I’m staring out the window on a Sunday morning at a beautiful sunrise. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful sunrises and this one isn’t really moving me, because it’s the last week in January and the temperature is negative ten degrees.
January is the heaviest month. I’m ready for it to be over.
I’m not just talking about that eggnog issue during the Christmas season. As far as I’m concerned, anything you do while wearing a Santa sweater is none of my business. I do not judge.
It’s also not just that it’s cold and dark. After all, daylight lasts over an hour longer at the end of January than it did on December 21. An extra half hour of daylight in the morning and evening – that’s enough to inspire cartwheels.
Or maybe not.
There’s just so much heaviness to contend with in January. It may be a whole new year, but it feels a lot like the previous one. We have a bunch of newly elected officials, but I have to say, I’m not seeing a marked improvement from the previous bunch. In addition, my mailbox is starting to fill up with W2s, 1099s and all that other tax stuff. Because life is complicated, our income tax return is about sixty pages long. Back in the day, that meant a card table covered with layers of receipts and about fifteen feet of adding machine tape curled around my feet. Technology has changed the tax season from a four-day ordeal to a one-day annoyance, but until it’s done, the process dims the sun a little bit all by itself, adds a little weight to the world.
In an effort to not think about Washington DC and all those other distractions, I walked from the east side of the house to the west, hoping for some improvement in the view. No luck - white and brown pretty much dominated. This morning I did a doubletake because I’ve looked out one particular window about a million times and I saw three brown lumps that weren’t there the day before. A closer look showed three pheasants miserably squatting in snow up to their bony fetlocks. Their body language definitely conveyed that they were wondering about openings for free range pheasants in Barbados.
I know the feeling.
The pheasants were in a tough spot – I don’t even know if pheasants can get passports. On the other hand, what was holding me back? I don’t know what the pheasant job market looks like in Barbados, but I’m pretty sure they have internet there, which is all I really need to do my job. Granted, I look considerably better with frostbite than I do with sunburn but I’m willing to make significant sunscreen investments. Just think what I would save in ice melt.
I turned away from the shivering pheasants, made myself a cup of tea and put two leftover crepes in the microwave for breakfast. What with the wonders of the internet, we don’t get as many seed catalogs as we used to, but there’d been one in the mailbox the day before. I don’t know anything about flowers, but the snappy purple things on the cover looked like springtime to me.
The cold drafts around my shins ensured that I didn’t linger in my robe. I was dressed for my day before the sun was all the way over the horizon. I tried to put a little sense of urgency into my step, because it’s almost the end of January, February is a short month, and then it’s March.
And that means it’s practically springtime already. I’m a lot lighter in the Spring.
Copyright 2023 Brent Olson
Not once in my life have I ever grown tired of hoarfrosts. Until this winter when we had about two steady weeks of them. We've now reached that five week span where the Solstice harks in the midst of winter lightness. This has been a long winter by my count. At least I can still count.