It’s finally here. Whether you’ve been anticipating it or dreading it, there is snow on the ground in Winnipeg. Wednesday morning, I watched out my apartment window as the rain gradually transformed into fluffy white flakes.
Winter might not officially start until Dec. 21, but Manitobans know that date is as arbitrary as an expiration date on a bottle of water.
It’s also a time of year that has a tendency to wreak a certain degree of havoc on many locals’ mental health, mine included. The combination of Daylight Savings Time adjustments, an earlier sunset and less opportunities for sunlight can often mean a decline in general well-being and an increase in symptoms of anxiety, depression and sleep problems.
One of the most important ways to combat winter sadness is by taking part in communal events and reducing isolation. That can be tough during COVID, but there are little ways to make it happen. I’ve been trying to go see a movie every week or two, and being in a packed (by pandemic standards) theatre laughing along with a hundred other masked people to The French Dispatch or feeling the electric charge of suspense in the air during Dune was a vibe I’ve missed for the last two years.
This week’s cover feature by features reporter Keesha Harewood explores the specifics and artistry of Black hair and braiding, but it’s also a story about community, about the group experience of visiting a salon and sharing learned practices and ancient culture. It reminds me of being around my Baba and the ladies from her church making perogies, or singing along at a punk show as a teenager.
As the temperature drops and the snowdrifts become permanent fixtures until spring, remember to carve out time with others. Go get your hair done. It’ll do you good.
Published in Volume 76, Number 09 of The Uniter (November 12, 2021)