Last year I wrote about the "illness" that strikes me usually some time in January. This year, it has come early. I've got Hawaii Fever.
Since I can't spend the next 2 months sitting here (can't afford that by any stretch of the imagination)...
...I have to improvise as best I can. I have a chaise lounge out in the back garden. On days when there's sun, I bundle up in as many layers as is necessary to keep the cold out (sometimes more than less) and I go out to the chaise. I position it to face the sun fully, and stretch out. I close my eyes. If there isn't any wind, the warmth of the sun builds up on my face and it feels like I'm really there in Hawaii. I've got the sound of the pond waterfall to even help with the ambiance.
I was chatting with a friend today at church about my having Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Hubby has filled the entire house with full spectrum light bulbs and bought me a SAD light box. There are evenings when I will sit on the couch with the shade of a reading lamp positioned right over my head like I'm the life of the party with a lampshade on my head. I sit there drinking in the warmth of the full spectrum bulb. Still, there is really nothing better than good ole' sunshine.
As the days gets shorter and shorter, I can feel the yearning for sun increasing. I count down the days until the shortest day of the year, and am so glad when it finally arrives because I can gleefully anticipate that each day from that point on will get longer.
Some may think that living here in Northern California should make SAD a piece of cake, but it really doesn't. It just makes it better than living somewhere farther north where the days are even shorter. We still live far from the equator, and we still get our form of winter (yesterday's high was 45F, and it was a humid nippy 45F at that). I know some colder climates that get snow but have much more winter sun than we do because the air is crisp and clear. Our Christmases are foggy ones with the night air coming in like a dense cold blanket. Looking at Christmas lights through fog is the quintessential image of a Bay Area Christmas for me.
Over 20 years ago, I lived in Hawaii for 3 1/2 months while going to school on the island of O'ahu at the campus of BYU-Hawaii. The days don't fluctuate all that much in length during the year--not as much as here. My fondest December memory was sitting on Temple Beach on North Shore under a full moon with my feet buried in the sand, while a group of us were gathered singing Christmas carols to the accompaniment of a guitar. It was wonderful... and strange too. When I came home halfway through December, I stepped off the plane into the cool reality of San Francisco--and promptly contracted a case of laryngitis.
Since that time, I get Hawaii Fever every winter. This year it has come earlier than usual, but I know to expect it nonetheless. "Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say..." man, do I wish I was there.