Slogging through January…to me it feels like the longest month of the entire year. I wake up in the dark, go to work, walk home in the twilight. There’s a monochromatic quality to the days, lit up once in awhile by a shell-colored sunrise or the magic of a snowstorm. When the clouds aren’t too thick, I notice the daylight hours extending a little bit from the darkness of the solstice. And I notice on warm days, the bees come out of the hive for a clearing flight and to kick the dead ones out into the snow.
What a shock to wake up to a clear sky, and see the sun rising above the horizon! Suddenly long blue tree shadows stretch out ahead, and ice falls from the boughs. The sound of dripping is everywhere. To move through the woods on skis or snowshoes is to be shaken from routine when the sun shines. I remember about sunglasses and shirtsleeves. And breaking trail through snow with the consistency of mashed potatoes. And stomping out a spot to sit and have lunch, leaning back on my backpack to sip soup from a thermos. My face turns to the sun without me thinking about it, as if I’m a flower. I hear and see a mixed flock of birds swinging from tree to tree, the first birds besides ravens and jays that I’ve heard in a long time. They perch in the tops of the evergreens, perhaps sipping drops of melted snow from the needles. Then they’re off again.
My sense of wonder has been hibernating with the rest of me as the gray cloudy days slide by on a sheet of ice. But the season is turning, and it’s time to start waking up.