Here in Toronto and Ontario in general, we've had the hardest winter in at least twenty years. It's been cold since December and snowy almost that long. People who have arrived here from warmer places to live have been shocked - almost traumatized - by this season.
Now that spring seems to be on the way, you can feel the relief in people's faces. The streets yesterday were crowded and excited as the sun actually warmed the air, the last snow finally melted away.
I know it's been said before and will continue to be said as long as there are winters that the season, in this part of the world, takes a toll on us and not just physically. So many people I see have said in the last couple of months things like: I can't believe how glum I feel, how lazy, hopeless, how antisocial and many other things. It's not that those impressions and feelings are completely the fault of a relentless season, but they are exaggerations, I think, of 'the lack of light, and the endless below zero temperatures that have made what might have been a crummy feeling into a really lingering, depressive feeling.
It has also been noted that spring itself can bring its own peril. Sometimes, when the first green shoots appear, the crocuses bloom, the snowy corners finally melt is for some the most perilous time of all. It's as if our moods are lagging behind and we can look around us and think: everything is better but me.
I think it points to the idea that culturally we are more out-of-touch with seasonal changes than ever and find it easy to see ourselves at fault when depressive in February. And in February maybe we should seek out the comfort of each other, care for each other, buy full spectrum lighting for each other, perhaps get on a plane and pretend for a week or so, or hang out in an indoor garden and breathe in the warmth and growth until the outside catches up. Which it has, thankfully!