to me. The grief feels different now, but it still hurts.
By late October, it was almost always cloudy. My time outside was rarely met with the sun. I was spending a lot of time inside now, focused on my contract employment duties and full on in our day-to-day homeschool life.
One day during these seasonal and life impacting changes, I realized something. I was really sad. Not unhappy, I can see all the amazing things going on in my life around me, it’s just that I was somber and sorry feeling. A huge grey cloud was looming over, pulling from my energy and adding challenges (how I feel and perceive things, not physical ones) to my life that didn’t need to be there, that were just getting in the way.
I realized what shock my physical body had just gone through with the seasons changing. Going from active almost all waking hours and in the sun, to more restful indoor activites (although my mind at first told me this was lazy…ok, it still does). I realized what shock my emotional being had just gone through, tending to the kids and their education as my primary daily activity (I’m not gonna lie, being with the kids non-stop as Mama and teacher is hard for me) and also losing my best bud. The time when I was seeking the pleasure of having the comfort of his unconditional understanding and furry body to pet, he wasn’t there.
I know people generally don’t talk about feeling sad….but why not?! We don’t need to be alone in this. As someone who says more things aloud than I probably should, I will talk about it. People get sad. They get sad because of seasonal changes (seasonal affective disorder). They get sad because of a major life changes. Or, maybe minor ones. Maybe they just get sad and there doesn’t even need to be a reason.
When I realized how I was feeling, I said it. I told Tim and the kids, I told friends. Some didn’t respond…that’s okay, it can we be weird, not everyone can understand. Others showed care by saying or texting messages of love. One sent a small gift and made sure to pull me out of the house for quality friend time. Another invited me to her couch, handed me a box of Kleenex, asked how I was doing and listened without judgement. This, plus adding more outdoor physical activity daily (I NEED nature), short break times for just me, and loads of Vitamin D supplements cleared away that stupid grey cloud. Time probably helped too, since part of the stupid grey cloud is grief.
I don’t have the answers to getting rid of the cloud, but I know acceptance and talking to someone is a good start. I still have partly cloudy days. And that’s okay, mostly the sun is shining.
To my friends and readers – I’m sending you love and I’m wishing you sunny days ahead. ♥