While winter in the South hardly means the sort of cold and snow some of my northern friends experience, it does have a tendency to be a little depressing. Our colors are mostly gray, brown and the deep green of evergreens, the sky often overcast, frequent cold rainy days and general gloom. The sunny South takes a back seat to the seasonal version of a good long cry with all the whines and moans that go along with it. It's a short season and I've always tried to cheer myself along with the idea that peaches were being formed in these cold hours of the year, but the truth is, it's the lack of sunshine that I find most depressing and which affects me hardest.
This year, the dreary season started early in December and now that week two of January is well under way, I can't help but note that sunset might well be coming at a later hour, but you can't tell that to the robins who are compelled to eat at 4pm on these rainy days, rather than 5:30 on the sunny ones. You see, they can't tell time but they can tell dark from daylight.
I made up my mind that this year I would embrace winter...
That was part of my determination to get outdoors a bit every day. Even on a cold gray morning a walk can be cheering, if it's only moseying about the yard looking for some bit of natural beauty, like a frost encrusted leaf in the early hours.
Or a late evening walk to appreciate the sunset, oftentimes the only glimpse of the sun or color we'll see in a day's time.
I made up my mind that this year I should make things cozy. So a throw on a chair here and an extra pillow there and slippers on my feet to keep them warm and yes, putting on my pajamas and that lovely warm robe in late afternoon when it's rainy and cold. I vowed to fight off the frugal nature that had me skimp on light and decided it was worthwhile to turn on the extra lamp if needed, light a few candles, turn on the propane heater which has a lovely glow. It's part of the reason why I long to have a thermostatically controlled heater to replace our current one, so that we might use it more and not have the rooms get too hot.
Long slow simmering foods should be on the stove or in a crock pot sending out their lovely aromas, too! This theory was reinforced when we came in the other day when it was colder than usual and I opened the back door and was enveloped in a rush of warm fragrant air and felt as though my home was welcoming me in with all it's personality and charm showing at once. "Oh!" I said to John, "I'm so glad we have home to come back to!" and I meant it.
I mentioned candles earlier. They should not be reserved merely for evenings, though they are especially nice then. On a gray overcast day when the gloom seems to creep in through the window panes and curtains, there's nothing quite like the bright spark of votive candles in pretty glass cups. I noticed this at Christmas time, how attractive that added bit of light was in the afternoon hours.
I've promised myself to make time to read on these days, so there is a stack of books and vintage magazines by my chair. When I sit down after dinner for a short rest, the reading material is at hand. It's quite nice to sip coffee, put my feet up and take time out. There is nothing quite so keen on chasing gloom as a good read!
Coffee is another thing. Katie has blessed me with a pretty china coffee cup, which is a bit over sized. It's so pretty and colorful and it makes taking afternoon coffee a real pleasure.
Then there is the pleasure of creating something. I spent one rainy Saturday afternoon making a birthday and anniversary cards. It was such a nice way to pass time and took my mind off the weather entirely. I hope to spend another afternoon working on the cards I'll be sending out next month. Sewing is always a possibility as well.
It's not much really, but I do want to try to appreciate this season as much as I do the others. I'm going to go look for Primroses in the nursery this next week. They are such a bright cheerful flower for this season. This time of year I do look for fresh flowers to use in the house and prefer plants over cut flowers. Amaryllis are nice as are any bulb type flower because you can replant those and have flowers again. I like African violets and orchids for the same reason. Both of my orchids are getting ready to bloom again. The blooms are long lasting on orchids which makes them especially nice I think.
These are simple things, all of them, but I think they should help move me through this dreary time of year.