In Which We Spend an Unseasonably Warm May Day on our Bikes

It's amazing how the weather can change a mood. I don't think I realized what a slump I've been in until we received an unseasonably sunny week here in Portland.

Sun in May is rare, and sun for days at a time even more so. Oregonians have been practically giddy with joy lately, frolicking about outside as if Christmas came early (that is, if Christmas were 80 degrees and full of people wandering about in tank tops and short shorts.)

As for me, the sun this past week has completely woken me up. The long winter (despite the snowy days of skiing on Mt Hood, which were delightful) slowly hammered away at my resolve month after month. I've lived in hot, sunny climates all my life, so living in a city with overcast skies nine months of the year takes an emotional and physical toll on me. Don't get me wrong -- I love a good cold, rainy day, the kind that makes the air smell sweet and the world grow green around me. There are days when this is glorious.

But shut away the sun for months at a time and I slowly slip into melancholy doldrums. Work becomes tedious. I forget how to enjoy it. Days off feel few and far between. My active drive and productivity turn to lethargy. I sleep late and mope about the house. After a while it becomes habit, and I start to wonder,

is something wrong with me? Am I just tired of my job? I have no energy to do anything anymore... everything is exhausting.

I forgot what it was to have ambition, and wanderlust, and ideas. Everything becomes a gray mess, blurring together. I wish for change.

Soon it becomes routine, and I hardly notice the difference any more. People talk about "seasonal depression" and I just shrug and think it doesn't apply to me; this is just the way I am sometimes when work and life gets boring. It will pass when I find something more interesting to do with my time. But when?

And then I spent a week on the sunny East coast, and when I returned, there was sun in Portland. Sun. And blue skies. And warmth. And my mood suddenly lifted. It was like a shot of adrenaline that has been running through my blood stream for days -- I've been dancing around the house and listening to loud music with my car windows rolled down. I've been planning adventures, and dreaming of cookouts and lake houses and fireworks. I've been cleaning house with all the windows wide open, and remembering late night summer slumber parties, laughter with friends, the sound of wind chimes on the porch, and the smell of freshly cut grass. I've been craving bike rides and summer dresses and the deep, deep sleep of a body kissed by sunlight. I've been wondering why I forgot myself for so long.

It has been a long work week, but with one day off thrown in the mix we could barely resist the temptation to be outside. The usual oh, I don't know, maybe tomorrow's were drowned out by the sound of our bike tires squeaking as we threw them on the rack. And off we went, to north Portland where we rode 20 miles in the blazingly wonderful sun, chased Mt Hood into the horizon, and dreamed of the bigger life we would own someday.

We came home with sore asses and sunburns for our troubles, but it was well worth the happiness of today.