Don’t let the gray skies get you down

gray day, dreary day, Bruce Stambaugh

Gray day. © Bruce Stambaugh 2015.

By Bruce Stambaugh

It’s not easy living in the third cloudiest location in the nation. Like it or not, that’s just what the residents of Northeast Ohio have to do.

That’s not good for people with Seasonal Affective Disease (SAD). Recurrent gray days negatively affect their daily outlook. Folks with SAD have to suffer through as best they can. I can’t imagine how they do it. It’s hard enough to wake to one gray day after the other without that affliction.

I speak from experience having been a Buckeye all my life. Strung together like a necklace of discolored pearls, these series of overcast, dull days, can get us all down if we let them. We shouldn’t.

I will be glib and say there is good news anyhow. Minute-by-minute, daylight is increasing. That’s little consolation to all those overcome by the seasonal dreariness.

Winter mornings in Ohio seem darker and colder than ever. A minute of daylight tacked on a day at a time isn’t all that inspiring, helpful or meaningful.

We can always hope for an Alberta Clipper to roll through with a few inches of snow and frigid temperatures. The passage of the front usually brings clear, crisp days.

eastern bluebird, songbirds, Bruce Stambaugh

Songbirds like this male Eastern Bluebird can help cheer up any dull day. © Bruce Stambaugh 2015.

In addition, the fresh coat of light, fluffy snow brightens the dull, dormant ground. A million diamonds sparkle day and night, as long as the moon shows its face. Even if it is cloudy, I find a certain joy in the crunch, crunch, crunch of each step to retrieve the mail or fill the bird feeders.

Indeed, these dreary, damp, cold days are what they are. They don’t have to keep us from keeping on. We have to remember that each day is a gem of a gift to treasure all unto itself.

For me, that is an important reminder. The start of a new year means we enter winter’s hardest times. The season’s coldest temperatures, harshest weather, and often the worst storms are likely yet to come.

All things considered worse scenarios than depressing weather abound in this world. Can we look beyond our personal life space to see them?

A friend of mine has terminal cancer. He unabashedly asks others what they think about each night before they go to sleep. Do they believe they’ll awake in the morning? Are they ready to pass on?

Those are blunt, but necessary questions for each of us at any age, healthy or ill. At the end of another day, what do we contemplate? Can we accept dismal skies or broken relationships, or unsatisfying vocations?

Will we wake in the morning to a new day or a new world? None of us, regardless of our situations, knows. I do know this, however. Time is fleeting, gloomy skies or clear skies.

How will we use each day we are given to the benefit of others no matter our personal station in life? Will we let the weather get us down, or will we radiate sunshine that warms and enlightens others?

Regardless of where we live, that is always a challenge, isn’t it? I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions. But at this stage in my life, I only want to be helpful to others, those in my household, my family, my community, and even strangers I encounter in my daily duties.

My personal challenge this New Year is not to let the gloomiest weather dim the day at hand. What’s yours?

Amish farm, fresh snow, rural landscape

A fresh layer of snow helps brighten rural landscapes. © Bruce Stambaugh 2015.

© BruceStambaugh 2015

4 Comments

Filed under column, news, Ohio, photography, Uncategorized, weather, writing

4 responses to “Don’t let the gray skies get you down

  1. Well I think we must be close behind you, at least at this time of year! But I have definitely noticed the days getting longer which is nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have lived in the top two cloudy cities, Seattle and Portland. There is a trick to it; you learn to see through the clouds. Above the cloud cover the sun shines, and the sky is bue. You look past the grey, and refresh yourself in what’s just on the other side. A lot like life, right? Great post!

    Like

  3. Elaine

    [quote] “Do they believe they’ll awake in the morning? Are they ready to pass on?” Interesting, as I often have those thoughts as I retire for the night. As I get older (late 60’s) I am more aware of the possibility that I may take my last breath while asleep. This does not mean I am morbid or dwell on it, but I do want to be ready to die 🙂

    I think it was last evening that I noticed it was still a little light at 6 pm! Yes, the days are slowly getting longer. We have had our share of gray days this time of the year in central KY, and I love when the sun shines brightly. I used to mind SAD in my younger years, but after living almost 20 years in S. Florida I’ve been cured 😉

    I just found your blog and have enjoyed looking around. Beautiful photos.

    Like

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