January makes me hopeful. There, I said it. Hope fills me during this often bleak, generally brutal, time of year for us. Let me explain.
The holidays are over. New Year champagne has been toasted, the bottles recycled. The deep cold of winter for those of us in the north has set in with biting temperatures, whipping winds, and long star-filled nights.
The nights can be glorious when they’re clear. The stars shine brighter, reflecting off snow made smooth with thin layers of ice that act like mirrors for star light.
As a child, I had more enthusiasm for snow days. Days when school was closed due to too many feet of snow or temperatures too cold to travel in safely. The first snow day still makes me smile. By the fourth, I’m over it.
By February, it’s no joke that, if it hits 20 degrees outside, Wisconsinites will be out en-masse: walking, snowmobiling, throwing frisbees while dressed in shorts (not me), or just playing because the weather allows for it.
Growing up in a place where the cycles of the year are clear, distinct, and vibrant impacts how I see this time of year. It’s easy to see rest and renewal when you’re surrounded by it. There’s a certain rhythm that just becomes a part of your psyche.
January is cold and dark here. The animals that can sleep through it do. Those that migrate are long since gone. This is the perfect time to look inside and contemplate what is to come.
I spend January winding down from Christmas, New Year’s, and Robert Burns celebrations. Robert Burns is the national poet of Scotland and his birthday is celebrated worldwide at the end of January. This year on this coming weekend. To the haggis!
I am thankful for being raised a Wisconsinite. It’s easy to live in concert with the seasons when they and their elemental rhythms are so in your face.
In this time of transition, as we shut the door on what was, and plan for what we want our year to be, I am hopeful that what is – the here and now – will be celebrated as well. The year gets away from us when we’re always looking one season ahead. Yes, we need to plan, but we also need to enjoy today.
Enjoy the snow if you have some, the longer evenings if you’re in the northern hemisphere, and the longer days if you’re down under. Play with enthusiasm when your working day is done. If you get a chance, don your shorts and play frisbee in the snow – it’s a hoot!
Blessings of the season to you all,