Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween and Hibernation

My favorite holiday of the year.

Some folks think I love Halloween because they also think I'm a witch.  I have red hair, 2 black cats, play with tarot card, and "talk" to ravens.

That's not the reason why.  (And I'm not a witch or Wiccan - not that there's anything wrong with that.)

I love Halloween because it begins the holiday season, and it rolls fast right after Halloween.  It's also the prettiest part of Autumn.  The fervor and excitement I feel during this season is much stronger on the East coast, however, since the seasons are more clearly marked.  Here in California, Autumn sneaks in and eases her way through the end of the calendar so that you say "Yay! Halloween!" Then what feels like a few minutes later you're saying, "What the...4 days until Christmas? How the...OH!  There's the In-and-Out. Turn HERE! TURN HERE!"  And all the cool things out here distract you from the fact that you still haven't mailed a damn card yet.

The environment has a big effect on my psyche.  It does for most folks to varying degrees, but I am super sensitive to it.  Whatever junk DNA lies quietly in my genetic code are light sleepers.  The first nip of cold and I spring into hibernation mode, like a little ground hog.  The house gets cleaned.  I MUST have things that smell like apple and cinnamon strewn about the house.  And the eating!  Ugh!  I crave carbs in Autumn like a vampire craves blood.  Gotta pack that fat for winter hibernation.

Back East I am not able to control these instinctive behaviors well*.  The rustle of orange and red leaves makes me rush about like the squirrels on the ground.  I feel the urge to get in my car and drive very, very far like a migrating goose with a driver's license.  I can capitalize on this seasonal effect because I become quite productive.  Make hay while the sun shines because when the leaves  are gone and the land is windy, icy and quiet, I am hibernating.

Hibernation.  My poor little solar-powered mind is powerless against the instinct to drop everything in my hand and ooze into my bed when the ratio of sun to dark becomes "less than".  It took me a few decades to simply admit this, and then another few years to work around it (ie: move to California.)  Basically, the situation works like this: Sun comes up, Sarah is up.  Sun goes down, Sarah goes down.  This was a horrible obstacle to my 8-5 job.  The sun came up at 8 and went down at 4.  I'd look around at other people on the highway driving to work, as I did - in the dark, and think, "How the hell is everyone ok with this?"  I felt cheated, and annoyed, and mad-as-hell-notgonnatakeitanymore.  And just when all of the injustice was too much to bear, especially around Cruel February and Psyche-Out March,  I'd get struck by the smell of Spring.

Oh Spring!  Back East you were a tired and welcomed soldier back from the war that I ran up to and jumped into your arms!  (A little dramatic, you may say?  No.  That's REALLY how I felt. Really!)   I figured out later that I was smelling minute traces of a Clostridium species of bacteria that is released into the air after the snow melts.  Again, my junk DNA kicked into high gear through an environmental stimulus.  A hint of yellow on the forsythia buds and cherry blossoms threw the final switch and SARAH was back online.

Well, at some point a few years back I got tired of this wild, emotional ride through the seasons.  I moved to California, (where I was born) and where my body was able to come to some kind of homeostasis.  It's 2 days until November and I have the doors wide open, the trees are green and the sun is shining.  My roses are blooming and birds, bugs, and critters are everywhere.  The sun may stay out a shorter amount of time, but my body is adequately tricked into thinking it's always Spring.  It's like environmental Prozac.  The flora and fauna are always telling me "Eeeeeeverything's  just groovy, man.  No worries, Braddah."  Then this narcotic grin comes across my face and I deliriously forget about the stupid Christmas cards I was supposed to send 2 weeks ago.

"Noooooo worries, Braddah."

*Oddly enough, this environmental phenomena has no effect, whatsoever, in the Northwest.  My years in Tacoma, Washington were ideal!  Wet, but ideal.)

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