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A Cure for Cabin Fever

Even inspirational writers wrestle mid-winter blues

Shortly before winter solstice, when plants die and darkness falls far too early, I lapse into Seasonal Affective Disorder, better known as S.A.D. This apt acronym describes a lethargic state of one-eye-open hibernation: low energy, extra sleeping, extra eating to (supposedly) help me last until spring. In short, The Blahs, big time.

This week, successive storms of “wintry mix,”-- a euphemism if ever there was one! -- have crusted my car and driveway in treacherous layers of ice covered by snow that rain turns to slush before it freezes again. And again. Cue the theme from Dr. Zhivago and the ice palace… Even as I write, “ice stickles,” as my granddaughter calls them, poke from the eaves and crystalline snow blows horizontally toward my neighbor. Dead hydrangeas writhe in the blast. Wind chill below zero.

Add in months of Covid caution and the ensuing isolation that cancels travel and even walks around my block, and I sometime wish I were a chipmunk and could just sleep until April. (My avoirdupois could easily carry me through August).

So what’s an inspirational writer to do? To keep perspective, to rally her soul, to encourage others to do the same?

Scripture and sages advise, “To everything there is a season…” True, but I just don’t like this one. Yet, simply hibernating without a blog for two months has let my readers down. I must do better. I'm supposed to be "inspirational," right?

Then this morning I read yet another article on how to survive these winter doldrums. Sure, sure. I’ve heard all this before … but this morning the word “novelty” triggered a long-buried memory from a winter 45 years ago.

At that time I had just moved to Wyoming with my husband who had abandoned theology for an appliance repair business. (God’s mysterious ways.) We had no children yet, so I fielded the office duties, and he fixed things. One February afternoon we received a call from an 80-ish widow whose furnace had quit. No time to spare. Yes, go now. Yes, I’d ride along.

Now we knew Kathryn from our amateur theatrical group that mounted melodramas at the Elks Club. With her white hair styled like Rita Hayworth, her broad Philadelphia accent, and her unabashed assertiveness, Kathryn appointed herself props mistress. No arguments. She was a force unto herself. Daunting.

Her little log cabin near the river crouched under creaking cottonwoods, not another home in sight. We traipsed through snow, rapped on the door several times, aware that her hearing aids weren’t reliable. Eventually we heard a clomping then rattling of the locks, before the log door swung open.

Kathryn emerged elegantly coifed wearing an ivory satin evening gown, spike heels, and a red woolen cardigan. Unperturbed, she noted our surprise and smoothed her dress.

“I get so tired of winter clothes,” was all she said.

I’ve been chuckling at this memory all morning. And, surprise! My cabin fever has broken. Laughter, it seems, is the cure. ###

Invitation/Your Turn

  • Describe the season you like the best or least. Include anecdotes (short personal stories).

Photo credits:

Ice photo by Kelly Sikkema on UnsplashKelly Si

Chipmunk photo by Alex Lauzon on Unsplash

Cabin photo by Guille Pozzi on Unsplash

Red shoes photo by Gabor Szuts on Unsplash

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