12:30 on a school night

It’s windy, and I can’t sleep. Looking out the back door, the flag at the church a block away is blowing west hard enough that it looks like a school child’s drawing of a flag. My maternal grandmother hated the East wind. She told me as a child that a strong East wind blew a brick off of the chimney and it hit her. I thought at the time that was a funny reason to not like a particular subset of air movement, but whenever I notice that a strong East wind is blowing I think of that story now. There has always been something unsettling to me about wind out of the East, even before I was told that story. I don’t know what it is, maybe there’s a part of my subconscious that expects the general weather to move from the West and gets riled up if it encounters something contrary to its expectations.
It sounds like the random junk in the driveway is clattering around, which is funny because I’ve moved it all inside the garage. On Friday I even gathered up all the spare lumber from the build and moved it into a semi-organized pile near the back of the garage in expectation for this weeks storms, and I even managed to get a couple lengths of rain gutter hung up. It’s almost strange to look out the back and not see the big silver tarp looming over the back corner where the sheeting lay for almost a year. I really wanted to get more done before a lasting snowfall, but it looks like this may be it.
To be honest, though, this has never been a good time of the year for me. Not anything to do with the holidays in and of themselves, but from when the days start getting noticeably shorter the dark depression hangs over me. I often wonder if it’s as silly as being afraid of the East wind. Does it hit because I expect it to come with a sun that doesn’t rise very far above the horizon?
This year has even had an added bonus. The first cold and stormy day I found a pair of gloves in a hat and bundled up to go to work. Something in the combination of the extra outerwear and the snow took me back to the January before last when I was going for my chemotherapy every weekday, and for a few minutes I had a reaction just like I was back on the Interferon. They had told me that I needed to dress extra warm and take precautions so I didn’t get sick, because the chemo would have me weakened anyway, and if I got sick then my immune system would have to fight two battles, or something like that. Normally I don’t wear anything other than a coat, and in High School I even toughed it out a couple years in an unlined Levi jacket. Maybe it’s my way of saying that if it’s not winter, then I won’t get depressed.
Anyway, when I would go for the infusion I wore a nice coat that Jack gave me when he ungrew out of it. I’d also put on gloves, a hat and scarf. Something about the ritual of it every morning was comforting and unusual. Combined with the pain of the treatment and the cheerfulness and compassion of the Huntsmen Cancer Center staff it made a complex impression on me that I think is embedded in my already turbulent winter gestalt. There’s something really confusing about a feeling that makes your joints ache, your stomach fall and puts a happy smile on your face at the same time. But I hadn’t expected the feeling to hang on this long, and for some reason I don’t remember it happening last year.
And maybe that’s why sleep just won’t come right now. The East wind is blowing and I fear that somewhere out there lurks a brick with my name on it…