November 21, 2001


Winter is arriving at this very moment. A cold front is working its way across New England to the Seacoast. The early morning forecast said the high would be forty two degrees today. But it was fifty eight degrees when I checked. Even could not get it right. But now, two hours later, the temperature has dropped to forty four degrees. And the forecast holds the possibility of snow.

We have been blessed with spectacular weather here in New England for the last three months. It made me wonder what the big deal was about winter. It has not even felt Fall-like. Maybe winter would be similarly postponed or even skipped all together. Maybe I could leave the heavy jackets in the back of the closet. Maybe the sun will continue to shine every day.

No. Today started dark and got darker. The sky resembles the stirred froth of the nearby sea. The trees that have held tight to last leaves of color are surrendering to the wind and the rain. The empty trunks and limbs stand and sway with no excitement. Spring is a long way off.

New Englanders pretend to like winter, but for most that is a big lie. We depend on the holidays in November and December to get us through the first part. And then we look for some piece of hope to help us endure January and February. Maybe it is skiing. Maybe it is Florida. Maybe it is the mall. If only we can make it to March. But of course March turns out to be the worst month of all. Spring does not arrive and the world turns to mud.

So a long winter begins this morning. I am working hard not to be governed by that thought. I want to ignore it, to rise above it. I want to say that I am strong enough to get through it with a perky attitude. This year will feel different. I will not feel house bound when it gets cold and the streets are filled with slush. I will not feel put upon by lousy weather. It may be storming outside, but inside I will be happy and cheery. I am bigger than the weather. It should not affect my life. I will be strong.

But I know better. I know that there will be some additional struggles for me. People ask me if I have Seasonal Affective Disorder caused by a lack of light. I reply no, I can be miserable in all seasons. I am an equal opportunity employer when it comes to suffering.

In truth, my problem today is not the weather. My problem is that I am tired, and tired is not a good place for me to be. But I have decided that today’s malaise should be blamed on the weather. In fact, it is the fault of the weather reporting service. I am mad at them for getting the forecast wrong. I cannot find anyone else to get angry at, so they will do. And by the way, I am not angry, only tired. And if the power had not gone out in the middle of my writing this, I would be done by now. Perhaps not as tired. No I am not angry.

And I am not sad. I do not know why the Chopin piece that my wife is now playing on the piano makes me want to cry. I should be happy. I have no reason to be sad. No I am not sad or angry. I am only unhappy. Unhappy does not have anything to do with feeling. It is just a place of lack of joy. That’s all. I know that those feelings are overrated. To live with a lack is better than living in those distasteful, negative feelings.

I guess that I really have it all figured out now. I will just skate (a cold, winter metaphor) through the next few months. I will be fine, just fine.