Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chilly Morning

There were frost stripes on the way to work this morning: lines of frost on the grass that matched up with the shadows of the trees. That's one of the things I think I like about November. It was probably hovering around freezing, bright and sunny. Where the sun hit my black jeans was warm, but I had wool mittens on to keep my hands from getting too cold. And where the sun hit the ground the frost just vanished: on the east side of the street, though, in the shadows of the houses, the grass was dusty-white.

The weather and the daylight are getting more tyrannical as winter comes on. They dictate more. It's interesting, in a way. My headlight died back in September or sometime, and until I get a new one, I have to stick to lit streets or get myself off the pathway before dark actually falls. With sunset falling at 4:35 (as of today), I need to get on the road by at least 4:20 in order to make the main streets by the time it gets too dark to see. It sets a real, cosmos-induced limit on my schedule - not something we're used to in the 21st-century West.

And I have to check the weather before I head out, too - is it cold in the morning? Will it get warmer through the day? Should I pack the raingear? It makes a bigger difference than in the summer, when getting rained on doesn't really inconvenience you much. Now, I'm starting to think I should just have my raingear with me, at all times, in case of snow or sleet or rain. I got caught a couple of weeks ago. When I got home with soaked clothing, after a terrifying ride through the dark along a major street in the rain, I was completely surprised when I started trembling in the elevator to my apartment. I hadn't thought it was that bad, until I got home, and got the shakes.

So I stick to the daylight when I can (I biked in the dark to my rock gym last night, but it's a well-lit, wide street. Had it been raining, I might have opted to bus it just that once.) And I have to plan ahead more. It helps, though, with some of what I find hard about winter. We're usually disconnected from the seasons, and so we wind up, in winter, working through the day, arriving in the dark and leaving in the dark, and wondering why we're depressed; standing shivering waiting for the bus with the wrong jacket on a damp night and wondering why we're sick. Biking is actually forcing me to pay a little more attention, and that makes the season a lot easier to live with.


  1. I'm thinking about the comment about how if you're disconnected from the seasons they have (well, really, winter has) a worse (more depressing) impact on people. Hmm.

  2. I had a conversation with my friend Ruthanne about that a week or two ago: she used to get really bad winter depression when she lived in BC, and we pretty much agreed that being disconnected from the rhythm just messes your body up. We're built to be resting up in the winter and working our asses off in the summer. Not the other way around. Makes sense to me...

    And we're using that as one of the themes for the winter Kymeras show, too, so it's been on my mind...