SAD—Seasonal Affective Disorder


Nearing winter’s end, squeezed between Presidents Day and Passover/Easter, is St. Patrick’s Day, the next holiday on the calendar. The green will be upon us; perchance the first signs of spring will appear and a four-leaf clover will show itself.

Wallowing in malaise as I walked up the path to my car, I thought I heard the flutes of the little people sounding their presence. I might have been hallucinating—or it could have been a ringing in my ear from the din in the restaurant last night—or, maybe, it was last year that I heard the sound of the pipes. I blame this mishegoss (irrational behavior) on my yearning for the first signs of spring—a green leaf, a birdsong, a longer stretch of sunlight, anything. The doldrums are upon me.

In the morning, I awaken anticipating the end of the oppressive funk that has been weighing me down. I wait for the light to pierce the darkness of my room; my eyes are focused on the window. A streak of sunlight is peaking from under the shade. No sign of listlessness is lifting yet. I may as well go back to sleep.

The pages of the calendar are turning faster than I can age. That’s a thought; what if I turn the pages slowly and savor each day. Will my fate be determined by real time? Then what?

After the St. Paddy’s Day parade ends and the politicians wave their last green-gloved hands, we turn step-by-step to Passover and Easter. Preparation for the Jewish holidays will begin. I don’t see any benefit to slowing down the traditional feast. It takes dedication—more cooking, more shopping, more arranging. Lately, the Passover table is becoming labor intensive, not for me, but for the younger chefs in the family who favor fancy sauces and too many courses—gefilte fish with shavings of truffles, brisket in wine sauce and exotic fruits.

Before we know it, Fourth of July will be upon us, flags flapping in the wind, firecrackers exploding, franks and hamburgers grilling. Wait, wait, slow down. If I turn around, I will meet myself coming and going. Don’t go so fast, I haven’t had my corned beef and cabbage yet. I haven’t defrosted my green cupcakes.

I have an idea. I could cook corned beef for Passover, combining the two holidays. After all, corned beef is simply brined brisket. But, I don’t believe that would go over too well.
I can almost hear the chorus of voices yelling, “Where are the matzoh balls? We want our potato kugel.” Besides, cabbage doesn’t smell particularly good. I think I will scrap that idea and celebrate one holiday at a time.

I can enjoy the season upon us, that is if I don’t plan each month’s celebration in advance. Nailing down the calendar pages, and not looking past the month we are in should do it.

I think I am suffering from SAD, a lack of sunlight or seasonal affective disorder. Maybe that’s why I am sounding deranged. Can’t you tell from my rambling?

When the spring finally arrives and my mood lifts, I hope I won’t get spring fever with its restlessness and lethargy. Warm sunlight might improve my disposition. My appetite will take a vacation and I will stop craving junk food. It wouldn’t hurt to lose a few pounds.

Meanwhile, let’s get back to St. Patrick’s Day. Preparation for the parade will start very soon. A few green beers and a cheer for the Irish will be called for. Surely, the air will start to smell fresh and a crocus bulb or two will erupt from the hard earth before a late frost will bury them. But, don’t pack your winter wardrobe away just yet. It’s a fake when a 60-degree day pops up. Don’t fall for it, Mother Nature is just teasing us. You never know though—hope springs eternal.

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