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10 December 2006 @ 11:08 am
enjoying winter  
We're approaching the shortest days and longest nights of the year, and this time makes me lethargic and depressed if I don't do things to prevent this.

Light and exercise must both be part of the therapy or it doesn't help.
This is why I am beginning to enjoy winter hiking so much.

I've discovered that on sunny winter days like yesterday and today, the ideal hike is in the afternoon along the eastern shore of a large lake.

My garage is only about eight miles from Hueston Woods State Park where Acton Lake has a long continuous eastern shore with the lodge at the middle.

If I hike close to the water, there are no trees between the sun and me and there is also the bright mirror of the lake surface. So, it's not just beautiful, but also a hike that maximizes exposure to the daylight before it disappears about 5:30.

Yesterday, I bought some essentials down in Oxford and got to know the town better. It is just a few miles beyond Hueston Woods. It's just big enough to have everything I would ever need to buy, with the added bonus that I don't have to go to sprawl stores out along a highway on the edge of town. However, the bustling downtown is deceiving. Its 4-block length has some great bookstores, hotels, barbers, the public library and some banks and clothing stores. But, 90 percent of it is bars and restaurants. This makes sense though, because it is a university town.

Yesterday, it was 3:30 before I got from Oxford to Hueston Woods to hike until the sun went down.
I parked at the lodge, went in and got a cup of coffee, then sat by the huge windows overlooking the lake while I studied my little map and planned a hike. This is obviously a place where students come to study, because most of the other people sitting in the huge room had textbooks and notebooks and laptops.

I am going back there now (Sunday morning), because I enjoyed it yesterday so much but got to the lake too late to hike very far.

I'll be able to get enough light and exercise to counterbalance the melatonin that will build up in my body when the 14-hour night begins. How I am when I awake is the key. That is the moment when melatonin is maximum. If I'm fine on awakening, I am always fine all day.