The sun, coming through my sunroom windows in my New Jersey Home.
Thank goodness for the sun. Almost as magical as watching the snowfall is that of the brilliance, when the sun returns to make driving safe and to brighten spirits that had begun to succumb to the blueness of snow.
While I was living in New Jersey, my sunroom was more than a decorative accessory–it was my antidote for seasonal depression.
I am an avid gardener. You might say that I garden with a vengeance–a vengeance against the depression and the blahs that I experience when I am not gardening. I am sure there are many reasons that gardening is essential for me. Following are a few of those reasons:
- Visual Relief: Through gardening, I create flowers, blossoms, and other things that are beautiful to me. The beauty stimulates me and lifts my spirit.
- Gardening Offers A Reason to Greet Each Day: When I am gardening, I awaken, thinking about where my seeds and/or plants were yesterday and wondering what the alchemy of growth has done for them. Instead of dragging myself out of bed, I literally bolt into the new day.
- Through Gardening, I Become Part of Nature’s Life Force: When my plants grow, I grow, too. There is an expression: “When a tree stops growing, it has died.” The same thing is true of me.
- Spirituality: My garden provides me with a Walden Pond-like spirituality–a oneness with nature–an affirmative alignment with my world. In a CNN article, UrbanGreenwork’s James Jiler commented on this more ethereal value of gardening: “A lot of people [understand] that experience. They may not be able to put it into words, but they understand what’s happening.” – James Jiler
- Exercise: I hate all other types of exercise; but I actually love working feverishly in my garden. Exercise releases endorphins that are known for their capacity to relieve depression.
- Sunshine: Sunshine is another way to beat the blahs. Sunshine provides vitamins that are necessary for a sense of well-being; but I believe that Sunshine has an even greater power. Since God gave the world light to defeat darkness, it has become essential to us.
In short, gardening is a type of therapy that is vital for my being, but during the winter, my lack of gardening can become depressing.
For me, my sunroom and my activity in my sunroom help fill the void that occurs during winter–when I cannot get outside and garden.
Visual Relief: I always have something blooming in my sunroom; and from those blooms, I experience Beauty.
My Sunroom Offers A Reason to Greet Each Day: Although not quite as effective as gardening, my sunroom is the first place that I go in the mornings. While the water is heating for my coffee, I run down, just to see what the new day has brought. Then, I return for my coffee, which I bring down to sip, while I enjoy the Bird Show and whatever else is happening outside the windows.
Through My Sunroom, I Become Part of Nature’s Life Force: My sunroom is filled with plants–houseplants and orchids. As I watch these plants grow and evolve, I also grow. At the end of my sunroom, just beyond the curtains, I have a greenhouse, where I start seedlings. That provides me with even more opportunity to experience Nature in action.
Spirituality: My sunroom provides me with a bit of the Walden Pond-like spirituality that I find in my garden; but through the windows of my sunroom, I experience even more.
“The eyes are the windows to your soul” – Shakespeare
When the eyes have nothing more than walls to look at, the soul is starved.
The windows of my sunroom are the outlet through which my eyes can feed my soul.
Exercise: In my sunroom, I have routine garden tasks. While these tasks do not provide me with the same kind of exercise that I get from digging and raking outside, they do require action; and as I get older, I realize that action, in itself, is healing. It is certainly better than lying around, waiting for the winter months to pass.
Sunshine: No doubt, sunrooms were named because of their capacities to offer more sun than the regular rooms of the house.
My sunroom provides me with the beauty of flowers; the growth of plants; activity; and the healing sun.
When I moved to the Northeast, an area that is treacherous for people who experience seasonal depression, there was a large screened porch along the back of the house. The porch was nice during the pleasant months; but during the winter, it seemed to separate me from my yard. I decided to turn the porch wall into a wall of windows. Especially during the winter months, I sat immediately next to the windows, where I felt that I could almost touch the winter air.
I currently live in the Ozark Mountains, and while the winters are not as brutal here as those were in New Jersey, the cold is pretty bad here, too. I only recently moved into my 125-year-old house in the Ozarks, and fortunately, this house already had a bit of a sunroom, but it is consumed by my need for a breakfast room and a studio.
I have already begun dreaming of my adding a greenhouse, where I’ll definitely have a plants-only living spot where I can enjoy my flowers even during the winter,