If you’re not from the northwest, I’m going to guess you’ve at least heard rumors of our weather. Seattle is rainy. Portland is rainy. Eugene, where I reside, gets even more rain than both of those cities. Rain. All we have is rain, and lots of it. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it and all that it does to make our state green, so green in fact that my car grows a seasonal batch of moss in its crevices. It’s just, rain is delivered by clouds. Clouds that linger. Clouds that are dull and uninspiring. Unlike the wispy clouds of summer that spark imaginative visions of creatures and things…well, these are just one massive gray blanket of doom and despair. (Did I mention that I think the clouds help induce my cases of the “blah’s?”) Lots and lots and lots of sun-obscuring, mind-numbing clouds.
It’s been a huge cause of my frustration this week, as I realize the clouds presence means winter is just around the corner. Which involves more clouds and more clouds. And then some more. See, I miss the sun nine months of the year. We the people of the northwest (assuming I can speak for us?) all miss the sun. And when we don’t get enough, we the people of the northwest get really emo. There’s no other way to say it. Maybe that’s why so much art comes from our area? Irritation with foul weather (whether acknowledged as a problem, or not), causes people to vent their frustrations in new and creative ways. Bold, abstract paintings. Angry letters to newspaper editors. Oddly paired clothing. Grunge music. Punk music. Country music (If that’s not proof of seasonal affective disorder, I don’t know what is.)
My son Traben came home happy but tired from a full day of school a few days ago. The first two weeks of the school year, they were celebrating colors in his 1st grade class, each day having a designated color. This particular day, he’d had the chance to enjoy all things yellow, and participated by wearing a new and highly favored yellow X Games shirt. I was super happy when, upon looking in his backpack that afternoon, I found he’d worked on a little art project. It was a treasure to me! See, that day he came home was a gloriously hot and sunny day, and his picture matched it perfectly. It was bright and happy, a reflection of how us sun-seeking Oregonians feel when we get our Vitamin D from the sun and not in supplement form. But I knew something then that I dare say never would have crossed his mind while he was creating it; the clouds are coming. And when the clouds arrive, then linger and even still refuse to depart. When that happens, we tend to forget the sun ever existed. Or in the very least, we fear it will never return.
Thanks to Traben, my six-year-old son who insists he can read minds and play drums faster than Travis Barker, it wont be just his humor to help distract me from through these long, cloudy days. And I wont have to rely solely on the humor of his brother, Creed, either. (Though make no mistake, I will enjoy every second of their randomness!) But I will definitely take advantage of viewing the happiness of summer through Traben’s eyes, and know that, the sun will return. I will glance at his art, and though it may not radiate actual sunshine-goodness, it will radiate a different kind of happiness that can carry me through any season.
And in case you needed a little extra dose of sunshine in your life, here’s a look at the art that continues to make me smile.
Have any tips for coping without the sun? Do you suffer from SAD? Would you believe it if I said my dog really suffers from it?