I love January.
No, really. I do. Apart from the fact that this year is the first year that I have truly loved and embraced winter, mostly because I’m skiing so much now, I have always had a fondness for January.
My firstborn came into my life in January, missing being born on his Dad’s birthday by one day, so the sweet celebration of love is a wonderful thing.
But I think what I love the most about this month is the promise of spring that it brings. After all, it’s the new year, the days are getting longer, and even though we are buried deep in snow and shades of gray, blanketed with low moody clouds that rob us of sunlight, spring feels just that much closer to us. As this month wanes, February teases us with its shortness, dangling March in front of us like a carrot in front of a mule. I feel like I can keep slogging through the muck and slush, because warmth is coming back to us. I always think of those sleepy bulbs that will begin their slow awakening in just a few short weeks.
We will awake one morning to hear chickadees calling, and the slow steady drip of melting ice. One afternoon, that sun will shine from a higher cast in the sky and our windows will be flung wide open, coveting that air that rushes in. That sweet breeze, although tinged with cold, will carry that undefinable and familiar scent of springtime.
Smiles will sprout on every face. Patches of brown grass will appear, begging to be raked. Soil will emerge from the receding tired snow, and tiny green tulip noses will cautiously emerge from the dirt, assessing if they should rise up in their bold and hardy way, or wait for a few more days. Mini rivulets of melting snow find their way down the hill, carving out teeny canyons in the hardened snowbanks. Rain starts to fall more than snow, and puddles beg for feet clad in rubber boots. Bikes are dusted off prematurely, and ridden with glee; that crunchy sound of gravel under the tires brings my own youth back to me.
Setbacks in weather can be disheartening. A March snowstorm can seem so rude. As fast as they hit us, they disappear, leaving behind grumpy moods and the obligation to shovel that driveway just one more time. We reel for days from that promise of spring being ripped away from us.
But that day still comes to us, that first day of full-on spring, of warm sun and blue sky. Noses tingle from too much sun after working in the yard all afternoon. Long hair holds the scent of woodsmoke and fresh air. Coffee or tea is poured at the end of the day, mugs gripped in cold hands, and we inhale the contentment of Spring into our very souls.
It always returns to us. We only need to wait.