Saturday, January 9, 2010

Blogging, Slogging, and Keeping Your Spirits Up in January

Look at that. I mean really. Look. Conifers sticking up out of the snow and I can't tell if the blue sky is advancing or retreating. January in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

I spent a large chunk of my life in the Pacific Northwest and swore never to return simply because the number of months spent under gray skies was unbearable for me. Why is this experience so different?

On a purely biological level I think it has to do with reflected light. Even on the grayest day it feels brighter because the ground is covered in white. On a more human level I think it has to do with the people. Yes, I still love my family and friends in Oregon and Washington but this place is a better fit. There is a casual stoicism, a make-due quality that still impresses me even after two winters.

Invite someone to dinner and they are as likely to bring slippers with them as wine. They need to have something to wear around your house after getting out of the layers of coats and boots needed to survive getting to your house. I love that. The leveling effect of extreme weather is refreshing to me after decades spent in metropolitan areas.

Whether you are a writer, a handy-man, a bartender, or a physicist you are appreciated and your light reflects here in ways that constantly surprise me.


  1. The wonderful ways in which light is reflected -- you have cleverly tucked three of them into this post, which is why you are a poet, Laura! Thanks for this lovely (ahem) reflection.

  2. That was so beautiful and the picture is too. I do agree gray days can get to you in Seattle, but it is easier to drive in! I do like snow and am yearning for some, but I don't think this is the year. The whole rest of the country has snow, we have above normal temps. Love you!Mary

  3. Separating the written from the photo might be okay, but I feel that the combination of the two brings the sentiment to the soul much more effectively.
    I have been living in an urban home for almost 15 years and miss the sweeping snow vistas covering pastures and fields in Michigan. Thank you for bringing back the feeling of struggling through the cold and wind to reach a nice warm home and dinner. I miss that time.

  4. Thanks for this, Laura. It gives us webfeet an insight into what life up there FEELS like. Lovely. (The NW is the depression capitol of the US for good reason!)

  5. Very nice... it's true about the reflected light, but somehow that doesn't make you *feel* better (unless it really is direct sunlight). Being outside in winter is pretty essential to staying happy!