Thriving Through "The Big Dark"
Kevin Tower, Middle School Faculty

The holiday season is truly a special time at Forest Ridge. Lights sparkle and shine throughout campus, the Christmas tree in the Commons is decorated with care, and, if you listen carefully, you might just hear the high notes of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” The holiday spirit and décor seem to cut through our dark and drizzly climate. We wear the holidays like coat of armor against our drab Pacific Northwest winter weather. 

But what happens when those twinkle lights are returned to their boxes, the tree is removed, and the holiday vibes fade away?

At about 47 degrees latitude, Seattle has one of the most extreme dark seasons in the continental United States. Weather experts have tokened the expression “The Big Dark” to name the period between October and March because of our unusually gray weather. January and February can be especially challenging. The holidays are over and yet the flowers and sunshine of spring still feel like a lifetime away. What will sustain our students, staff, and Forest Ridge community through the rest of winter? 

Chakell Wardeleigh of has several recommendations that I would like to share with the community (with a Forest Ridge twist). 

  • Keep a gratitude journal – This could be a perfect warm-up activity for English class! Gratitude can improve your mood, self-esteem, and help provide a general sense of positivity. 
  • Go outside – Bundle up! Go on a short walk around campus and appreciate the beauty of nature. You may spot an eagle; if not, you are sure to spot a few Ravens! 
  • Treat yourself – Chef Ron and his team do a fantastic job of keeping the FRidge filled to the brim with delicious food and treats throughout the day. 
  • Surround yourself with good people – This is an easy one! The Forest Ridge community is fantastic. Spend time with the people that bring you joy and feed off the energy of others. 

Remember, we are marching through “The Big Dark” together as a community, not alone. Use these tips to brighten your day and spread some cheer around campus!