My friend's auntie was trying to get her mind around my winter depression. We were sitting out on the back porch and she was skewing her eyes with concern as I explained the function of my sunlamp. The sunlamp, I explained, triggered some kind of seratonin supply that would otherwise be all hibernating in my central nervous system, sitting in its slippers, playing black jack on the computer and sipping its morning coffee for hours. Enter the sunlamp to yell at it and to tell it to come out and play with the rest of the neurotransmitters. I told her about seasonal affective disorder and how it makes me so so tired during the winter. How I have no desire to leave the house generally, and want to cover everything I eat with hazelnut spread and heavy heavy cheeses. How I have no focus or stamina unless I sit in front of the sunlamp for at least half an hour like its a bank teller. Oh, how I love my sunlamp, I told her, from September to March, it's the best thing that has happened to winter since snowshoes. Or Netflix.
Then she said that she thought she had seasonal affective disorder, too. But only for the summer. She said that the warmer weather always triggered a kind of melancholy in her. It reminded her that she was very much alone, and just thinking about going out and taking a walk around the pond was very depressing, since she had no walking partner. She felt tremendous pressure to partner up during the summer months, and it all culminated in making her just want to hibernate. It was understandable, I said, but then what was the antedote? A dark lamp?
What is it about the turning of seasons that prompts our bodies to want to hibernate? To hope that a particular season will soon pass to give us license to feel *ourselves* again? Are we all a little like plants that are perhaps not meant for certain climates or hemispheres? Or are we all bound to favor certain seasons - to thrive during some and to bumble around inside during others? Furthermore, why is it acceptable to retire to Florida post-65 but, until then, "only practical" to live in one locale for four seasons out of the year.
Maybe I should start my own pre-retirement community somewhere. Bermuda shorts and straw hats perfectly acceptable, even during the winter.