My outdoor pursuits definitely take a hit come winter. I still go for daily walks, although the last few days have been so cold my dog won’t go with me. There finally is enough ice on the river for me to go ice fishing, but I now need the weather to warm up to about 30° before sitting outside on a bucket strikes me as fun. A friend asked me to go cross-country skiing with him, but it’s been so long since I skied that I now have to climb up into the rafters of my garage to see if my cross-country gear is in working order. 

Cabin fever came a little sooner than usual this year. COVID might be a contributing factor. Since I attended the Packer game along with 77,000 unmasked Packer fans, I have somewhat sequestered myself. This increases the sense of being trapped in my own house. I did bring one of my bicycles indoors and attached it to the device that turns my street bike into a stationary bike. I ventured to the supermarket to restock my junk food supply, and I also went to the library for a fresh supply of popular fiction. In addition to picking up several authors I’ve never read before, I found a Lee Child and a James Lee Burke that I’d somehow missed when they first came out. 

The only time I left town since Christmas was to attend my cousin’s funeral in northern Wisconsin. A funeral of a friend does not pull anyone out of a funk. The highlight of the trip was making it home without sliding into a ditch on an icy backroad. 

Although it is counterintuitive, having my wife with me has made the doldrums more difficult. The coldest months in Wisconsin coincide with Chinese New Year, so Manyu usually spends January and February visiting family in Taiwan. This year, due Taiwanese COVID restrictions, she stayed in La Crosse. The dead of winter overwhelms her, and her winter blahs intensify my own. 

I, like everyone else I know, look for signs of spring before they even exist. We notice it gets dark at 4:45 instead of 4:30. We google annual weather charts to confirm late January is the coldest time of the year, so we are only two weeks away from when the days start warming up. I did trim my beard yesterday. Even if I’ve become a hermit, I shouldn’t see one every time I look in the mirror. What am I to write about in my weekly blog when nothing interesting happens?

Steven Simpson