I was born in January, so I’ve always been partial to the month. I feel an instant kinship to anyone I meet who was born in January. We who came forth in this dark, cold month with no warm breezes to kiss our baby cheeks, no shady trees under which to place us as we slept.
I know someone who despises this month, feeling it to be the most depressing time of the year. I don’t know how you can like this month, he says. Everything is dead, the old year has ended, it’s cold, dark and dreary.
No, I tell him, during what has become a winter ritual for us – my blessing of the season. Everything is not dead – you just aren’t able to see the changes in nature, because they are literally beneath the surface. It is a time of rest, nature reserving her energy that will be needed when spring bursts forth.
I love the bareness of the trees; I can see their “bones.” I have views in January that I don’t have the rest of the year; layers and depth that will disappear as spring’s buds appear.
I make a point to pay attention – part of my attempt to “go slow.” I notice that even my daily commute looks different. I can now see buildings that will soon be obscured by leaves of trees.
Last night as I was turning off a light, I glanced out the window and saw a glowing half moon through the bare tree branches. I stood and watched it as it slowly rose in the sky. Had it been summer I would not have been able to watch the moon for as long as I did, because the tree leaves would have hidden it.
Nature’s accessories of green leaves, blue hyacinth blossoms, and pink tulips are much appreciated. But so are the bones on which nature grows.
I use this time to appreciate and reflect on the year that’s closed. The good times and the challenging times that grew me. I open my new calendar and marvel at the new start – empty pages that I will fill with my life.
January causes us to go inside – it’s cold for most of us, so we spend the majority of our time indoors, maybe around fireplaces, with hot chocolate and marshmallows, or illuminating the long evening with tea lights and candles.
January also is a month of introspection for me. January is named after the Roman god, Janus, his face looking both backward at the year ended and forward to the new year. He was invoked at the start of any action – the god of gateways and journeys.
I review the previous year with gratitude, even those challenges and scary times that had me in MRI machines. And I open myself up to the limitless possibilities of the new year.
I appreciate the month of January and the season of winter. We’re now experiencing some of the coldest weather in the past few years. People grumble. What do you expect, I think, it’s January! Don’t wish for warmer weather, don’t rush the season away so that you can leap into spring and then summer. Live in January. It’s a good month.
How will you appreciate something that has an outward appearance being uncomfortable (the cold), or ugly and bare, or barren? How can you “go slow,” even for a few minutes, to see something you might have missed by hurrying by? How many gateways will you walk through this year? I’d love to hear from you. Happy January.