Hunkering Down

It’s that time again: the Dark Season. Here in Michigan it’s four or five months of depressing weather and scenery. I know everyone doesn’t hate winter, and for some people it’s even their favorite season of the year, can you believe that? For me it’s something I dread when I get the first inklings of it in early November. But this year I’m going to try harder than ever to fight the sad feelings because…well…because the only other option is to pull the covers over my head and wait it out. Been there, done that. Not fun.

For all my talk of the healing power of nature, I have to admit that I don’t follow my own advice all the time. Especially in winter. I’ve got plenty of healthy and fun outdoor activities for good weather — mostly hiking, kayaking, and birding. But my primary winter activities are done on the sofa — reading, knitting, and tv (ugh). That’s definitely NOT healthy.

Wow, there IS life outside in winter!

But I remember one day last year when Eric and I went for a rare winter walk in the woods, and it was really nice. And the photographer in me found that the scenery wasn’t nearly as dull as I’d expected.  So I intend to get outdoors more this year to see what other surprises are to be found. I have a light box to help me deal with the absence of sunshine, but I’m still concerned about breathing only indoor air all winter long. Fresh air should help immensely, right?

I’m also toying with the idea of painting a few rooms in the house, a project that’s long overdue. But I worry about not being able to open windows to release paint odors. I’ve looked at some of the low-odor and/or low VOC paints out there, but they seem to be almost twice the cost of “regular” paints. But I think I’ll take another look and reconsider them. After all, our health is worth it. But even with that issue settled, I’m not sure I’ve got it in me to finish the job. I’ve done so much painting in the past decade, I’m sort of over it.  (We moved in 1999, 2000, and 2006, and I painted in all three of those houses.) And my knees and back aren’t getting any younger. Hmm, maybe this project should be done by a professional.

And there's SUN too!

I’ve got some writing projects cooking too, and even though those don’t get me outside they’ll at least occupy my mind through the Dark Season. I don’t know how much I’ll be writing here on the blog though. I’m sort of questioning the whole reason for this particular writing outlet. I love the writing, but since I don’t draw much of an audience here, I might as well just write for myself. There’s something depressing about publishing your work and not getting any response. A few of you have been frequent readers and commenters though, and I want you to know how much I really really appreciate that. Truly. Blog comments make my day because they tell me that someone out there acknowledges that I have something worthwhile to say. But when I write something that doesn’t get any reaction, I realize that I’m just not connecting with people the way I’d hoped.  But who knows, maybe the new year will inspire me to keep trying. We’ll see.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with family and friends, and let’s wish for a happier and healthier 2012.


  1. Hang in there, Kim. I think in the end we all write and photograph mainly for ourselves, and if anyone else finds it interesting, that’s the frosting. I very rarely get any comments on my posts at all (except for comment spam), but apparently there are quite a few repeat readers out there, according to the stats.

    You are a good writer and a good photographer. Keep it coming.

    And go outside.


    • Thanks Randy. I know you’re right about that, but I really LOVE the frosting…ha. And as I told Kristie above, it helps to know that you also keep writing when you don’t get many comments. You’re a wonderfully thoughtful writer and I personally love to read your blog. Hmm, I’m really interested in why so many of us continue to write and publish our work when we get little or no feedback — if we only did it for ourselves we wouldn’t publish it, right? I think I have a hope of one day finding out that one of my articles has been particularly helpful to someone out there in some way. That would make it all worthwhile.

      Ok, going outside now. =)


  2. Kim,
    These gloomy days are depressing! I was going to say this weather is for the birds, but the birds are even too smart to stick around. Keep doing what you love just for the pleasure of it! Hope Christmas is good for you and the family.



    • Thanks Sharon. I hope you and Sam have a good Christmas too. I made birdseed wreaths for the birdies to enjoy, but the darn squirrels tore them down and ran away with them on the first day! Will have to try again and put them where the squirrels can’t get them….if such a place exists.


  3. I hope you don’t give up your blog, but I can certainly identify with your feelings. I am the same way about my blog. I put a lot of thought into most of my posts, and when I get only one or two comments, or worse no comments at all, I feel quite deflated. Plus I noticed last year before Christmas that my reader stats fell off the cliff (mind you, it isn’t a very steep cliff!) and the same thing is happening this year. At least I am not taking it so personally this time around. I love reading your reflections on nature and the role it plays in your life, so hopefully you will continue.

    As far as winter goes here’s my two cents as a Canadian. Don’t let it stop you from doing what you love. I happen to love walking, so I keep walking. The only days I don’t go out are the days it is colder than -15, or when we are in the middle of high winds and/or a blizzard. Rather than wearing clunky snow boots I have high top water-proof hikers and they will do me for most days. It makes walking so much easier. If it is slippery or there is newly fallen snow I put some Yak Trax on the hikers and I’m good to go. I think you will find there is a whole world of unique beauty waiting for you this winter!


    • Thanks for the encouragement, Kristie. And it helps me to know that even a wonderful writer like you has trouble getting people to interact on a blog. I’m trying not to take it personally either. And I’m looking forward to some invigorating winter walks this year — thanks for the tips about footwear. Have a wonderful holiday!


  4. Please don’t quit writing on your blog…. I get excited whenever I see a new posting. I love reading what is going on in your mind… You are a great writer.


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