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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Winter Doldrums


It’s February in the Northeast section of the country, and it’s cold. Surprise! But this isn’t the usual cold. It’s real cold. Freezing cold. Below freezing cold. Way below freezing cold. Wind chills below zero cold. Did I mention that it was cold?

Not only is it cold, but it’s also dark most of the time. The days are relatively short. It gets dark early, and it stays dark in the morning hours. Cold and dark. That is what the “winter doldrums” are all about.

We are in mid-winter, which began just before Christmas and won’t officially end until March 21st. So batten down the hatches, fire up the furnace, keep the long johns at the ready. We still technically have another five to six weeks more of this stuff, folks.

About a month ago I returned to a work schedule which has me on a steady “Last Out” shift with the Philadelphia Police Department. This means that I work from approximately 11pm until 7am each day. This schedule puts me in the large, but still minority, group of folks who are actually out and about to see the worst of the doldrums period.

While those of you “normal” people are home tucked snug under the blankets, cuddled up with that special someone, snoring away, dreaming sweet dreams, we are out on the streets. There is nothing that points out that it is mid-winter so much as being on the streets of a big city at 3am on a mid-week night in early February when the wind chills are below zero.

So what do we have to keep us entertained, to keep our minds and our lives focused on something other than just how cold and dark it is at this time of year? Let’s take a look at some of the many events that get us through this time of year, when Christmas is far back in the rear view mirror and Easter is not even on the horizon.