Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Warding off SADness

So, it's that time of year. For some, it's an exciting new school year. For some (many of them teachers) it's time to be dragged, kicking and screaming, back into the classroom. For others, it's just cooler evenings that start earlier and the time when power bills begin to creep ever higher.

As a teacher, I both welcome and dread the end of summer. I welcome it because it's time to get back into action. I dread it because I always mark the passing of summer by making a mental list of all the things I meant to do and didn't. This year is no different.

So, how do I ward off the creeping Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that accompanies the passing of August? Well, I haven't actually been diagnosed with SAD, but my main coping strategy is to embrace the cooler evenings and the familiar smells of my neighbours burning wood for the first time in months.

I'm told the sense of smell has the strongest memories and, in my personal experience, it's true. As I type this, I can smell someone's wood fire burning and it's cold enough that I'm pulling on sweatpants and socks. In times like this, I am thrust back into my university days where I would tuck in for a late afternoon nap in Harrington Hall. It was late September/early October and I could smell someone's wood fire somewhere off campus and play a little Kate Bush to relax. Specifically, the smell of the wood fire mixed with the cool encroaching fall weather and this song produces a peculiar alchemy that makes me eager to pull on a warm sweater and embrace the changing seasons. Heck, if nothing else, Hallowe'en is just around the corner.


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