"}
Outdoors

Welcoming Winter

Hello darkness, my old friend

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Around the winter solstice, those of us who live in Cascadia have an obligation to befriend the darkness. Daylight is in excruciatingly short supply and entire days pass in a twilight that offers no promise of “midday sun.”

We rise in the darkness and greet the thin, wavering light with something akin to clutching at straws. At noon, it looks like dusk. We go about our half-lit business and before we know it, another long evening has come to call. By 4pm, the vampires are out and the brew-pubs are busy.

It’s easy to understand how the darkness gets to people. It’s all-pervasive. Often the rain accompanies the gloom and we find ourselves in the damp and the dark.

Thus it is imperative to turn the tables and embrace the darkness. The short days mean long nights—conducive to working on those lingering projects, finishing that novel (reading one or writing one), making music with your comrades, exploring inner space. Sharing quality time with those all-important people that you never seem to have enough time with. Cooking and enjoying long, luscious dinners prepared with intention and camaraderie.

And there’s lots of stimulation on the streets of the City of Subdued Excitement. Local musicians are everywhere. The crowds at restaurants and pubs always include people that you know and haven’t seen for awhile—some of them might even buy you food. Take advantage of the monthly Art Walks, as art is great for illumination. And there are lots of great independent films (thank god for the Pickford).

Of course, some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a condition with exactly the right acronym: SAD. These folks are subject to serious depression during these dark months. Remedies include light therapy, ion generators and perhaps, vitamin D supplements.

Increasingly, another way to manage SAD has gained acceptance: Exercise. You can go the gym or play some racquetball at the Y. And according to the Mayo Clinic, getting outside—especially in the morning—is a great way to combat SAD.

So, go for a walk. Head up to the mountains when you can and play in the snow (even on the gloomiest days, the snow is, well, white). Or seek out places where there is a lot of sky, like the beach or the Skagit Flats. Spend a weekend in the San Juan Islands. Thanks to the rain shadow of the Olympics, it is not uncommon to find sunshine there when the mainland is wrapped in clouds like a Christo installation. (Hawaii works, too.)

One especially fine way to lose the blues is to get out on the water itself. True fact: The world looks brighter from a kayak. The combination of water and sky offers a lot of reflectivity, as well as time for reflection.

Like so much about living in the Pacific Northwest, the darkness is part of a tradeoff. So light a candle, stoke up the fire, and put on a Chet Baker CD. Think about those incredibly long and languid summer days to come. Plan future adventures. Beginning Saturday, December 21, every day is getting longer.

ICU
More Outdoors...
Nordic Night
Putting the kick in cross-country

“It’s the perfect way to fly,” my old trail crew buddy Tryg said as he jammed his ski poles into the snow and pushed off into the night.

He was right. Even moving uphill on a pair of heirloom Madshus 210s he glided over the groomers so quickly and with such little apparent effort…

more »
Couples Therapy
The ins and outs of love

If you’re not in the right frame of mind to commemorate Valentine’s Day by gazing at your paramour across a candle-lit table, we’ve compiled a few alternate ways to spend time with your sweeties of choice in the coming days. They all involve going outside for an extended period of time, so…

more »
SnowSchool
Bringing students into the mountains

My life is focused in the mountains, so it is surprising how many local young people have never had the opportunity to visit our neighborhood peaks.

“So many kids in Whatcom County see Mt. Baker from the lowlands, but some never get the chance to experience the mountain environment,”…

more »
Events
Today
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Farm-to-Table Trade Meeting

8:30am|Bellingham Technical College

Community Preparedness

2:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Baker Backcountry Basics

6:00pm|REI

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Putting the kick in cross-country

6:00pm

Dressings, Sauces and Stocks

6:30pm|Ciao Thyme Commons

Prawn Particulars

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Tides

7:00pm|Village Books

Books on Tap

7:00pm|North Fork Brewery

MBT Rovers Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Tomorrow
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Community Coffee and Tea

9:00am|East Whatcom Regional Resource Center

Ukulele for Everyone

4:00pm|Everson Library

Garden Design Class

4:00pm|Blaine Library

Handmade Pasta Class

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Kombucha and Kefir

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Frankie Gavin

6:30pm|Leopold Crystal Ballroom

Unsettlers

7:00pm|Village Books

Nothing simple about it

7:00pm

Mike Allen Quartet

7:00pm|Unity Spiritual Center

Panty Hoes

9:00pm|Rumors Cabaret

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Northwood Steak and Crab
Thursday
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Incognito

6:00pm|Ciao Thyme

Pasta Faves

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Ubu Roi

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Between Two Worlds

7:30pm|Make.Shift Art Space

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

see our complete calendar »

MBT Rovers Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Bellingham Farmer’s Market Trove Village Books Northwood Steak and Crab Bellingham Technical College