Six weeks ago Daylight Saving Time ended. Suddenly we lost an hour of evening sunlight. Around this same time we were having extended periods of rainy weather. The skies were gray, the ground was muddy and the days were short.
I began to feel blue.
I was most likely experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In case you’re not familiar with the term, according to the Mayo Clinic, “…SAD is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.” (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651) *
When the weather is gray, I struggle to be motivated to get up and get moving. However, I find if I’m exercising regularly - even if it’s just a short one mile morning walk - my mood is much lighter.
Even in the gloomy weather, I’ve been able to find joy. Wearing my sturdy, fleece lined rain boots, I can easily walk in the woods and through puddles without fear of getting my feet wet and cold. With damp leaves underfoot, cooler temps in the air and my dog Marshall by my side, it can be a life-giving experience.
In the past few weeks I’ve begun to see the benefits of the rainy weather. Maybe you have too. For instance, the fall colors have been much brighter than usual. I read an article by Noor Adatia (Dallas Morning News, December 3, 2022), where she explains that the Dallas city forester, Chris McMaster, says the cause for this phenomena is a chemical compound known as anthocyanin. “The pigment is produced as a result of prolonged moisture in the air from rainfall,” says Adatia.
Then last week I happened upon some tiny micro daisy-like wildflower while looking around the property for mistletoe. On the edge of a wooded area in the winter landscape, it was a welcome surprise.
And just today, after battling the flu earlier in the week, I walked outside to take in the most beautiful sight: our donkeys ambling through fields of emerald green winter rye. I don’t think our grass has ever looked better. And all because of a little (or a lot of) rain.
The unexpected beauty I’ve witnessed recently on our farm has been a good reminder to look for silver linings. Sometimes they’ll show themselves soon and other times it might take a while, but they’re always there.
*If you or someone you love is experiencing signs of depression, please reach out for help from a licensed healthcare provider.
This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the December 17, 2022 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.