Essay: Mid-Winter Sun

Yes, I'm posting something about the weather of all things, but bear with me:

I'm not one of the millions who adore California's weather beyond all reason.  I like marked seasonal shifts.  I like variety.  I like seasons to feel like their names, even if that entails snow and ice and real storms.  Where I live, this type of thing is far from the norm, but I've lived in places where it is, so I know what I'm missing and I know what I've got.

This year hasn't been an average one, though, for northern California.  It's been cool and damp. 
After a dreary few months here, the sunshine has broken through this week, and it feels special for once instead of routine and oppressive. It's that bright semi-warm winter weather that makes you feel like anything is possible. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder is really just a matter of degree, isn't it?  Who feels happier after weeks of nonstop cloud cover?  This rare instance (for our area) of the sun actually feeling fresh and restorative is a welcome one - although I know all too well how the coming spring and summer will likely feel: head-poundingly hot, dire with the whitest sunlight imaginable, and occasionally even overwhelming.

But for now, the feeling that the routine has shifted is therapeutic - the sense that things can change, that all directions are available.  That's the value of these surprise shifts in environment, mood, and "tone" of the day-in, day-out chores we all perform.  When the things around you change, even slightly, whether as a result of internal will or external force, you feel like you are being offered an opportunity.  Even on this minimal scale, it's weirdly exciting.

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