I just want to be a bear. Crawl into a hole and sleep for the next four months because I know what’s coming – darkness, depression, fights about heat with my husband, eating too much candy (the bad kind) and crappy cardboard tomatoes. I even hate Thanksgiving because I am usually in the depths of a depression by then and can’t stand the food but I have to act cheerful and “eat up.”
When I was a kid, I actually got away with holing up pretty successfully. A serious illness at five kept me out of kindergarten. I was cured by first grade, but over the years, whenever I would tell my mother that my throat felt a little funny or gave her some other eye-fluttering excuse, I was allowed to stay home where I would happily read in bed all day with Chocolate Pinwheels hidden under my pillow. (Remember them? Chocolate covered marshmallows with a graham cracker crust – I could go for one right now.) My sisters were onto me but I didn’t care – this was all I wanted.
Every year, in the fall, I get a little nervous, make sure I have anti-depressants, and try to figure out a plan for how I am going to handle these next four months. Don’t tell me a vacation in the Caribbean because two weeks doesn’t help the day-to-day of this long season.
So I am writing, dear reader, because if you are not one of those spunky bright girls who loves the change of seasons, getting new school supplies even though you are 40, but feel like me, I offer one solution I discovered recently.
Find your cave, curl up, get your candy and choose a book that is actually denser and darker than your mood. Something like Dostoyevsky or Shakespeare’s tragedies because somehow allowing yourself to live in a world that, even if fictional, is worse that your own, helps. If you are lucky, five pounds fatter by the time you look up, the snow drops will be pushing their little faces thru the gray ice, the characters will have found some equanimity, and you will know you’ve made it thru. Again.