Cabin fever remedies

Cabin fever remedies

Barbara Lawlor
Gilpin County

You look out the window at the ceaseless sifting snow, piling on top of the dirty slushy snow that sits on top of melted, frozen, melted ice. It’s hard to walk. Especially when that powerful pushing force known as wind shrieks in your face and grabs your scarf, scatters the important papers in your hand to Nebraska.
Depression sets in, even anger, climbing on top of frustration. When will it be over?
It won’t be over until it’s over. Until then, it is time to become creative. Use winter, don’t abuse it, malign it. Get out and do something. Or go in and do something.
Last Saturday, the Gilpin County Recreation Center Cabin Fever days showed Gilpin County residents how to have a good time on a miserable day. Not only were there fun productive activities inside, the center provided snowshoes and took a bunch of couch potatoes onto the trails, highlighting the hidden beauty of bare branches against glistening snow, the blue shadows, the graceful drifts.
Inside, nine-year-old Kendal McBrayer of Gilpin County was fascinated with the movement of a loom, how it intertwined the strands of yarn, creating a whole piece. “This is my first time weaving,” she said. It was hard at first but now I know how.” And she went back to her work, under the guidance of Eva Wrobel, CSU Extension office assistant.
The Cabin Fever Days activities were sponsored by the CSU Extension program and snacks were provided by the Greater Rollinsville Community Association. The Center meeting room was filled with tables manned by volunteers who gave demonstrations and assisted folks in the various activities.
Gilpin County law enforcement officer Joel Anderle had a great time squeezing a plastic bag with a round form, wool, and soapy water in it. After many minutes of manipulation, he opened the bag to find a hard wooly ball that bounced higher than the original plastic. Even he was amazed.
At another table, children made snow masks, using cotton balls and fluffy and stringy and shiny things and their imagination. Tanner Anderle worked on his mask, grinning, knowing it was his birthday and he would score later.
Another table featured cranberry- and popcorn-stringing bird lovers, who probably ate more of the white cheddar kernels than they strung up.
In the far back classroom, a “how to get unlost” discussion fascinated a group of adults who seemed to have firsthand knowledge of that “Where am I?” feeling.
In the entrance lobby, Cindy Haxel, Bob Haxel and Jeff Wrobel played their string instruments and sang songs from the 70s. In the pool room a few people sat at the counter by the window and worked on their renderings of what they viewed outside. They were given a kit of watercolor pencils, acrylic paint, pastels, pens, a clipboard with a sheet of watercolor paper and told to express themselves. Instructor Damaris Methner told them to close their eyes and draw from their heart. Methner lives on the Los Lagos Ranch, is Emmit Hoyl’s aunt, and an art therapist in Boulder. The world slipped away as the artists fell into their work.
Gilpin resident Patti Unruh wrote a short poem that was incorporated into the painting. “Grasses poke, tumbling through a gooey layer/Chased by drifts of pure whiteness as thick columns of ice grew.”
No cabin fever to be found anywhere.
Downstairs, a Yoga class retreated into their bodies and minds as muscles stretched and breathing deepened. The friendly welcoming aroma of hot chocolate wafted through the halls and joined the overall ambience of relaxation and pleasurable thought.
There should probably be a Cabin Fever Days event every month of winter. But then, like our mountain summers, they wouldn’t mean anywhere near as much if they were an all-the-time thing.

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.

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