“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”*
Yesterday, the temperature reached 60; all the snow melted and there were floods. This morning it is 9 and a winter storm is busily dropping a foot of snow on us. The world is silent: no plows have come by; no one is out shoveling; everyone is hunkered down inside.
Nowadays, people seem to look at the weather the way they do anything they can’t control, as a moral outrage. Remember what the great Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, once wrote:
Some things are in our control, while others are not. We control our opinion, choice, desire, aversion, and, in a word, everything of our own doing. We don’t control our body, property, reputation, position, and, in a word, everything not of our own doing.
(from Holiday and Hanselman, The Daily Stoic, 2016)
Obviously, the weather is beyond our control. We can, and should, prepare for bad weather, but we can also enjoy it. It would be boring to live where the climate never changed.
It’s not as if winter doldrums are anything new. Take this letter from my great grandmother to my great aunt, Hazel, dated January 13, 1931 — this very day 87 years ago!
I received your letter yesterday and as you say it won’t be long before spring — just think, this is the 13th of Jan. I can hardly believe it is so far into the winter. I am glad you are able to get at your rugs (?) again — they will take up your mind and it is nice to be working on some color you like. I think, like you, that yellow is a lovely color and helps to cheer you up. Please try and look on the bright side and look forward to spring. It won’t be long now…(the letter discusses some mutual acquaintances and ends as follows).
I wish you could have a nice plant of some kind in your room. Could you get one at the greenhouse? I would like to send you the money for it. Let me know.
Loads of love, Mama
Mama gave good advice. If winter gets you down, get busy working on something you enjoy! While I can’t say I’m a big fan of the color yellow in home-decorating, I do love yellow flowers in a bouquet.
Why not treat yourself to some grocery store flowers or a plant as a reminder that spring really IS right around the corner? Plants brighten up a room, refresh the air, and give you an excuse to buy pretty ceramic pots.
I recommend philodendrons — it’s easy to keep them alive and thriving.
So. No giving in to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). No winter doldrums. Get moving and remember that Epictetus said you can control what you think and feel. Remember, too, that we’re not as young as we were and have to take precautions. Don’t shovel heavy, wet snow or exercise when it’s super cold. Hire someone with a snow-blower/plow or just stay inside until it melts. With weather this changeable that will probably be next week!
Have a great weekend.
*Percy Bysshe Shelley “Ode to the West Wind”