Endless Summer Doldrums

I’ve never really been too fond of summer; heat, sun and beach days were never really my thing. I’m much more partial to the shorter, colder days of autumn and winter, where you can sit inside by the fire and stare out into the wind and rain, the falling leaves, and dark snow showers of the late winter months.

Since moving to New Jersey, however, summer has taken on a whole new level of nastiness, with humidity regularly in the 80%-90% range. If there’s one thing I hate more than excessive heat, it’s excessive humidity. Put the two together and I’m just downright miserable. I need it cold and dry.

The worst part is that when the weather feels stifling, so does life. I feel like the summer is dragging on, week after week and month after month of dull, humid unpleasantness, going nowhere fast. I haven’t been creative in months. I haven’t even written a blog post in months. On my days off, I find myself pottering around the house, bored and depressed, trying to think of things to do and realizing I don’t want to do any of them.

I can’t say that this is necessarily summer’s fault, exactly; I know I’ve felt like this at all times of the year. But there’s something about summer that just makes it worse. This dull, aching lethargy is intolerable, a kind of depression that isn’t quite depressed; a kind of misery that isn’t quite recognizable. It’s just an endless boredom, a lack of desire, a kind of … null that fills the void day after day. And when you find yourself drenched in sweat just sitting still, you start to wonder what the point of it all is.

When I get like this, I’m tempted to just go to sleep. I mean after all, if I’m going to waste the day away, I might as well get some rest out of it. Nothing’s worse than sitting on the couch, staring into space, mind agonizingly treading over meaningless gibberish at a mile an hour. But when I wake up, I feel even worse; tired, disconcerted, and wishing I’d done something productive with my time.

What even is ‘productive’? What does it mean? Life is so full of endless, repetitive and meaningless tasks that you could spend every waking moment busy, and still get nothing done. Is cooking dinner productive? Cleaning the kitchen? Watering the plants? All of these are things that need to be done, but are they productive? This kind of mental quagmire is something I find myself in frequently; regardless of whether I spend all day doing nothing or doing something, I still feel like I’ve accomplished nothing at the end of the day. The only things that really make me feel worthwhile are creative endeavors, and in this mindless funk, those become impossible.

These doldrums are endless, and the summer makes it worse. I see no end in sight to either. I can’t wait for fall, and I can’t wait to feel more like doing stuff. But even when the shorter, colder days come about, I worry, because autumn is usually when my outright depression worsens, and I can’t bring myself to even get out of bed.

Life is endless, too. Day after day of the same, going nowhere and getting nothing done, living each day just to see the next. I start to wonder what the point of it all is. I don’t exactly feel that I’d be better off dead, but I can’t quite see the point of living, either. What’s it all about? What’s it for? Who am I entertaining?

And even as I write this, I’m overcome with the desire to just sigh, forget it all, and go back to bed.

A sigh.

It sums up life better than anything, really. Just one big sigh.

And I won’t; or if I do, I won’t forever. As much as I’d like to.

Everything passes in time. The darkness passes … but then, so does the light. Like a zebra, I’m left to wonder if life is depression with bouts of happiness, or happiness with bouts of depression. Sometimes I think it only matters how it ends; only then can you really figure it all out. If I die depressed, then that’s really what life was for me. If I die happy, then … you get the point.

I don’t want to die, and I don’t want to live. I’m just stuck, somewhere in the middle of existing.

And the summer just won’t end.

Daily Photo: July 26, 2012

It was a dark and stormy night…spooky!

It was a dark and stormy night…spooky!

A summer storm cloud in New Jersey; it got dark very, very fast.

Camera: Nikon D90          ISO: 400          Focal Length: 18mm          Aperture: ƒ/4.8          Shutter Speed: 1/20

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Thought of the Week: The weather in Consolation is nicer than here.

This week’s Thought of the Week is already late as it is, and that’s mainly because I just don’t feel like I’ve had any thoughts this week. I had one, I think, just before the weekend, but I can’t remember what it was. I have a list just for these kinds of thoughts – the ones that would make a good Thought of the Week – but I forgot to write it down there, too. In fact, forgetting is a bit of a problem for me. No, I’ve been feeling utterly thoughtless, and not a bit tired; despite getting more sleep than usual, come 8:00 PM and I just need to collapse.

So what’s left to talk about, when there aren’t any other subjects of discussion? The weather, of course.

It’s been beastly here. I’ve spent the better part of my life in climes where 80°F is hot, and a cool breeze pervades on most days. I’m used to a bit of sun peeking through clouds, and lots and lots of rain. Instead, it’s been consistently 95+°F for the past week, with humidity somewhere in the 70% range. I suppose that’s the real killer – the heat I can stand, but the humidity destroys me. It sucks at my soul, I swear. Incessantly sweaty, sticky, muggy and lethargic, even the slightest exertion and I’m absolutely drenched, a sensation I despise. Now, I realize that it could be a lot worse and most of you will say I have no grounds to complain (especially those who live in such unfathomable regions of the world as Texas), but for me, this is intolerable.

They plant these in Cornwall because the English think it's the same as Spain.

They plant these in Cornwall because the English think it’s the same as Spain.

What’s curious is that, in attempting to escape such meteoric oppression, it turns out that I created a world whose weather is, for me, just right: Consolation. Consolation is the homeland of the protagonist of my book, The Redemption of Erâth. Now, I never thought about it until now, but Consolation reflects the kind of weather that I long for. Summers are filled with long, sunny days but not that hot, and the winters are crisp and clean, with just enough snow. Spring is fresh with the scent of flowers and pollen in the air, and autumn ends the year in the warmth of reds and oranges and golden trees. There is rain, but it isn’t humid. It’s a wonderfully dry country, even when it’s wet. A paradox that is only solved by one place in the world: England.

It’s not where I’m from, but it’s where I grew up, and the English weather is my home. The English complain bitterly about the weather, of course – mainly because it’s gray and cloudy and miserable most of the time (much like Consolation in its later years) – but they complain even more vociferously about everyone else’s, and so really those clouds are home, and no true Brit ever felt comfortable in Naples or San Diego, really. That’s why they all retire to Cornwall, where they can pretend an extra two days of sunshine (for a grand total of seven per year, of course) make it a Mediterranean climate and serves as an excuse to plant palm trees.

So I suppose all of this is for nothing, other than to say that without even thinking about it I created a world whose weather reflected my own personal tastes. I find that fascinating, because in all the time and effort I put into creating the world of Erâth, I never once considered why I had the weather be the way it was. I looks like I might have just been homesick.

Those of you who have created worlds (and those of you who can’t stand the weather of the world you’re in) – what is your ideal weather like?

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