Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kep on The Sunny Side

“Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,” goes the old Carter Family song. That advice has literal as well as figurative value.

The sunny, or south side of hills, slopes and embankments loses snow cover quickly, even in mid-winter. For me, a visit to such a place provides a foretaste of things to come, an insider’s view of the nascent spring.

My home, little more than three miles from Penobscot Bay, sits in a frigid valley. Here, cold air creeps down the channel provided by nature, making the local climate at least five degrees colder, and often far more, than that found down by the sea.

Snow on the north side of the valley lingers far into spring. When flowers bloom and others plant their gardens, I monitor the snow patches and note when the last vestige disappears.

The sunny side of my little valley fares considerably better. In fact, dandelions along the south-facing wall of my cottage frequently appear many weeks ahead of the season’s main crop.

Sometimes, when darkness, cold and deep snow get me down, I hop in my car and drive down to the coast, there to view bare ground. This seldom fails to produce a sense of well-being. Such therapy also supplies the patience needed to accept the things I cannot change, namely the long, cold winter.

So when the weight of the world bears heavily upon mind and body, why not visit the sunny side? It’s a sure tonic for the winter blues.

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