My mother asked me, when I was back in Southern Indiana for the Holidays, in a tentative voice as if she didn't really want to know the answer:
Does living there help you with your depression?
Me: Do you mean the seasonal kind?
Me: Don't know yet, haven't been through the whole year.
It does get gloomy, cloudy, rainy, dismal, for weeks at a time.
You can still go outside and be comfortable, which helps, but it kinda sucks, too. The days are still shorter.
But then I have barely survived the Holidays, and San Francisco gives me a day like today, with a promise of more in store. The sun is different, still with that harsh, slanted quality of winter light. It casts severe, unyielding shadows and is somewhat relentless in its brilliance. It insists that you squint. But it does its job, warming my skin beneath my sweater, heating up my cheeks so they glow with a ruddy tinge of burn.
Today, for the first time in a very long time (read, a couple of months), the weather was the kind of gentle, misty warm that you want to bask in, fall asleep in.
On my walk, I took care to notice that everything is still blooming.
There is also a shift in the air, a different angle to the sun, that declares that springtime is here. This non-season seasonal change is drastically different from the relief of the thaw in Chicago, with the subsequent burst of life.
But it still a welcome change from late January in the frozen tundra of Chicago -- when you shake off the last dregs of the celebratory season and face a bleak expanse of months of brutal cold before Spring.
It is a relief, tinged with guilt. The guilt comes because of the deeply entrenched staunch belief of Midwesterners that the winter builds character. I'm afraid, somewhere under it all, that this glorious existence will ultimately make me soft.
God fucking forbid, make me a hippy.
Anyway, in the short term, yeah! It's definitely helping my depression.
What a stunning place this is.