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.

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Events
Today
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Lynden Farmers Market

12:00pm|Front Street

Together for Peace

6:00pm|Majestic

Stream Tour

6:00pm|Whatcom Creek

Day of Peace observes those displaced by war

6:00pm

Trash Talk

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Travel Talk

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Balkan Folk Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Chuckanut Radio Hour with Nancy Pearl

7:00pm|Village Books

Authentic Illusionist Jay Ownehouse

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

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Tomorrow
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

Ferndale Farmers Market

3:00pm|Centennial Riverwalk Park

Foof Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Farm Tunes

6:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Oktoberfest Cruises

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

The Last Outrageous Women

7:00pm|Village Books

7-Day Dance Festival Finale

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Forever Plaid

7:30pm|Conway Muse

The Mousetrap

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Friday Night Flicks

7:30pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Figmentally, Circus for All

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

Welcome Back Students Shows

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

MBT Janis Joplin Village Books
Saturday
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Oktoberfest Cruises

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Forever Plaid

7:30pm|Conway Muse

The Mousetrap

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Welcome Back Students Shows

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Figmentally, Circus for All

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

South Whatcom Birding Walks

8:00am|South Whatcom Library

Harvest Happens

8:00am|Bellewood Acres

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Hall

Southside Rummage Sale

8:30am| Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Make It and Take it

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|North Fork Library, Nugents Corner

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

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Bellingham Farmers Market

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Pesto Perfecto

11:00am|Ferndale Library

Council of the Animals

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Trial Vineyard Open House

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Fall Demo Derby

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Contra Dance

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Moment

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Salsa Night

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see our complete calendar »

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