Thursday, November 12, 2015

Winter...What to Do?

Many people in the Northern Hemisphere often do not look forward to winter. I am one of them -- although my parents are from northern Europe and I grew up in the Midwest, I much prefer warm and sunny seasons to the colder and darker ones. Come November I begin to feel slightly anxious about the approaching winter. With the two last Washington winters having been rather harsh, I have been thinking about how to improve my relationship with winter (seeing as moving south from November through March is not a viable option!). The first step was purchasing a "happy light", which I have already begun trying to use almost every morning as the sun has been rising later and later, and setting earlier.

An October sunset
It seems my second step might be trying to adjust my mindset. The Atlantic recently published an enlightening article about Tromso, Norway, a city so far north that its dark winters are frighteningly long -- between November and January, the sun does not rise! This, of course, is in direct contrast to the summer, when between May and July the sun never sets. The article's author, Kari Leibowitz, received a Fulbright scholarship to research how people in Norway address winter, and spent ten months in Tromso doing research. I urge you to read the entire article -- it's fascinating. Additionally, during her time in Norway Ms. Leibowitz kept a blog, in which she features stunningly gorgeous photographs of various trips around the country in addition to pictures which show that the winter light there is quite beautiful.

In the vain of Tromso residents who look forward to winter, I figured one method of doing so is by constructing a list of activities to plan and look forward to this winter. Herewith I present....(drumroll, please!)....My Winter Wish & Plan List! This is not a "to do" list, nor is it a bucket list -- it is collection of activities which I would enjoy and that I may do in the coming five months. 

My Winter Wish & Plan List 
- Visit the National Postal Museum for the first time. See the PostSecret exhibit there.
- Catch new movies, especially "Bridge of Spies," "Suffragette," and "Sisters."
- Read! Particularly looking forward to Sherry Turkle's new book, "Reclaiming Conversation" (as I loved her work "Alone Together"). Have also heard lots about Lauren Groff's novel "Fates and Furies." I recently began reading "Notorious R.B.G.: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg," which is quite good.
- Visit the National Cryptological Museum (on the grounds of the National Security Agency, sometimes referred to as "No Such Agency").
- Interview at least one person for a blog post.
- Check out Artomatic 2015, an enormous free art exhibit.
- Bake cookies with my awesome new Latvian cookie cutters.
- Visit the newly re-opened Renwick Gallery.
- Host a literary evening.
- Of course: celebrate Latvia's Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, and Christmas, as well as my birthday.
- Visit at least one Christmas-themed event, such as a light display or Christmas music concert.
- Yay, "The Americans" is due to begin its new season in January! This is THE best show on television.

High water on the Potomac at sunset, March 2015

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