If Grumpy has been feeling even grumpier than usual lately, it wasn’t because the Crimson Tide turned Notre Dame into the Fussing Irish in the BCS championship game. (Man, that was a beat-down the like of which hasn’t been seen since Dr. Phil pummeled Dr. Laura on “The Biggest Loser.”) No, it’s that every morning when I rise, the world is pitch black. And then it pretty much stays that way. And I wanna know. Who stole the sun?
Astronomers tells us the Earth revolves around a bright, warm star approximately 93 million miles away that supplies the energy for life on our planet. I see no evidence of this. Day after day after day after day, it is dreary, gray, and wet outside. I think it is much more likely we circle around a giant mop. We just can’t see it because of the clouds.
Grayness Takes Its Toll
Now I know why Russians drink so much vodka, Icelanders jump into steaming volcanoes, and people from Wisconsin spend every night bowling. It’s the same affliction that makes Grumpy want to crawl back under the covers each morning and pretend he’s surfing on Mercury.
Appropriately enough, it’s a condition called SAD — Seasonal Affective Disorder. Lack of sunlight for an extended length of time makes people feel sad and depressed — the same feeling they get after they miss the latest episode of “Honey Boo Boo” on TV. Low light apparently suppresses the production of a chemical in the brain called serotonin that makes feel good. Treatments include therapy with light in the visible spectrum and the realization that Honey Boo’s Boo’s family is actually saving for her college education. Now, that’s funny!
Can Plants Get SAD?
Certainly, but not for the same reason. Decreased light slows photosynthesis, the process by which plants turn light energy into food. This is no big deal for dormant, deciduous plants, but others with leaves feel the effects. Flowering plants may stop blooming. Growth of foliage plants slows to a crawl. This is why Grumpy warns not to fertilize plants in the winter and go easy on the water. Save fertilizer and regular watering for when plants are actively growing and require both.
What Can You Do?
It’s very simple. Bring back the sun you stole. Millions of sad people are waiting.