Getting past winter doldrums

Dear friends: So it seems the second vortex is upon us, here on the frigid shores of Chadwick Bay, in the newly chimed-in year of 2014. Clutching our chests and wincing in our lower backs, we endure the sense of winter-drowning that only the poor soul who has shoveled snow, while it kept snowing, knows.

We’re in the portion of the season that is cheerfully known as, “the dead of winter.” It would not be unusual for a family member to possibly be in the middle of throwing a knick knack forcefully at your head, right now, over a petty incident, like not mopping up the boot-water, causing their sock to get soaked.

But maybe you’re already out in the garage, drawing a face on a volleyball to talk to as a companion. By the look on your face right now, I have a feeling that some of you may already have that relationship. That’s OK. The sooner you embrace that we’re all going crazy, the easier your journey towards Spring will be.

All kidding aside, there’s a lot to be stressed about and I’m just going to offer some food for thought on what can boost your morale.

You see, the hardest part about winter here is that it’s a wild force that can’t be controlled and incites blatant disruption that is hardest to ignore. In addition to the humbling loss of control, we are surrounded by hushed land, so the inner world becomes louder.

But think of how people have lived before the industrial revolution, when we were in a mutual relationship with seasons. Winter was a time of some reflection between the harvests, to stop and assess what changes to make the next year, as you gained more experience in vital skills, and honed your methods. When a species is connected to the planet, the days are spent challenging the individual DNA’s ability to survive, not in a fantasy world of derivatives, but the real world.

To survive, a mature unit of a species in the wild must reach levels of competence and mastery, and each season offered a certain set of challenges, so that you became well-rounded, in other words, well-prepared. When you ask people “what they do,” they give you their job position title or student status, and usually that’s where people stop. We are not encouraged to be independent “doers,” because that takes away time we could be consuming, so someone else can turn a profit, after they plant a seed of dissatisfaction or inadequacy into us.

It saddens me to see so many good, bright, genius people, so often let their life be defined by consumption instead of creation. The creative act is when you are most your real self, transcending formulas and binary divisions, black and white thinking. The creative act is essential to be an ambitious and brave person of integrity in these times. And I hope my pep can encourage others, because as they say in statistics, the likelihood of you existing, as a person on this planet, is more rare than the odds of plucking a single atom out of the universe. So be aware of how sacred even our worst moments can be, because it won’t be duplicated, and you’re the only one who knows that specific slice of the story.

So be brave, get interested. I have two pages of notebook paper, crammed with a list of things I can’t wait to learn. From how to make a $7 longbow out of PVC pipe, to how to sew my own dustbowl feedsack dresses, to how to grow potatoes in a burlap sack, to how the Seneca people lived through the seasons, and even down to how to spool fiber for thread off of a sheep or a bunny; then there’s how to sew in the wilderness with a porcupine quill. I can’t stop there, this is challenging and mysterious! I hope I live long enough to become good at as many things as possible, like making hard cider out of wild apples, and skinning a deer.

Until next month, stay strong, and get busy this winter! Creativity and action let’s you fall in love with ordinary life.

Lindsay Morrison is a Forestville resident. Send comments to