Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How many shades of grey...errr or is it gray?


I have always been victim of this folly.

I understand the differences and with the internet I can always readily remind myself of the "rules" - but to be honest with you, I think the English language has too many "rules" that don't make much sense as it is and I opt not to spend too much time on which spelling. I did read that when all else fails, it is grAy in America and grEy in England. 

Oddly enough, I have never lived in England (only visited) and ever since I can recall I have been prone to spelling color: colour, behavior: behaviour, and gray: grey. So I don't know how to explain that, other than it makes things more interesting to do things a different way than a person's typical peers. So, having said that...the real topic for today....

All these shades of grey. 

I live in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, in Camas, Washington to be exact. For many of you readers, if not all, this is as foreign a place to you as any place and I could easily say I live on Mars. Which I am certain would probably fascinate you more than Camas, Washington. In order to give this small little town a reference point for people, I tell them I am from Portland, Oregon, since Portland is probably, technically 9 minutes away, but the actual downtown of Portland is more like 20 minutes away. Either case, I am really close to Portland and way more people know where Portland is than Camas. 

But this gives you an idea of what I am getting at with this shades of grey stuff. In fact Camas' precise location on the globe is 45.596744, -122.399368. What does all of this mean? 

Well, taking into consideration my proximity from the Artic Circle, the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountain Range this all equals:

RAIN.

And  a lot of it...a lot of the time. 

Our winters are dreary and brutal. Not brutal in the sense of snow and what many would consider winter conditions. Brutal on another front. That of mental illness.

It is an often heard joke that those who are born and raised in this area of the country have webbed feet. We also refer to that when our seasons change the only measurable difference being that of the temperature of the rain. 

Am I painting a clear picture here? I sure hope so, we have grey winters here. There are days and weeks that go by and nothing changes in the weather, just the shades of grey throughout the day, indicating whether it is noon, or whether it is late afternoon. The evergreen trees lose their green color in the sea of grey clouds and constant rain. The other trees are bare and ugly. Grass is dull and soggy. The pavements darker grey color blends into the scenery of grey rooftops and grey shaded mud along the road. It is like this day after day...

I know, I know, this sounds horribly depressing and for many it is. I do have to say, in defense of this beautiful part of the country our springs are gorgeous, even with the rain. The colors in the blooming flowers and trees and how bright the grass gets is breath taking. For example, although this isn't a picture that I took personally, we do have parks very close by that look exactly like this come spring time.
Our falls have amazing color as well, 
We also get awesome performances from the clouds during the summer months, and this one I did take, up at my youngest's school:
The thunder storms are commanding and on the rare occasions it does snow during the winter the kids love it! Because practically everyone has very little experience driving in snowy conditions the kids' schools close down with the slightest hint of trouble:
Yes, that is my youngest monkey in flip-flops and shorts! We had planned to run a quick errand that did not require him to get out of the car, and flip-flops are quick and easy. But low and behold it started snowing, so of course, since it is such a rarity here, we had to pull off at his school and let him run around in it! That does say a lot about the weather here for the locals.

Then of course, we have Mt. Hood only 45 minutes from us and Mt. St. Helen's an hour and 15 minutes the other direction. 

And if all this other distraction hasn't helped remind me of the skill "this too shall pass" with my grey world for winter we have this an hour and half to the West of us:
The ocean! Man-oh-man, do the stormy clouds really perform for you here! Not to mention the ocean noises and the amazing job they do at distracting a person from floods of negative emotions.

So what have I done here?

I have taken a very real issue for myself, awful dreary, grey winters and took some time for myself to validate how I am feeling. I have reminded myself that this feeling will not last forever, that winter does pass. I have reminded myself of the positives about my area and I have reminded myself of some of the escapes I have within a reasonable distance to help cope with the long winters. 

After sharing this with all of you, I can now remember that I am very fortune to live in such a diverse place. Within a days time I can experience the ocean beaches, the mountainous regions and even desert conditions if I so desire during the summer months. I have so many colors and life all around me during the other three months here. All this will fuel me through this day and on to the next! 

In all seriousness, these times are the hardest for me. Yesterday I felt like screaming at the top of my lungs, just for that thick blanket of gloom to stop suffocating me. At times I feel like I simply won't make it one more day of this dreary rain. Some days moving seems like a viable solution, which of course it is not. Aj and I have two children from other homes (previous marriages) and moving would equal leaving one behind and removing the other from his dad's house, which are equally unacceptable, so living anywhere else in this point of my life is not an option, but some days....it feels like a move is the only way out of the cave of darkness that descends. 

When it does get pretty desperate, we need to remember to pull out any skill and try it. If it doesn't work, try another and so on. Sit outside, replace bulbs in your home with ones that simulate natural light, watch movies that are placed in sunny places and happy content. Do something because if you do not, you risk sinking so low you can't pull yourself out. No body wants to go backwards...only forwards.

~MJ



Picture thanks to:
www.flickriver.com