Dealing with the Winter Doldrums

Midwinter is difficult for most folks; we are too far into the season to remember summer clearly, but not close enough to spring to witness any glimmer of its return. We tire of the dark days and harsh elements causing us to hurry inside, or stay inside when we’d rather be out. The warm, balmy breezes seem so far away, and getting there is sooo slooow.

Take heart; to ride out the elements is part of human existence. Winter has been endured by countless humans for millennia. Perhaps this is how art and culture formed. Musical instruments may have been discovered or developed during the harsh winter months, when the hunter/gatherers could only hunt briefly, and gathering had to wait until spring or later. Singing, dancing and other cultural developments may have evolved during this time as well. It’s possible to believe this to be true when the long days of winter tick by with exasperating slowness.

Stories were, no doubt, told around the meeting place to fill empty hours, entertain children, and generally keep lagging spirits up. I wonder if Homer was busy storytelling to the weather-weary during the winter months?

Mankind has had to deal with the doldrums of the off-season forever, but we are very lucky to have many more boredom-busters at hand than our ancestors had.

We have a multitude of options to keep us entertained; from games of all kinds – board, card, electronic, and assorted indoor types; to word games, and so much more. We can cook, bake, have a movie marathon, pursue hobbies, read, or meditate. The list is endless, incorporating old methods and new.

However we choose to spend the long cold winter months, spring is approaching, one infinitesimal moment at a time.

Caroline Poppendeck, Librarian
Head of Youth Services
CCLD, Central Library