Sunday, January 13, 2013

Walking Away The Blues Under Grey Skies.

Look at this from one perspective and it is grey. Look again and see the colours.
Winter weather is a crap shoot in Canada. Living by the shores of the Great Lake Ontario we never know which weather systems are going to pass us to the North or will hit us with the exacerbation of the winds coming off the lake. Southeastern Ontario is prone to grey skies and lately a lot of rain. The atmosphere settles down on us like an army rationed wool blanket, pressing us into a winter funk. So many of us experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD as a result which is a depression related to a lack of sunshine and a shift in the weather.

Sinking into my bed last night I pulled the soft cotton sheets and my duvet up around my ears in order to drown out the sounds of the wind and of the cold rain spattering against my window. Hearing the same sounds in the morning makes it difficult to rise. On a bleary morning the room remains shrouded in a grey light of dawn despite the late hour and the only motivation I have is to crawl deeper under my bedcovers.
On a brighter day when I hear the birds singing, the morning splinters of sun curl around the sides of my blind, softly drawing me from my slumber and warming my room. I sit up slowly and rub my eyes and smile; for a smile mirrors the presence of the sun. I was surprised this day to find the sun filling the morning sky but according to the forecast I will awaken tomorrow to more sounds of rain pummelling my house and my spirit; threatening my smile.

Having a damp grey sky hang over you is like wearing a wet grey woolen dress. It is no fun. A sliver of cold slips into the marrow of your bones creating a chill that is impossible to shake. The day resembles twilight and tricks your mind into thinking that it is time for bed. The grey limestone and concrete cityscape are drab. Your spirit is encapsulated by the dreary landscape making you prone to frowning at the snowbanks which are dotted with the dirt brown water that splashes up from the salty streets.Then the snow turns to brown slush and the sidewalks are inundated with pools of brown runoff.

We are tired. So tired. You feel like you can't see straight when there is an absence of light. There is the perpetual feeling that the world is slowing down so why look forward to anything?
Every year I get sucked into this dreadful state of being but this year I intend to fight back; to look for the seams of silver thread that line the blanket of grey.
With this in mind I walked. I walked under the blue sky and I walked under the grey sky.

Good morning mister sunshine, You brighten up my day.....
                                                                            ~Bee Gees

           The view from my backyard on a sunny day.
The view from my backyard on a bleak day.                     

I get shivers looking at these two pictures. My mood shifts with my eyes, brightening when I look to the left and dimming when I look to the right.

                                        Oh mister sun, sun, mister golden sun,
                                        Please shine down on me.
                                       Oh mister sun, sun, mister golden sun,
                                       Hiding behind the tree.


  The picture on the left was taken during a walk on a sunny day. The picture on the left was taken on a grey day. 

My first walk was pleasant. The air was light and I could hear the trickle of water streaming from rooftops and alongside the roads as the sun melted the snow.

Note the glint of sunshine off of the barbecue.
The sun was blinding but it warmed my face and filled me with vitamin D. Enough to raise the serotonin levels in my brain which in turn gives me the power to raise my happiness level for a few days.  I recently read Martin Seligman's Authentic Happiness in which he promotes the power of positive psychology. In basic layman's terms I translated his words to understand that I could find happiness by adjusting my attitude to my environment; work with what I have. What do I have? I have the firm belief that there is beauty in everything.

There is a certain clarity that the sun brings; light in the sky and light in the mind. It is easy to find happiness when there is a great luminescent body to light your way.
I thought, certainly there has to be beauty on the bleak days too. Knowing what I do about myself I decided to focus on the good that small things bring. I decided to find the beauty in a grey day.

How do you find beauty on a grey day?

It is ironic that to chase the blues away I was looking for colour.

One positive note about living amidst a grey pallet is that any colour that does exist tends to stand out. Walking under the pallor of a sombre sky I begin looking for anything to brighten my day. I was going to make it a pleasant day. I walked by Canadian Tire and noticed the red in their signs. The colour really stood out against the dreariness of the day. The flash of red, blue, green and silver cars driving by made the cityscape come alive. Red brick houses which fade under the summer sun now stood out.

At first glance the picture is drab but on closer inspection you will notice the mossy greens on the tree.
I then looked for colour in the natural world. From a different, more upbeat perspective the dirty snow becomes pepper speckled. What used to be dead brown leaves left hanging on half naked trees are now bright touches of colour against the drab landscape. Shades of green touch everything. The few birds left create colour in the sky as they fly by.
Look at the world as though it is a painting and you will find the hints of yellow, orange and blues that support the surface of the landscape. Once you train your mind to see the world in this way it becomes easier to embrace the blues and the greys.

If you choose to look on the bright side then there is hope. The winter blues become a synonym for shades of clean snow and clear ice on a frozen lake.

The skies will always be blue above the grey clouds. We just need to remind ourselves of that when we take the long walk through winter.

I leave you with a burst of colour to lighten you winter.

1 comment:

  1. I love it... looking for colour... looking for happiness in pigment form... nice.