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Editor's column: When SAD turns to mad

April 13, 2013
By Per Peterson , Marshall Independent

I bought into the whole Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues) phenomenon a long time ago.

Of course, like the experts, I was skeptical at first. I'm one of those people who need some concrete evidence to believe in something. But because I know as much about the world of medicine as I do about astrophysics, I don't have much of a shot of disproving the theory that our attitude can be affected by the weather.

This past week, I blew by SAD and went straight to MAD (it's not an acronym, it's an emotion).

I like winter, as long as it comes before Christmas. Anything after that is just a pain. January - if that's not SAD Awareness Month I don't know what is - is a complete drag. The nights are long and cold, the landscape is nothing more than a will-crushing blanket of snow and ice, and if you survive those 31 days, then you have to deal with February.

Now, February is shorter, but it's just as cold and dreary as January. By the time February rolls around, even snowmobilers are tiring of winter in Minnesota. March is a tricky month to figure out. There are some good things about this month; there's March Madness, spring training, the Ides and all that. But March also throws us weather curveballs - blizzards one day, 60 degrees the next. At least by the time we hit the middle of the month we can all take solace knowing our good friend April is just around that stupid proverbial corner.

So now here we are, April 13. Isn't it nice? We made it through another winter.

Little did we know a couple weeks ago that we would be digging out from a foot of snow in the middle of a month that's supposed to bring us warm temperatures and warm feelings. We're supposed to be smiling and cheerful in April. We're supposed to say "hey" to strangers, because we're in such a good mood thanks to the lovely weather we're having. Winter is supposed to be behind us.

Instead, we're left feeling gloomy, if not miserable, thanks to the 75-hour storm from hell. Not only is winter not over, it feels like it's just beginning. Sad? No, I'm not sad, I'm mad. This isn't right. This is the time of year I usually complain about mud. This storm has thrown me off my schedule. Now I won't be able to whine about how messy and sloppy everything is until the end of the month?

It isn't right saying to my daughter: "Olivia, close the door, don't you know it's spring out?" Or hearing: "The following schools are closed," the morning of April 17. It isn't right not having time to pick up stray Easter basket grass because I'm too busy shoveling 11 inches of heart-attack snow. I don't like shoveling in December. Before this week, I had never even tried doing it in April, but I learned that I hate it even more.

I shouldn't complain. I know things got rough to the south of us with so many people dealing without power for so long. The massive storm system also brought tornadoes to southern states. We just lost power for about five hours Wednesday morning, so I should be counting my blessings. But I'm too mad to focus on counting right now. This blast of winter is a cold, wet slap in the face.

This isn't the first time (and it won't be the last) that we've dealt with snow in April. Ten inches fell in Marshall back on April 28, 1994. Remember? Or did you repress that memory like I did?



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