Mid-winter madness (this is not a sale)

Kathy Krugerchange, go with the flow15 Comments

Today is the shortest day of the year, if you live in the southern hemisphere. If you live in the northern hemisphere then the summer solstice signals warmer weather ahead (thank goodness I can hear you sigh). For me the darkness feels like a turning inward, a retreat from life, and maybe there is such a thing as a madness from a lack of light.

Whitewash the past and start againWhen we lived in Canada in 2011, the winters were cold and long, although maybe it felt that way more because we had one half of a winter when we arrived and the other half at the end of our twelve month exchange (we arrived and left in mid-January). In experiencing a season twice in the course of the year, and enjoying the snow and skiing, Canada really did feel like one long winter (and so-called summer really only lasted six weeks). There were times when the whole world felt like a picture postcard winter wonderland and I had to pinch myself. Although most of the time it just rained.

My moods definitely changed and I’m sure I suffered a little seasonal affective disorder (or SAD disease) – a genuine condition caused by a lack of daylight, a feeling that the sun might never shine again.

(Funny how it rained so much, but I never photographed the rain! And funny how today, the longest day of the year in Squamish, where we lived in Canada, is 14 degrees celcius and raining, while here, the shortest day of the year, it’s 13 degrees celcius and overcast raining. Someone’s summer is another’s winter.)

It didn’t help that I had cabin fever, stuck inside a small house with a toddler, knowing no-one really in those first few cold, dreary, wet months when the sky itself felt like it was closing in on me. Majestic, magnificent mountains surrounded us, if only we could have seen them most of the time under all that mist. The clouds hung low and claustrophobic on the landscape and my inner landscape felt like it had turned into gloom and grey.


The winter solstice is when the sun is at its farthest point away from us (in the case of the southern hemisphere) yet at the same time in the northern hemisphere the sun is as close as it gets all year. Of course the faithful sun remains in the same spot as our earth moves on its axis – it’s in the nature of change to be relative to how we see it – yes it is darker and colder right now but winter is just a season, like any other, there is no real reason to feel down.

Of course winter is a yin season, a time for rest and reflection, to plan for the new start that spring heralds. Autumn, also yin, is about letting go, so that by winter the trees are bare and we have stripped back our old ideas to the essence of ourselves, metaphorically speaking, making way for the new growth that will follow. Spring and summer, the yang seasons, are for activity, being outside, enjoying the sunshine. But despite the temperature differences, there is something very similar in the feeling of enjoying long, lazy, hazy summer days and long, lazy, cozy, winter nights – a sense of pause, that maybe time has stopped and change won’t be inevitable as it is.

Get a new perspective - look at life upside downLiving in a climate of warmth and sunshine (we officially have an average of 300 sunny days a year!) I am spoiled for sunshine under a big, bright Aussie sky. Our year in Canada made me appreciate this like never before – when we came home the sun hurt my eyes it was so bright! But here we also feel the shock of winter, without heating – those cold crisp mornings of blue-sky winter days and the unexpected gloominess of dreary days like today.

Our year in Canada also made me appreciate the distinct seasons (well the winter did seem to run a very long time into a short spring and then the briefest of summers, followed by a long autumn and winter again) – BUT, I noticed the changes like never before, I anticipated and welcomed them (even the closing cold of Autumn or Fall was offset by the spectacular show of trees as the leaves turned red, pink, burnt orange, golden yellow). Change was heralded, celebrated with the Thanksgiving holiday.

Leaves - strive to leave something beautiful behind (1024x768)Fall in love with changeI can only ponder now how darkness is to be appreciated alongside the light, the cold with warmth, rest with action.

I’ve started some business coaching, introspection first, and we’ll see what is to come out of this fledgling blog and the ideas swimming in my head. Change will come, of course.

I’ll leave you with the Byrds, and their 1965 classic, Turn, Turn, Turn!


Love to know your favourite season, do you feel the winter madness/sadness? Please join in the comments below.

Linking up for FYBF With Some Grace.




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Kathy KrugerMid-winter madness (this is not a sale)

15 Comments on “Mid-winter madness (this is not a sale)”

  1. Me

    I didn’t know that winter was a yin season – a time of rest and reflection – that really helps me feel better about how much time I am taking for myself to read, crochet and just be.
    I wish I lived somewhere where I could see the change of seasons but then maybe I wouldn’t like having to rake up all the leaves once they had fallen off the trees !!
    While we have so much sunshine and warmth here, I also find that the cold gets to me. Friends of ours complain that it is colder here than what they are used to in Poland because the houses over there are built and kept at a balmy 24° inside whereas, over here, you really have to crank up the heaters to get that sort of temp inside – most mornings when we wake up it is between 15-18° now and probably a bit colder when I am driving to work.
    Good luck with the change – it can be a very powerful thing.
    Have the best week !

    1. yinyangmother

      Yes, enjoy the yin time I say and even the cold that we aren’t geared up for here. Those who live in really cold places do cocoon themselves so much from the season, so while they do experience more distinct seasonal changes it feels like they are always on their guard against them – other than summer that is which is such a big deal!

  2. redlandcitygirl

    I don’t mind the cold in Winter, it’s great for rugging up and snuggling with the hubster. But I find that dreary grey days – no matter what time of year) definitely dampen my mood.

  3. Desire Empire

    It’s a necessary part of life and you are right living in Australia. To me it is like winning the lottery of life in terms of climate and so many of the other ‘freedoms’ we enjoy here.

    I am definitely bluer when it is cold and dreary, but it makes the sunny times all the more sweet I think.

    The business coaching sounds interesting from this once was business studies teacher. I am now wondering what is involved. Let me know if decide to blog about it.

  4. Lisa

    What a gorgeous post! My favourite season is, without doubt, winter. My husband often compares me to a mushroom, because I thrive in the dark. I don’t like bright sunlight, and to me, a cold, cloudy, rainy day is my idea of absolute bliss. (yes, I probably live in the wrong country!)

  5. Lydia C. Lee

    I have a cold, so I’m not very happy with winter at the moment – I do like to go up the mountains and do that whole winter thing…but more of a summer person, myself…

  6. Sarah @ Slapdash Mama

    I love winter in Queenslnd, where I live. But not at the moment, it is grey, rainy and utterly freezing! I really hate summer with its ghastly humidity. My favourite time of year is the change if seasons! I love the possibilities and the anticipation, whether it is into summer or winter. I used to think I would love to live in the northern hemisphere with the cold winters but after today, cooped up with stir crazy toddlers, I don’t think I could handle it!!!

  7. Grace

    Love that song. It’s lyrics are perfect on so many levels. I actually love winter. I lived in rural Japan for 2 and a half years where it snowed for 6 months of the year. I’m pretty sure I had SAD but then I learnt how to ski and LOVED it! It’s all about embracing the change.

  8. homelifesimplified

    i love that song – my music tastes run to the pre 70s most of the time lol

    my favourite season was always spring – but here in brisbane i look forward to autumn as it is warmish but not yet humid and is usually not yet wet either = perfection. ANYWHERE ELSE SPRING though!!

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