December, or perhaps more precisely, winter seems to me the time for melancholy. A time when a peculiarity of the cold forces open an invisible pinhole deep within. When something about the cant of the light, that tepid, raw sunlight of the late afternoon that sinks you deeper into you. When you reach out... for something - anything. The air, getting drier with every breath, crackles with yearning, a longing always only beyond reach and sight. And then you burrow further into yourself and smile.
Winter is a time of wistfulness, of discontent. It brings forward the shortcomings of the past and makes me desire better; more, as it were. My need for something higher is only intensified in the winter but more often than not... the yearning is entirely unidentifiable. I don't know why the soul feels so fragmented or what more it desires. One would think that I dislike this feeling, this disjunction. But somewhere from these random shards emerges a cut, a line... which brings a seeping... spreading... ubiquitous... joy.
(Don't you think joy is much more a happy word than happiness/happy. Something about the way it rolls and trickles into the crevices of your mouth, perhaps.)
There is a loneness, an individuality about the winter which other seasons do not allow you. The monsoon is, in my experience, so much a shared exercise. A game of monopoly, in the dark of a murmuring late afternoon; numberless cups of chai (tea) in smoke circles; walking out in the rain to find that one man selling bhutta (corn on the cob) - and everyone feeling entirely pleased with themselves. But it is only in the winter, in its incisive isolation, that you can truly belong to and indeed, dwell in, yourself. And strangely, its melancholy beseeches understanding but forbids sharing. How do you share something that you don't quite understand?
In a different vein, I also think the melancholy of winter accentuates the appreciation of beauty - in every way definable - and I've always wondered, in the most satisfyingly circular manner: am I truly more vulnerable now or am I merely over-reacting, surrendering to the hyperbole I am usually so inclined to?
There is this lovely, lovely song by a young Algerian singer, Souad Massi, that's been making me feel so deliciously blue. The song is called Deb - which means heart-broken - and is the title track of her second album.
You can find a brief artist profile here and an interesting review of the album here. Should you want to hear the song, you can download it here. Please let me know what you thought - and this means you, all you lurkers who refuse to speak though each post asks you to - indeed you, who I should like very much to get to know. :-)
One last thought. Not mine but Camus'.
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.