Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Defrosting my spirit

Writing is therapy, sometimes. My book is still languishing, waiting for me to make space in my days for it. That means watching less TV and old DVDs but the main issue is lack of motivation and energy, this malaise. Feeling like all the fight's sucked out of me. I'm a fairly determined person but this one's got me beat right now.

I woke up with a massive headache and dizziness this morning. It was too severe to contemplate going to work so I made my breakfast, tried some rather ineffectual meditation and tried to sleep.

 After lunch I decided I'd better try to get some sunshine. Miraculously when I needed it the day had dawned so sunny with blue skies and chilly temperatures but perfectly manageable if you wrap up, which I did.

I'd visited the doctor last night and he's agreed it could be a lack of sunshine that was bringing me down - seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Yes, though it's more than that. Still, it's contributing and so I thought a gentle walk in the sun might help my head and my heart. I went to the chemist to fill my prescription and then headed for trees and other natural things for soul food.

I walked around the park desperately needing to connect with nature, needing to hear birds sing and feel the watery warmth of the winter sun on my skin. I walked along the canals all frozen over. How strange to see water that was usually moving freeze-framed with crazy cracked lines across it. It does make it difficult for the wildlife.

The water fowl were skating while they tried to walk. Even their spread toes weren't helping much. Further along in front of the chateau the sun had burned a space in the ice and the ducks, geese, swans, poules d'eau and other birds were making the most of it.

They were making the most of the families who were out in the fresh air loaded up with bread for them and so I made the most of the opportunity to watch them. Mr Swan was feeling a bit tetchy. The idea that Spring might arrive soon had stirred his feelings towards Mrs Swan and he wasn't having any other bird getting between him and her. His temper was short and he made a few aggressive moves.

Then he paddled back to his lady and made gently murmurings to her. All was well. Peace was restored. I turned away from the canals and admired the perfectly trimmed hedges and groves of trees showing only their winter skeleton but of course my eye is always drawn back to the chateau.

No matter the season, the park always looks splendid in its setting. It's a good tourist attraction and an amenity for the locals. It's a shame they don't cater for English-speaking visitors.

I walked past the chateau and back towards the Town Hall which Napoleon Bonaparte had gifted to the town two centuries ago. Then I headed towards the church around the corner from where I live. It's just in front of the Post Office and just up the hill from Napoleon's son's house . Laura and I had spent time in the garden there last year when she visited me.

All this sounds exotic to someone living in NZ but it's standard living to me now. I'm used to living in a building 300 years old, working in a building constructed by Louis XVI, strolling around a town that had its roots back in the 8th century. It's, well... normal.

For those of you interested in SAD go to http://thyroid.about.com/od/relatedconditions1/a/winterblues.htm


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