Local Flavor: Blues Season, Take Your Vitamin D

Winter in Vermont switches to "axe-murdering season" in February. That's when everyone goes stir-crazy and gets into disputes with the folks they're living with. Not everyone, but it's definitely the time of year for depressive souls to ramp-up those depressive qualities. It's the lonely, dark, and bitter part of the winter, usually -- and the bit where the damp-chill sets in as the days slightly warm with some melting and the nights get harsh as if to taunt us for being hopeful.

Coming out of a year of Corona-bemoana on top of this typical seasonal shift has made friends and acquaintances even more strung-out this year. No, folks, you're not alone. My secondary "flock" is providing the talking cure while people await repairs in the shop or browse the antiques. Everyone is going nuts this year. Don't be too hard on yourselves if you are.

Heck, I'm susceptible, too. I'd been getting a little irritable, lately, because it was soooo grey and soooo chill and I think having to "put a tough face on" for a year with all this pandemic claustrophobia while trying to pretend nothing had changed was finally wearing me just a bit too thin. I don't think I'll ever be not busy and my mind has a way of piling-up all the need-to-dos in the back of my mind just like the snow outside. Eventually you step in it up to your crotch!

Anyhow, long story short: Bonnie said, "have you taken any Vitamin D lately?" Erp, nope! "Well, duh. Of course you're getting cranky." Lesson learned: if you're a human and sunlight is not abundant where you live, you must make it artificially. It sure makes you wonder if the whole "going viking" thing was really about, as they call it in Ronja the Robber's Daughter, getting rid of "the stench of winter."

Funny note: we're all watching various Star Trek reruns from the '90s and early 2000s. Bonnie and I are going through Deep Space Nine and I've talked to more than a dozen other people who are in the same boat with various iterations of the franchise. I'm guessing we all want several things: escape, fantasy, hope, and morality tales that wind-up without bad guys winning?

News note: did anyone catch that latest bit where corporations are being invited to set-up their own local governments in Nevada provided they have the scratch? Anyone else read Oryx & Crake? Yikes.

Sad note: another of our jam group members passed away the other night. He was one of the kindest fellas I've ever met and helped to fill a room with his presence. It was fast and a little surprising -- a stray infection in the heart -- and we're all mourning in our own ways. It never becomes real for me until the next jam group comes around and another face is missing.

I think the most frustrating thing about the whole business of this last year is all of the time that's been robbed from us. I don't mean "productive" time. I mean time with friends, family, loved-ones, you name it. We are all low on "what makes life worth living" memory reserves -- and they only fill-up when that sort of time is spent.

It's taken a few friends to some dark places, recently, too. Please don't go there. Just reach out, please, to anyone you suspect of caring about you. We do care. It's been hard for us all to share and show it, though, over the constant struggle of the everyday.

All of those in-person "littles" of the chat in the parking-lot, the debate over coffee at the gas station, the rumor mills grinding bones, the ironic jokes tossed like happiness grenades to one another at the hardware... this sort of stuff... it's all either lost or squished into truncated, sped-up cut-scenes. It will come back at some point, but those "littles" are often what keeps the bounce in our steps from turning into a clunk.

I'm happy to say that some of the "club house" culture still lingers in the store even though it's much-reduced compared to normal times. Musicians gather here in ones and twos and sprout some new sanity among themselves. It helps me, too.

Keep doing that sort of stuff everywhere. We all need it.


Michael Mulkern said…
Another great post, Jake. You have a wonderful way of expressing what many of us think and feel about C-19. Stay positive and keep doing what you love to do. In the timeless words of the quiet Beatle, "It's not always going to be this gray."
daverepair said…
Hear, hear, Jake, good words well written. Thanks.
7LiveFree7 said…
Vitamin D. Yes, definitely.
Brad Smith said…
Took some Vitamin D, got out the StewMac Preservation polish and caressed the beautiful parlors and archtops you have worked on. The Winter blues faded into that rosewood grain.
Rob Gardner said…
Keep smiling, Jake, mud season will soon be here. And this is the year you did that Gretsch resurrection for me and that big orange guitar has been a blessing in the dark of winter. Vic and Dick and I are in the process of getting our vaccines and I think we might be getting together for some electric music when we are all in the clear. Very nice post, keep up the writing and the photography.