Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Time of Mourning

For the past two days, I've been restless, anxious, melancholy, and I didn't know why. I pace around the house as if looking for something, but I can't remember what. I fidget. I sigh. I feel on the brink of tears for no apparent reason.

It's a strange sensation. I feel like someone whose heart was broken by the recent death or loss or betrayal of a loved one, only I can't remember who. I want to mourn, but I don't know why.

For two days, I've pondered why I'm feeling so "off."

Is it because I'm still upset about the snobbish horse lady I wrote about yesterday? Is it because I'm lonely with Ken being away? Is it because my little bottle lamb Tiramisu died yesterday? Is it because it's "that time of the month"?

Then it hit me.

It's my annual Fall depression swooping in, right on schedule. I don't know why it always comes as a surprise to me, but every year it always feels like the first time. I guess that's just how heartbreaks work.

I'm not sure exactly how to explain it. I'm just one of those people who is deeply connected to the cycles of the earth and the seasons. Every spring, I fall madly in love---with the earth, with the season, with Life itself. The strengthening sun, the warm nights, the smell of honeysuckle and plum blossoms set me reeling in an ecstasy of seasonal bliss.

In the summer, I confess, I take my love for granted. The land and I do our mutual work like a comfortable married couple, sometimes cooperating, sometimes squabbling---Where is the rain I need? Why must it be so hot today?---but essentially moving in harmony.

Then, every year at about this time, a subtle dread creeps through me, filling me with this inexplicable sense of loss and longing. Even though the cooler temperatures are a relief after the scorching summer heat, the air no longer feels like a caress.
My loved one---the warm, green season---slips away.

Come spring, there will be another green season, and I will fall in love all over again. But THIS beautiful season is gone forever. It will never come again, and there will never be another one exactly like it.

That is why I mourn.



What you're describing is SAD, seasonal affective disorder. I built my wife a "light box," it hangs from the ceiling in the Winter right above where she sits in the evenings. When you turn it on, it is like being in sunlight. You should try it.

Nancy Chase said...

Hi Rod! I do know about SAD... and may very well be affected by it later in the year.

But this time of year, I am still working outside on the farm quite a lot and getting lots of natural light---actually probably MORE natural light than in previous months because it's finally cool enough to spend longer periods of time outside.

I grew up in Maine, where the winters are long and cold. I always dreaded them. I don't do well in the cold, so Maine winters were a misery to me every year for months on end.

Perhaps I still have a bit of that dread ingrained in my bones, even after having moved to Virginia where the winters are not that bad.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy,
You described so well the feeling I also get every Fall (as well as the flip side in Spring). It is very different from SAD, it really is a sense of loss, and it happens every year. (I am always surprised too, why?) These two times of year are intense transitions, and people like us, who are in tune, feel the change very acutely. Thank you for a beautiful post! Laurie