Marilyn's Musings

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Embracing Winter

Tobaggon Run

The Tobaggon run at Pokagon State Park, Angola, Indiana

I hate winter.

No. Let me qualify that a bit. I hate what winter does to me.

I am an outdoors kind of person. One thing I don’t “do” well is being hemmed inside because of extended darkness and dreary days. I crave the outdoors, warmth and sunshine and green, growing things.

This time of the year, I tend to get sluggish and fall into a bad, bad case of the blahs. I dread how I feel after about a month of short days, cold weather, long nights.

Now, I know this is classic seasonal depression. I’ve taken medicine for it in the past and used the bright lights. Don’t like the side effects of the meds, but in the long run, it’s helped. I work in psychiatric/behavioral nursing, so I don’t knock it if it works. But as I mentioned, it has its drawbacks.

So, I am going to take a different approach this year.

I intend to continue at least 1/2 hour walks, even if it means dressing up in multiple layers, looking like Kenny on South Park or that kid  in A Christmas Story who is so bogged down he can barely move.  Believe me, I’ll move!!

I am also reflecting on how it was when I was younger. I never had a problem with dreading winter or getting into the seasonal doldrums until I hit my mid-30’s. What made things change??

I think maybe not only walking, but being active on a daily basis in other ways made the big difference in all kinds of weather. Heck, we can get some hellacious snowstorms out our way. Yeah, it needs shoveled, but it’s also makes for a fantastic playground, too.

The neighbors know we are empty nesters. They wouldn’t expect a snow fort or a family of snowmen to appear on our front lawn. But this year,  I just might go ahead and do that!

Years ago when we lived in Wyoming, I used to hit the resorts from time to time. Did a little skiing, tubing, and just hanging out watching the activity. Now, I don’t live in the Rocky Mountain area by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some hills around here that do offer some opportunities for sledding or tubing, and not little whimpy hills at that. There is also the toboggan run at Pokagon State Park which is about 45 minutes north of me almost on the Michigan line and the highest hills in Ohio are about an hour away near Belfontaine at a place called Mad River Mountain that offers tubing and skiing. I think both places would be a hoot and a half to try again. Even if I am not quite sure about skiing, I sure would try the gentler runs for tubing and that toboggan run!!

We have wonderful facilities in town for ice skating, both indoors and outdoors. Perhaps it is time to get back into a leisurely skate. It’s like riding a bike: Once you’ve learned it, you never forget.

And other pursuits as well: We have a YMCA. Maybe it would be a good thing to join and get into not only Yoga and other classes, but hit the pool and swim a few laps. Or get into a water aerobics class.

I think what I am discovering as I write this is that when I was younger, I kept not just mentally, but physically active as well. The doldrums didn’t hit until I started giving up the snow men, the snow forts, the snowball fights, the sledding, and the skating when my kids got older.

Perhaps it is time I’ve started to get back into that again and embrace the child within and the opportunities that winter presents  instead of cursing it!

Oh, and a photo I pinched showing there is more than farms and factories in Ohio:


Mad River Mountain, Ohio

Mad River Mountain: Skiing and tubing in Ohio


3 responses to “Embracing Winter

  1. cheryl December 1, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I feel the same way Marilyn. Remember the days of the “big” snow in 67. The kids in our neighborhood & the kids in town would spend from morning to night down at the club sledding. The club then had the old radiator heater by the back door. Occasionally, if they were open, we would go in there to warm up for a few minutes & try to dry our gloves on the radiator. We didn’t let the cold bother us then.

    • Marilyn December 2, 2010 at 9:27 am

      That big snow in ’67 was bad, but it was memorable. We made the best of it.

      I remember sledding down the hill by the Sportsman’s Club and some guy in his twenties or early thirties decided that hill would make a great ski run. By God, he did ski down it, too. Barely missed going into the river, but he did it!

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