Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The longest month

Every winter I am melancholy, usually more intensely so after the winter solstice. My rational mind tells me that the darkest days are now behind, but by that point the damage is done and the dull wet landscape particularly dispiriting. I find myself wanting to sleep for 14 hours a day (if only!) and to lock myself away for the rest of the time. My brain slows down and everything is a little fuzzy until well into February. By March, I am quite content again.

This year I resolved to get outside more. Every day I need to get outside and see sunlight; not just on my way to someplace, but to really get out and see. A walk, a good long potter around the yard, sitting in the park. Not just to soak up the light but to find something in this grey urban landscape to be inspired by.

I 'borrowed' my neighbour's dog a couple of days ago and headed out for a walk around the grounds of the mental hospital. This is one of the most beautiful corners of my neighbourhood, sprawling Victorian landscaping, no flower beds, just trees and shrubs and lawns. Everything is a little wild and overgrown and if you stray from the main road, you could be in the countryside.  I ran with her through the muddy grounds, she was happy, as was I when I dropped her home. 

On Monday I didn't make it anywhere, but made up for it yesterday.  I spent 15 minutes pottering in the garden an hour after the sun rose. The yard is a mess - less pottering and photography and more tidying next time!

Spring comes early to our patio yard. It hasn't seen a killing frost yet. The annual geraniums have stood through the winter, the chard is looking majestic as opposed to standing-but-battered. There are random bulb plantings left over from previous occupants that spring up every year and this year they have started particularly early. Most  importantly of all, the rhubarb is on its way.

Later we took an afternoon stroll to the beach. We sat and had a cup of tea from The Coffee Cup and then wandered along the prom, then back through the gardens, which is a whole other post, because we found yet more nooks and crannies of Portsmouth that we never knew existed, hidden in plain view.

Fresh air and greenery are the very best medicine for a funk; add a little exercise in and I feel a thousand times better. I had a solid seven hours of unbroken sleep, a rarity these days.

Dogs are also good medicine. Have I ever mentioned how much I wish I had a dog of my own? A huge, shaggy house-bear of a dog, like a Newfoundland. A house bear that could drag me out of the house in the depths of winter. Oh for a bigger house and a large garden. One day, one day.

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