English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton could have used Dubuque tonight as the inspiration for an opening phrase in his 1830 novel Paul Clifford: “It was a dark and stormy night.”
At 50 degrees, it’s luckily too warm for snow, so we’re instead getting a steady, cold rain. It could be much worse for the 28th evening in November. Still, with the end of Daylight Saving Time a few weeks ago, it’s dark when I go to work in the morning and dark when I come home later in the day. And even though it happens every year, it leaves me wondering why humans don’t just hibernate in the winter, along with groundhogs, skunks, bees, snakes, bats and bears.
Life just isn’t fair.
And how do I know this? Because bears get most of the recognition for winter-long naps, but aren’t really hibernators, either. In the winter, Black bears, Grizzly bears and Brown bears go into a deep sleep known as torpor. The difference, as I understand it, is that bears can be awakened from their torpor, which my dictionary defines as “a state of not being active and having very little energy.”
I don’t know about you, but it almost seems as if a bear is looking back at me from the bathroom mirror first thing every morning. Sunday was a good example. I did a fair amount of stuff: Went to church, put up Christmas lights, did some blogging and writing, grocery shopping and laundry, paid bills and packed for my weekly drive back to Dubuque from Muscatine. But the whole time, I just wanted to curl up in bed with a book.
Maybe I can just blame Stephen King. I’ve been reading End of Watch, the third book in his Bill Hodges trilogy. Even though it’s been a challenge to put all three of the books down once I started reading them, that’s not really the problem. The problem is not seeing enough of the sun and enjoying too much turkey and all of the Thanksgiving fixings.
But Tuesday will be a new day and rain or shine, I’m going to break out of my torpor with a good hard ride on an indoor bike at the Y. It won’t be bright, but it will be early, so I’ll have to remind myself that spring is only 111 days away. And if I need a little more incentive, I’ll drink some joe while listening to my new theme song for winter: