Carole and I routinely dispute the question of when seasons officially start. I've tended toward the point of view that the seasons start at the moments of equinox and solstice, basically cleaving to the strict astronomical definition, while she tends more toward a definition of June-July-August being summer, September-October-November being fall, December-January-February being winter, and March-April-May being spring.Neither
of us is really all that "right" when you get down to it. It all depends on where you live, latitude-wise. Here in Vermont fall seems to last for about a month
, from mid-September until mid-October, and then we get right to the gray depressing skies and leafless trees that make up a weird season that doesn't really feel like "winter" because there's no snow on the ground, but certainly isn't "fall" either because the leaves have long
since come down. Winter starts when we get the first sizable snowfall and lasts until the end of March at the earliest -- and can carry on until May if we work it just right. Along about mid-April or early May we usually start another of Vermont's weird seasons, "mud season", where the ground is still frozen but there's enough rain falling that the top layer of soil basically liquefies. With frozen soil a few inches down, the water has nowhere to drain away to and simply turns the top six inches of every dirt road to impassable muck.
So, yeah, in Vermont it's more meaningful to think in terms of the actual climatological conditions outside:
Warm and sunny: Summer (a couple of weeks here and there in July and August)
Tons of New Yorkers and New Jerseyites driving around photographing trees: Fall
Gray and miserable, with no leaves on the trees but no snow on the ground yet to brighten things: Despair
Lots of snow and cold: Winter
Cars stuck in the mud: Mud season
Maple festivals everywhere: Early spring
Still an imminent possibility of a late-season blizzard: Spring
But there's another way of looking at it that I think is most relevant of all: light versus dark.
Now that daylight saving time runs almost eight months out of the year and 'standard' time is only a bit over four months long, running from early November until early March, 'standard' time seems like a real misnomer, doesn't it? And since that period coincides with the four coldest months of the Vermont calendar (usually) and the darkest time of the year, the start of daylight saving is also the start of The Bleak Dark Time, when both Carole and I are inclined to just pull our heads in, cover our eyes with a blanky, and say nothing at all to anyone until it's all over.
And that's precisely what we've got to avoid. This year I've decided to do something different. I'm going to try to exercise every day -- making use of the 'fitness center' in the mazy depths of the ground floor of my office building here in Vermont when I'm actually working out of the office, going to the gym that Carole and I belong to (and rarely actually use) on the weekends, and trying to get my butt down to the hotel exercise room when I'm on the road.
My stress level has been high enough lately that my manager did what amounts to a formal counseling session with me one day on the phone, advised me to get my stress under control, and even signed me up for an online stress management class on our company's internal online learning website. I guess she's serious. And I know that my blood pressure was a lot lower when I was working out on the treadmill every day a year ago trying to get my weight down to 180 pounds. And I've let my weight creep back up to the 190s (especially in the last month, when I've been fighting a cold)...
So: my thought is that if I start regularly working out again, doing 900 or so calories' worth of fast walking on a treadmill each day, I'll probably be less stressed, get my blood pressure back down, AND get my weight back down to the 180-pound level that I sorta think it should be at. That's the goal, anyway. I've created a stickk.com commitment contract
to help enforce said dedication -- if I don't make my weight loss goals, I'll be out $50 a week each week that I fall short. With that sort of impetus pushing me, I hope I'll rediscover the dedication that helped me with the first big weight loss push, the one that took me from 235 down to 180.
And most importantly of all, I won't let The Bleak Dark Time knock me for a loop again.