No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn. Hal Borland It’s easy to get down in the dumps by the end of winter. You think you are doing so great and then, before you know it, you have the wintertime blues. There is a condition that happens to folks who do not get enough sunlight in the winter months. It’s called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). There are treatments for this, and one of them is light therapy.
I know: I battle with this every year, especially in late winter. The popular theory on this is because I am part plant. I mope when it’s cold and gloomy out and I can’t get outside to take my walks or work in the gardens. The winter holidays keep me busy, and it does not kick in until mid-February. That’s when I start watching for gardening magazines and scowling out through the windows and complaining about the snow, ice, and cold, wishing for spring.
The best cure I have ever found? Well, if it’s not too cold, then I bundle up and take a brisk walk outside. Or if it’s snowing, then I cowboy up, dig out the cars, and then shovel the snow off the sidewalk and driveway— anything to move and to get outdoors.
Should I really feel blue and it’s very nasty and bitter cold, then I go to the local nursery greenhouses and walk around inside of them for a half hour and simply enjoy the green. Oh, that yummy warmth inside— the rich, earthy smell of the potting soil, the moisture and the humidity, and that blast of green— it all really helps me. After all, green is the color of hope and of life.
So on nasty, frigid days, if I’m really missing the light and the warmth and the color green and my gardens, I quietly walk around inside of a local greenhouse. It cheers me up the minute I hit the doorway. I walk around and soak up the warmth and vibrations of all those plants that are rushing to grow. I close my eyes, breathe deep, and pull in that garden smell. I let the bright green color of the foliage fill me up with power and cheer. And it works like a charm!
Now, before someone accuses me of vamping the plants, relax. I’m soaking up atmosphere— the scents, the sounds, the colors— not the life force of the plants themselves. Sheesh. Write about psi-vamps once and everyone starts pointing fingers.
Anyway, you can safely soak up the smells, the light, and the sounds in a lush greenhouse. Try it for yourself. The worst that could happen is you’ll end up scooping out the best new varieties of plants for your garden or taking home a couple of houseplants. Besides, I’m sure the greenhouse staff would be devastated to sell you something during their slow season.
If you want to give something back to the greenhouse, then buy some plants from them while you are there or in the spring— that’s what I always do. As the greenhouses have cheered me up during the winter, I repay them by supporting the greenhouse with my business and by also planting the flowers, herbs, and shrubs and caring for them for the rest of the plant’s life cycle. It works for me. Try it for yourself the next time you are down in the dumps with the wintertime blues.
Ellen Dugan, Seasons of Witchery: Celebrating the Sabbats with the Garden Witch