In New England, this is a time of year when one tends to wake up in the dark, experience a shortened day, then drive home in the dark. No small wonder that all of this darkness takes a toll on the psyche. But as of the winter solstice, the days began to get a little longer, even though the visible effects are hard to see so far.
Some effects of the change of seasons are much more obvious. Here's a glimpse of Fall from a trip we took to North Carolina in late November.
For writers, the change of seasons can be a tool, a powerful metaphor for the constant process of renewal that goes on from season to season, year to year and even longer cycles. As the seasons change, the life of a character changes as well. In New England, the winter season presents a built -in set of hardships to be overcome, giving characters a chance to see how they'll cope during tough times. For New Englanders, even the summer can be challenge, since the memories of the darker seasons to come never totally recede from one's mind. By contrast, there's little of this going on for a resident of southern California or Florida, so they need to come up with their own touchstones to mark change.
I personally like the changes in the season and my outdoor pastimes change from walking, biking and swimming in the summer to cross country skiing in the winter. The winter is also a time to spend more time indoors, tending to all of those things that often get neglected when the weather outside is just too good to give up. For a writer, this can be the time to clean up the clutter from your desktop and spend more time on working on manuscripts. For the reader, it's a great time to go to the library or your local bookstore and get those books you've been promising yourself.
So what do you think about the change of seasons and the move to a new year? Is this a time you savor or one you hope you'll soon be past?