Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Gloom

The gloom landed right after Christmas, as it always does. I was back in North Carolina, but the cold followed me all the way from New England and kept us all shut up in doors for days at a time. I worked from my desk, but work was slow, and there was very little to keep my mind occupied. Studying would have made the time go by much quicker, but school didn't start till the middle of January.

The dog curled into a useless crescent on top of my feet as I worked, alternatively sleeping and glaring at me, as if the polar vortex was a plot I invented to keep her penned inside. I took her for two brief walks every day, each one screaming cold for me, although she didn't seem to notice the freeze. They barely counted as exercise- we went around the block once, twice at most, and to assuage my guilt once back home, I'd treat her to excessive raw hide bones. At five dollars a bag they started to add up.
So did groceries. This is what I did with myself most days- drive to the grocery store a few blocks away and buy whatever I wanted, mostly stuff to make soup and bake. I'd go home, make it, eat it, burn the muffins, burn the cake, I burnt everything I tried to bake, but the soups came out well.

That was always a pleasant few hours each afternoon, coming home with groceries and opening up a Porter or a Black Mocha Stout and starting to chop onions and celery, the radio playing in the background. Then the soup would be done, provide a good degree of satisfaction, then I'd eat it, clean up, and be back to nothing. Around dinner, I'd repeat the whole process.
I said to a friend, "I feel like my days are made of this: making little messes, cleaning up after myself, doing it again. I need school to start."

I really needed school to start. I hadn't been to school in seven years, since graduating college, with the exception of the EMT class. The idea of returning was making me fidgety, especially because I'm looking at three years of straight math and sciences.

Once there was a snow day called, and all the schools were cancelled. It wasn't really a snow day because there was no snow on the ground. It was a cold day. Due to unprecedented cold....the announcement began. It was below zero. My boyfriend got to stay home, and we played card games and drank orange liquor and whiskey out of little glasses. I hate the taste of whiskey but it seemed right for the situation. That day felt more cheerful than the others.
January is a gloomy month wherever you are. Here in Asheville we tried to break out of it by going skiing at Cataloochie mountain. We went at night to beat the crowds, but the crowds were there anyway. It was black and icy with people falling down the mountain all around us. It was like playing a game of human dodge ball. We decided not to go again. Save the lift pass money in a jar and one day have enough to build a cabin in the cascades. Or go out to a movie.
I've had a few more of those Seattle dreams, always the same. I'm back in my old neighborhood cafe, staring at my phone deciding who do call first. I'm overwhelmed to tears to be back in that city, but I can never get the numbers on the phone to work. I always wake up with wet eyes, feeling like I just cried for a long time.

But they're just dreams. As much as I miss that place, I'm so desperately happy that I moved here. January is January wherever you are.  My life is cranking away here, towards something tangible, it feels much closer then it ever has before. That feeling provides an overwhelming sense of relief.

19 comments:

meg bird said...

"January is January, wherever you are."

I wrote that on a post-it and stuck it to my cubicle. I wanted you to know.

Good to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

does this mean you're baaaacckkkk???!?!?!!?!?!?!!!!

Sian said...

yay ive missed your posts,

you are sooo right about January! xxx

Cheryl said...

Beautifully written...and yes, January is January here, too. Apart from instead of extreme cold, we have skies heavy as laundry, grey cloud, a flimsy sun.

Roll on February: snowdrops, frost, the first sightings of Spring.

Amanda Craig said...

January is tough, as the high of celebrating over the holidays wears off. I think February is worse than January. Here's to March!

Lovely post, by the way :)

Rhett said...

Yep, January is January here, too. February is almost here!

Rachel @ Existation said...

January is January wherever you are, unless you're in Southern California, where it's May all year! =]=] I do not miss The Glooms of January and February at all...I used to get so hard with SAD in the middle of the winter that I just wanted to stop existing. But it sounds like you have a nice, cozy little existence to get through it, at the very least. Beer and dogs and boyfriends. =]

Jill said...

MELINA, I missed you! (Is that weird?) :) Bring on February!

s. Maiolo said...

Spring comes quick down this way - you will be out in the sunshine soon.

s. Maiolo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yay! Glad you're back! Thanks for the post.

CaliGal said...

So nice to see you! Hoping school is going well. :) Keep warm!

And whoever it is next to you on the couch - Very handsome! ;)

Melina said...

Thanks CaliGirl!

School is going well, just one class this semester since i'm still working almost full time.

That's Yonton next to me- SUPER handsome. My roommate. ;)

Darlene said...

And as of midnight January comes to a screeching halt! Done, over and finished. Tomorrow is a new day, a new month! And now we are one whole month closer to Spring! Where once again we are reminded of the warmth and outdoor beauty has been hiding. Hope it's warming up up there it is here in SC. Take care!! You've been missed!
Darlene

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to see a post from you, Melina! What cute saying should we have for February? I live in Duluth, Mn. I seriously can't think of anything good about this month (gloomy weather, wise) It's still below zero every night and there's 4 feet of snow. Today it got all the way to 7, so I guess I have nothing to complain about. Heat Wave!!

Powtera said...

I've really missed your posts. Loved this one - beautifully written.

Anonymous said...

Hi - I feel called to try living in Asheville for a while. I know the job situation is not good, but that is not my worry. I love the area, the vibe, and the friendly people. I am an artist as well and a spiritual person who drums. My only real concern about the place is weather. I tend to get depressed easily if it is grey and gloomy for a few days a week or in a row. Does this happen often in Asheville? Does winter seem to really drag a lot of people down there or is it more tolerable than a place like Michigan, where I am visiting now? Thank you so much. Enjoyed your post. Glad you are well there.

Melina said...

The winters in asheville don't compare whatsoever to the winters in MI. Trust me! this past one was a total fluke, the frigid weather. It's SO much easier to live here in the winter than anywhere else i've lived....although not being able to ski good snow sucks. come on down, it's
pretty awesome here!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Melina! I did move down here in late August. Love it so far. Using my light box for the occasional grey day. I think I will be fine as long as I stay busy. The good thing is that Asheville is cozy and laid back and so the grey gives a nice snug feeling, rather than a dark oppressive vibe.