The answer to that question, it turns out (with all due apologies to Percy Shelley), is "No. Not really." At least, it doesn't seem that way in the dead zone at the end of January and the beginning of February, when it seems like it's been winter forever and spring is still two months away. For several weeks now I've been feeling generally blah: my excitement about the first snowfall of the season faded gradually into "Oh, for the love of little green apples, it's snowing AGAIN?", my mood soured to crankiness over the perpetual slush and the skyrocketing heating bills, and I've been uninclined to blog or write or read or do much of anything entertaining in my spare time.
It took me until recently to realize that the season was getting to me, less severely than it used to in Ann Arbor (where someone once described the winter as "a sunless horror, devoid of joy or hope"), but still. I pondered investing in one of those full-spectrum lightboxes. I wondered if I should have spent more of the winter break somewhere warmer and sunnier.
And then I went for a walk, and realized that what I needed was the exercise. Before the snows set in, I'd been walking home from work most evenings. My walk home is a little over a mile and a half, and while it's not the most scenic walk ever, I vastly prefer to get my exercise that way than on a treadmill in a gym. We had several successive heavy snowfalls that made part of my walking route impassable, thanks to the city's policy of not bothering to clear snow from sidewalks where there aren't any houses and plowing snow onto the sidewalks in some places. So I've been taking the bus home instead of walking, and feeling lethargic and out of shape.
But yesterday, with most of last week's snow gone and only an inch or two newly falling, I walked home for the first time in weeks, and felt better for it; I stopped thinking of the snow as a nuisance and started finding it beautiful again. I walked home again today, listening to the Digital Campus podcast, and on the way I had a train of thought about teaching and the construction of knowledge that might end up leading somewhere very interesting. The podcast sparked the train of thought, but so did being in motion, breathing in the cold air and feeling it circulate through my bloodstream.
I think on, and with, my feet, and I think I always have. I knew this already, but it's helpful to have further evidence.