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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Spring begins today, or so they say, but you couldn’t prove that by me. Supposedly, the vernal or spring equinox is one of two days in the year on which the sun is directly above the equator. That means the hours of day and night are equal. I haven’t yet witnessed anything close to that, since the start of Daylight Savings Time pushed sunrise up to almost 8 o’clock in the morning. Of course, I haven’t really seen a sunrise either, given that recent days in South Texas have been consistently cold, windy, cloudy, and even rainy (surprise). It was 39 degrees here last night, barely 40 when I hauled myself out of bed to do my daily walk. This is definitely not spring weather. 

     I’m not depressed by any of this (SAD), mind you, just affected and confused, which I have been ever since our return from Australia at the end of February. The 19 hour time difference from where I was, plus crossing two different time zones while I was there, didn’t help my situation. Sleep patterns were in turmoil for almost two full weeks after I returned, and I wasn’t quite back to normal when the Daylight Savings change occurred last week. Honestly, I’m still not entirely sure what time, or even what day, it is.

     Much less what season. Three days after our return from overseas, I had to go down to Corpus Christi to retrieve my work from the art gallery there (my contract was up). Imagine my surprise when, through my bleary eyes, I beheld carpets of  brilliantly-colored Texas bluebonnets, Indian pinks and buttercups all along the highway. Now wildflowers have always bloomed earlier in the southern regions of the State, but in February!!?? Even that doesn’t usually happen until later in March, a sure sign of spring just in time to celebrate Easter. I always count on having a small bowl of bluebonnets for my Easter table, but not this year. Unfortunately, wildflowers never became plentiful in the San Antonio area this month, and the few small patches of bluebonnets near my house have already faded away. 

     Continued drought and bedraggling 90 degree heat in late February/early March threatened to fade more than just the wildflowers. Even in Texas where the old joke “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes” still holds true, such extreme spikes in temperatures that early in the year were unusual, as is this sudden wet, wintery cold spell we are experiencing now. Winds, rains, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, floods, landslides, earthquakes, drought, glacial melt — it’s all so unusual, so un-settling, so unprecedented — just like our politics. As Mark Twain famously said,” Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Hmmm… could he have been talking about climate change?

     Remember when the weather used to be a safe topic of conversation under the old polite dinner-table dictum of avoiding controversial subjects such as politics or religion? Well, seems there is no safe topic of discussion anywhere with anyone anymore. Of course, people don’t really give dinner parties anymore either, and rules of basic etiquette and polite behavior were abandoned long ago. 

     But talking about the weather is still boring, even when the real topic is that the seasons are disordered. So I’ll stop.

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