Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Winter Dark

picture by coconut
It finally resembles something akin to Spring here in Perth. Kamabarang, the Noongar name for one of our six seasons. Kamabarang is a far more apt name for what is happening around here right now. Something tells me the Noongar have a far better understanding of the way of the world in these parts…
The sun is beginning to peek through the cloud more often than not. The ground is warming and giving off that earthy, lush smell. Wildflowers in abundance. On the road side, in the parks, in my garden. Bright, warm, inviting, captivating. The air is no longer crisp. The air is affectionate, it wraps itself around you, enveloping you in a gentle caress, and oh how I have missed that touch. Tantalising and teasing you with all that you know Spring and Summer will bring.
I loathe Winter. I really, truly do. Every year, around June, my mind is taken over by a strange, dim fog. Nothing makes it go away until the sun returns in October. June through September is a horridly depressive and despairing time. And it’s really for no reason other than the sun is too far away to energise me. It is curing those in the opposite hemisphere of what I now suffer badly. The Winter Blues.
I’ve only really made the connection this year. I’ve begun looking back through old journals and online posts, and I’ve found that the colder and darker my world gets, the colder and darker I become. Like a bear, I retreat to my cave, and hibernate. I gather my blankets and my ugg boots. I indulge in my sweet and heavy foods. And I sit inside and wait for the sunshine to break through the cracks in the grey skies. I wait for the sunshine to bring my bliss back to me. I’ve found this year particularly shocking. There are a few reasons for this. For one, in the first week of June I gave birth. I roared a sweet and precious baby girl earth side in the calm between two Makuru storms. And that meant that I began the cold and dark days already confined. Even when it was light outside, I didn’t have the urge to soak up what was left of the sun for the season. I stayed inside with my fresh earthling, keeping warm and recovering from bearing her. Ensuring her access to the sweet and heavy milk she would need to make it through with me.
By the time I was ready to embrace the world again, as a new mother of four; the sun and warmth had dissipated. It was slate skies. Torrents of rain; heavy, hard, stinging rain. We had hail, and whilst my wee men enjoyed bringing me the ‘snow’ they’d collected off the lawn and learning about the stages of rain to snow and how that relates to water in its solid and liquid forms, all I felt inside was a deep desire to escape the bitterness and loneliness of Winter. I was trapped. I knew that I had to wait for the cycle to continue and that soon enough the sun would come again, but oh how long are those Winter nights, weeks on end of nothing but cold and stark, inspiration-less environments? My mood darkened with the lack of daylight. I could feel my fog descending on what I knew was clear thinking. Thoughts began to turn to the darker of humanity. Depression reigned. I had SAD.
I know that the transition of seasons here is consistent. I know it like I know that if I drop an apple it will fall to the ground, and if I stub my toe I will cry. But by the end of Djilba, the August-September season I’ve almost lost hope that my mood will improve. I resign myself to a fate of limited functioning because the cold has frozen parts of my brain and I can no longer think without a feeling of having a head stuffed with cotton wool. My husband can see it in my eyes, that wild searching for warmth and earthy spirit. He knows that I need to take my shoes off and feel dry dirt beneath my feet. He also knows that this is a pattern I follow, entirely dependent on the seasons. He wonders aloud “How different would your time be if you didn’t suffer Winter?” I know. I’ve lived in places where there is no Winter. And oh, how I long to be in one of those places by the end of September. I contemplate packing myself a bag, and walking to where it’s warmer.
By this point, my insanity is at its peak. I need warmth and I need it right now. A week later it’s October. Kambarang. Finally. I’d thank God if I thought there was one. I wake to see sunlight streaming through my bedroom window. It’s blinding. It’s orange and bright and it’s warm! Oh thank you! I wake, and I smile. For the first time in a long time. I know today is different. I can already feel it in my bones.
Over the coming days, I feel my lifespark reignite. I feel passion. I feel heat. I feel alive. The world around me agrees. The birds and the bees and the lawnmowing neighbours. My world is alive. And it’s bright and shiny out there. I’m overcome with gratitude for Sol, our sun, my sun, my saviour. I kneel and kiss the warming dirt. I smell divine, overwhelming smells of new life springing forth. My new life, my baby woman’s new life. All out in the air, the warm, sun touched air. My taste returns. I crave real food. The starch and the sugar of cold days no longer interest me. I want crisp, fresh, cool food to soothe my warming, scorching body.
I crave the company of people venturing out in the same world. Walking the same path. We sit in gardens, in sun dappled covens. Our toes bare. Tea and good food. Laughter and grinning and smiling while our skin crisps and sweats gently. Invigorated, we wish for the sun to get hotter, knowing that the strongest heat is yet to come, and knowing that when it arrives, we’ll curse it. But for now, we say goodbye to grey skies and howling winds. And we say goodbye to despair and darkness. Hello world! I’m outside and I am loving life.