Well, so I hear it’s “Blue Monday” today in Canada, the day when the various midwinter factors in this good country supposedly come together to make people feel blue. There’s some truth in it, I suppose. I am after all one who experiences Seasonal Affective Disorder (SADS), a feeling of being somewhat depressed, or “blue.” It’s brought on by a lack of sunlight at this time of year in northern latitudes. Hope Ness is just south of the 45th Parallel, halfway to the North Pole from the equator. The village of Lion’s Head, about 10 kilometres north of here is exactly halfway, by the way. (Pretty place that, especially when the rays of the setting sun shine like gold on the Niagara Escarpment cliffs just across from Lion’s Head harbour.) A lot of places in the Northern Hemisphere that have temperate climates usually milder than this part of Canada are actually much further north than Hope Ness or even Lion’s Head; The U.K., for example, most of western and central Europe north of Spain, Italy and Greece; parts of the northern U.S., Canada’s southern neighbour, are actually farther north than here as well. But the “continental effect” makes the difference. Winter was late coming to southeastern Canada this season. We had a relatively rare “green Christmas,” but the cold, arctic air masses from the northern reaches of this far-flung country are finally coming down and settling in. The temperature is -40 to -45 degrees Celsius in Thunder Bay at the western end of Lake Superior in this Great Lakes region. Here, on the Bruce Peninsula, the shores of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay are close by, not frozen over yet, and still generating snow squalls. The temperature here in Hope Ness this morning was -14 C, cold enough, let me tell you; but still, it’s worth looking on the bright side, compared with Thunder Bay.
So, that brings me back to Blue Monday. I heard this morning on a CBC public affairs radio program that the title was actually conferred on the day by a flight-travel, tourism company as a promotional tool to help sell trips south to sunnier, warmer climes. But with the Canadian dollar – widely referred to as “the loonie” in this country – compared with the American dollar, I think it’s fair to say many more Canadians will be looking for closer-to-home winter coping strategies. Because of the Loonie, and for other reasons, I don’t really have much of a choice: I have to make the best of it.
But here’s the first lesson: that’s not the best way to put it. Not many hopeful overtones there. Rather, I should say, look as much on the bright side as much as possible. It may be cold, but it could be colder. It may cloud over later, with more “flurries” and “snow squalls” in the forecast for later, but so far this morning here at the end of Cathedral Drive the sun is shining. Mr. Massey the Younger is plugged in ready to do duty again with his attached snow blower to clear the driveway for the busy day coming tomorrow. Dress warm and dig out those vital areas outside where the man coming tomorrow with a new furnace needs to work. Come in to get warm again as need be, if need be. Then later at the end of day treat yourself right, put your feet up with a cup or two of hot tea and feel good about doing the job well, and getting it done.
It’s not Blue Monday. Neither is tomorrow. It’s life. And it is good.