Monday, February 4, 2013

Battling the Winter Funk

Last week as I sat quietly one morning with God I had a revelation.  I am in a winter funk.  I live in Minnesota.  Winter and Funk just go together at the end of January.  I spent years between mid January and mid March in the blahs.  It is cold, you don't go outside and some winters even if you do it is cloudy for so many days you still don't see the sun.  Blah.  Over the years I have learned to start building steam in November and December to prepare me to push through these months.  Each year I would make it a little further before the funk set in until I finally started feeling like I was making it through winter feeling cheerful.  Last winter I had the opportunity to sit at a desk in front of a wall of windows.  The sun might not have come out much but every time it did I was sitting there soaking up the good feeling vitamin D.  This winter between the stress and sickness we have endured it is no surprise I forgot to build up a little steam to push me through.

I am really not up for spending the next 6 weeks in a funk but I can't afford to go recharge in Florida.  So what is the next best thing?  Como Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul.  They have indoor gardens and greenhouses.  The tropical garden is downright hot.  We quickly lost our winter coats as we walked in and a couple minutes later Isabelle had stripped down to her tank top.  I brought a notebook and Isabelle brought art supplies.  We found a spot in the sunken garden where they are having a winter flower show (you can see it in one of the pictures on the front page of the web site above.) Isabelle got to work drawing all the various flowers and I was able to write out plans, prayers and general thoughts.

Wish I could put new pictures on this blog...Isabelle was a joy.  I am really seeing her artistic skills begin to develop.  The art teacher actually held on to one of her paintings from this fall for an art show the school will be doing this spring.  I can assure you nothing I ever created in art class was considering for an art show.  Many people walked through as Isabelle was drawing flowers and several commented on what a great job she was doing.  Yet she was totally focused.  It was fun to watch her walk over to a flower to study it further and then return to add a detail.  And I love this age where walking includes an occasional skip or two as you go.  I could have sat in this glass building on that sunny day surrounded by beautiful flowers and watching Isabelle do something she loves all day long.  As it turns out they close at 4pm and we didn't get there until after 2pm.  When they announced there was only 30 minutes left til closing Isabelle panicked because we had intended to go see the animals as well.  So we quickly threw our jackets back on (it is an outdoor zoo) and ran out to see a few of our favorite animals.  We managed to make it to the building with the zebra, kudu and giraffe and then ran off to see the polar bears as they were giving us the 15 minute warning.

We got back into the car feeling happy and refreshed.  As a bonus we didn't bring any electronics for the car and I got 30 minutes in the car each way to chat with Isabelle.  Something I loved doing with Jake as we drove to school every day but haven't gotten to do as much with Isabelle.

All in all a great day to push us out of our winter funk.  I just might return once a week for the next couple months.  I will call it my "treatment" day to keep me mentally healthy.

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