If you’ve known me a minute you know I hate winter. No, hate isn’t too strong a word. It is dark when I wake and dark when I lay down and it’s too much for this sun worshiper. And then there is the weather. They say everyone handles different pains differently. I can be cut open, I can give myself shots and I can abuse my body 15 ways in the course of getting a job done but I have never figured out how to tolerate nausea or cold.
I hate the feeling of cold air. I abhor the way it smacks my skin until it is cracked and raw and shocks the little hairs in my nose. The bite of the air makes my eyeballs hurt as it sears the moisture from them. The sensation of it on my skin and into my muscles fuels the depression and anger the lack of light triggers. It is better, living in the south, where the cold is milder and the sun a little closer but it is still winter.
The people where I live romanticize snow and I try not to point out that they have no idea what they are saying. Death tolls during blizzards, trying to care for a baby with no heat during ice storms and trucks that won’t start are my winter associations. My Mister was once trapped at work for 5 days because of 86 inches of snow. And once you have found things frozen to death, winter is less cute. But, my friends who know the beast that is true winter and still enjoy it are simply a different breed. It is a difference far more significant than mere ethnicity or religion.
Trying to put on the required holiday ruckus keeps me continually refocusing my efforts on good cheer until it all has to be cleaned up 2 January.
And then what?
I have found winter’s redemption in the lull January brings.
I need a good lull.
Even in our mild climate, winter provides time to reflect, study and plan. January is the quiet before the year of activity commences with February seed starting. The weed pressure on our crops is low, the insect population is scant and there is less that needs to be done daily come January. The dark means we are inside more, which means more mess but it also provides more time for other indoor activities. I read a bit more from the stack of books on my night stand in January and finally finish whatever class I have started. It is time to reflect on the problems of the year and figure out what needs to change or what experiments to conduct next. I tell myself every year that come January I will get “caught up,” whatever that means. And I’ll re-learn to knit one night by the fire. I’m going to start that quilt. I say it every year. It’s a tradition.
January is a month of dreaming. It is the time all the planning for the gardens of the coming year comes together on paper for the perfect season, something that only exists conceptually. The seeds arrive and we get so excited to hold the packets and bags of potential. In my mind, there are quiet times by the fire with everyone reading. In real life, there are loud times by the fire with everyone shouting at Jeopardy but it’ll do.
So I’ll do the holiday thing with gusto but it is January that I am learning to love. The month of chills and darkness that sends us inside provides the pause needed to review, plan, plot and contemplate our little farm.
And some January I’m going to make that quilt.
Happy eating, Katy