Share this post

Time with friends and family can defeat winter blues

Sometimes as autumn falls deeper into itself, my spirit dips also. Those glorious days of Indian summer are now a distant memory and what remain are the bare bones of nature.

That first frost kills. And from one day to the next, everything has changed. I feel the loss of green things and as I walk through the woods, I smell the earthiness of fallen leaves, the rotting of what is left. It leaves me with the painful reminders of what I have lost.

I find a big bag of giant daffodil bulbs at the store and after planting some in my yard, I take a trip to the cemetery with my mother to visit my father’s grave and plant a few there. Suddenly memories surface. Has it really been four years since you left, Papa?

I know those bulbs, though dormant now and seemingly dead, will flower in the spring. This, then, is the other reminder: that life is a cycle of living and dying. What is now a loss will also be a gain. My father will not come back but I am alive and what he taught me continues to guide me.

So as winter continues its inevitable progression, as the dark takes hold and the cold descends, I cling to that hope, that nature will come back to life. Meantime, I will hibernate and reflect upon my life so when spring comes around, I will be ready to seize the day.

I also think about what I can do to make the days lighter and brighter. I get out daily for a walk in the daylight to keep my spirit bright. I make food that feeds both my body and my spirit to keep me balanced. I keep my hands active so my mind does not get stuck in the winter doldrums. Spending time with good friends and family also warms my heart.

So I am prepared for the onslaught. I even look forward to it. And as I go about here and there, I try to treasure these short days and long nights. And when spring reappears, I will face it with renewed energy.

One of my go-to recipes with the holidays right around the corner is this one, from my mother-in-law. Made with sweet potatoes, they are full of vitamins A and C, good immunity boosters, and sure to lift your mood.

Sweet Potato Croquettes
Serves 8


  • 5 large sweet potatoes (use the yellow skinned ones if you can find them because they are less watery)
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups cracker crumbs
  • some olive oil


  1. Cook the sweet potatoes until soft. Peel, then mash with the butter and salt and pepper.
  2. Drop in spoonfuls on a cookie sheet. Let cool. Shape into croquettes. Dip in egg, then crumbs. Refrigerate for several hours.
  3. Fry in olive oil on all sides until brown.

Type and hit enter