I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil–to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society. I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make an emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization: the minister and the school committee and every one of you will take care of that (“Walking” Henry David Thoreau).
There is little dispute that sleep is too often hard to come by. Crazy busy schedules, out of control stresses, and troublesome future worries all keep a restful night’s sleep at bay. As a result chronic insomnia is not as isolated an experience as one might hope despite our finest pillow-top.
- People today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago.
- More than 30% of the population suffers from insomnia.
- One in three people suffer from some form of insomnia during their lifetime.
- More than half of Americans lose sleep due to stress and/or anxiety.
- Between 40% and 60% of people over the age of 60 suffer from insomnia.
- Women are up to twice as likely to suffer from insomnia than men.
- Approximately 35% of insomniacs have a family history of insomnia.
- 90% of people who suffer from depression also experience insomnia.
- Approximately 10 million people in the U.S. use prescription sleep aids.
Vermont is one of 27 landlocked states in the US but surprisingly wild saltwater fish is on the menu in most restaurants. It’s often on our home menu too. This is because in the Northeast, fresh fish is driven overnight from Boston harbor and arrives in our neighborhood seafood market the very next day. Next to the trout caught in any of our plentiful local waterways, this is as fresh as seafood gets, and it’s always lovely. Come mid-winter I often crave a meal that tastes like summer, light yet hearty, something with tomato, something with a bite, something like a fish stew. The following is a recipe concocted by my dearest chef, the Savvy Skillet and it’s guaranteed to satisfy everyone around your table.
2015: a futuristic year we never believed would ever come. We leap forward without a flying car but with plenty of techie gadgets to wow our past selves. So much so that one might ask, with our growing adoration for all things shiny and digital, what’s the global appeal of the 1920’s British period drama “Downton Abbey“? Perhaps paradoxically, as we steamroll further into FaceTime and shared Google Docs, we pine for handwritten letters carried into our drawing room on a footman’s silver tray. Secretly we question if the future always portends undesirable change. Downton’s loyal butler, Carson, likens the shifts in his era to the ground shaking under his feet and longs for an earlier stability. We too romanticize our past, including that of the Edwardians of Downton Abbey and in the case of myself and several hundred ticket holders, this shared obsession is manifested at a wonderful gala, a night to live out our fantasy of days long past in costume.
As 2015 stands in the doorway I reflect back on all that brought me here: we can’t change the past nor can we know what lies ahead, we can only determine how to live within this moment. In private I will review my shortcomings, but in this post I’ll relive the highlights, each memory bringing joy into my heart and soul, each worth a remembrance on the sweet possibilities gifted each day.
“Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
Snow arrived to blanket my mountainous Vermont world, and if winter follows tradition, all will stay covered until April. So what to do while a chill blows and daylight flits by in a flash? Keep your chin up and your looks fresh. Embrace the garb of the season. Toss a red scarf around your neck, a brighter hue on your lips, and head outside to revel in all nature brings your way.