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Brighter Days Ahead (literally!)


Not shown: Dog crossing legs

I love snow. And I know that’s a super unpopular opinion right now.


Sure, I hate shoveling snow. And I hate sleet, slush, ice. It’s no fun worrying about your out-of-cycle furnace and whether the 88th time it kicked on this season was it’s last.


And when it shows up in unexpected (or criminally unprepared) places it’s an absolute fucking nightmare.


But it’s pretty, and it’s calm. And if all your joints are sound it’s super fun to play in.


I love the way our dog Bailey bounds in it.


The loud echoey crunch as you trek through a fresh few inches on a cool winter morning.


It (almost) makes it worth it being cold/dark AF outside in that moment.


Snow and Christmas are kind of the ‘bright sides’ of winter. But winter is a long, dark time. Literally, with days fetching sometimes just 6 hours of sunlight. Figuratively too, with feelings of isolation exacerbated in the current pandemic. but Seasonal Affective Disorders are real and particularly insidious.


(I remember thinking when we were vacationing in late May in SOUTHERN Alaska when the sun was still ‘setting’ at 11:15 p.m. that I would absolutely not be able to live in an area where the sun sets and stays set for 30 DAYS… Also DEFINITELY go to Alaska before climate change ruins the glacier formations)


As social interactions are restricted/limited and commiseration becomes a dangerous gamble, things have felt like they’ve been dragging on. Because they have.


But hey, even in the darkest moments it's important to exercise gratitude.


In the wise and immortal words of Pete Seeger (and I guess technically Ecclesiastes) “To everything turn, turn, turn”. I know the word seasons is in there but I think he’s talking about more abstract cycles of birth/death, conservation of energy, the infinite expanse, etc… I digress (and more on that in another blog) but winter isn’t forever, is the point I was going for.


The snow banks can’t pile up forever. The icicles WILL fall. The sun will start peeking through the bedroom drapes a little earlier. Kelly called the other day on her way home from work, elated that the sun was still out as she walked out to her car.


It's getting warmer. Soon a socially distant outdoor activity is much more plausible.


Obviously anticipating the coming thaw isn’t the only sign of brighter days.


I am grateful that both my mom and my wife have received their second dose of the Covid vaccination. I am grateful to read that the U.S. should have enough doses to vaccinate everyone by September. It’s honestly substantially faster than I feared.

I am grateful to see daily covid case numbers going down across the board. For whatever reasons (change of administration, change of attitude, environmental factors) things seem to be trending in the right direction (for now).


I am grateful there’s less noise in the media. Last week I read a “Trump reaction” article but realized I literally haven’t seen a word from him in weeks, which is damned refreshing. (A study pointed out disinformation on Twitter decreased 80% when Trump was banned. No doubt silencing him is a very complex issue with no easy answers… more on that in other blog posts)

I am somewhat reassured that our government is still a functioning one, even though the administrative transition (and the condition the previous administration left our government) was as terrible as everyone worried it would be. A ton of work to do. But funny that, shit is actually working again.


I am grateful for the freedom I've had and the inspiration I've felt to create that came with my unanticipated extended unemployment.


I am grateful to be surviving and maybe even thriving through one of the strangest and most chaotic periods of my life to date.


I’d also like to acknowledge my gratitude for all your efforts. If you’re reading this, you made it (or you’re an alien nerd looking through DEEP CUTS of the human record). We will continue to make it. The last year has been hard. It’s sucked sometimes. But we did it y’all, so far...


Photo Credit: R. McKee Comics

So there’s good news and there’s bad news….


This won’t be the last global pandemic. This won’t be the last attempt foreign or domestic to destabilize our country. This won’t be the last time we distrust what’s in the hearts of our own family and neighbors as we grapple together with challenges foreign and domestic.


People in our society still need to fight for their fundamental right to exist in their own skin.


People will probably never see eye to eye on some fundamental social, environmental, geopolitical, or cultural issues.


But yo. Our healthcare workers showed out, and almost no hospital systems collapsed under the strain of a pandemic (they certainly could have).


Our ‘essential’ employees (aka anyone working for an employer that did not care about your safety/health) dutifully risked their health and sometimes their lives supporting the parts of our economy that ticked along.


Our current government has dramatically committed to taking action on helping salve the wounds perpetrated by previous administrative indifference and inaction (and in some cases active malice/destruction).


My mom kept telling me to be optimistic, and in the darkest days of winter I couldn’t really see any light at all. But the rays are starting to shine through, and I am hoping to expound on the growth and bloom of spring soon! I am seeing sunlight.

(reflecting off 3 feet of snow, but still).

Thanks so much for reading! Best,

Doc Wattson

Native Stranger



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