Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Everyday, it will rain, rain, rain..."

Song for this post: "It Will Rain" Bruno Mars

Yesterday was winter Equinox.  That means it was not just the darkest day of the year but also the shortest.  It doesn't just mark the start of some blisteringly cold weather, it marks the beginning of longer days, more light and growing things. Everyone in the office today is talking about Equinox in these overly animated tones.  Everyone knows what it means.  Everyone is excited.

If you don't live in Seattle you probably don't understand how you can go a little stir crazy here.  It's not uncommon to go months at a time without seeing the sun. I'm not saying it's all "Juno, AK" up in here...but the overcast can be oppressive.  So equinox here is kind of a big means we made it.  :) I mean, srsly. We have the highest suicide rate in the country.  That means something. It takes a certain kind of personality to deal with the constant overcast here. I happen to really enjoy it. We absolutely DO NOT take the sun for granted. When it shows up, we go batshit for it. When I first moved here I called Seattlites "Sun Gods" because, every time it comes out, it's like a damn festival here.

Today is one of the very rare days in the winter here when the sun is out.  All I can think about is spring and resuming outdoor running and kayaking and NEVER. GOING. INSIDE. AGAIN.  All I want to do right now is tie on some running shoes, hit the pavement, and run until I either figure out how to fly, or fall down from exhaustion.  You may run to super high impact techno or rap or something. I run to songs that make me so retardedly joyous to be alive that I can't help but smile and laugh. That feeling, combined with the endorphins of a good run equals the most amazing high ever.  Song for this post? Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain." AWESOME song to run to. I LOVE running. I love it for the physical activity and the conditioning but more for the mental health aspects of it. My playlist is such that, on a typical 4 mile run, if I haven't moved through anger to desperation to sadness to elation emotionally, I haven't done it right. It's not uncommon to find me along Lake Washington, or in the woods at Frink Park running to a beat and either crying or laughing. Running, for me, is an opportunity to feel life and all of the sensations it offers on a very deep and present level and let it be overwhelming because I'll run it off and be fine.  I say this because, historically, I'm not very good at feeling things. I'm a big bottler and tend to fear feeling any emotion strongly because, for me, I feel like it poisons my body and is difficult to purge. Running is a way for me to condition AND work through issues.  I suffer a bit in winter because I'm restricted to a treadmill and that's basically equating myself to a damn mouse on a wheel. It doesn't even come close to acceptable. But the equinox...that means that we aren't far away from longer days. And that is reason to rejoice. Also, the song for this post is an incredible pacing song.  You can run FOREVER at that pace. Check out an incredibly understated but outstanding performance of the song here. The use of lighting is incredible. I tear up and get goose bumps every time from the combination of visual and audio.

Unfortunately, today's sun also means that I'm effectively blind.  Draw back of living in the most overcast city in the continental US?  Over time, your eyes ACTUALLY lose pigment and you can become a tiny bit photo sensitive. I already have light green eyes and take a medication that makes me sensitive to light.  So, when the sun peaks its head out during winter here, it's SO incredibly bright and overwhelming that we all shriek in terror and cover our faces with our hands like evil vampires who are about to burst into flames.  Today? Headache.  Thanks sun. You're a real asshole.

PHOTO OP: I don't have any idea where this originated, but Pioneer Square (the heart of Seattle) covers its trees in hand knitted "sweaters."  You know... "tree huggers."  We like for our trees to stay warm in the winter.  It's also adorably crafty and cozy and makes you feel like we all really care.  And it's really pretty. :) This picture is of Occidental Park in the heart of Pioneer Square.  There's an amazing building just out of shot that is completely covered in ivy and has a book store and the most amazing and beautiful cafe you'll ever find.  It's an old train station that was converted into this cavernous cafe with huge vaulted ceilings, stone flooring, and gothic fire places.  Grand Central Bakery.  Check it out...try some of the fresh baked bread they're known for.

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