Making My Peace With January

Now that it’s just about over

If you remember my fall dispatches, we are confronted with a curiosity in the sense that I described at modest length the experience of driving in a winter wonderland of snow. In, I believe, October. Since then, there was like a month and a half of zero snow – not necessarily because of high temperatures, either.

There have, of course, have been enough brief upticks in warmth that have caused a lot of oddities with the ice on the lakes and the ponds. Just a week or so ago was the first time I drove around Dublin Lake and saw the whole thing frozen. Maybe 60% of the lake has been frozen for months, but a whole hunk on the eastern side has remained this kind of steely blue choppy water, which, with The Mountain behind it, made for a pretty dramatic scene. All frozen now.

Of course, in the last few days, we had a significant snowstorm surrounded by some pretty severe zero-degree weather. It was bound to happen – you could really feel it lingering just on the edge of things for the last several weeks. No way this was ever gonna be a totally dry winter. Maybe, as our local Old Farmer’s Almanac (not to be confused with that apostate one) has predicted, it will be more mild than usual, it won’t be one of those totally brown-earth winters. It’s been palpable in the air. Was never in the cards, however we may feel about it.


‘Tis the season for diets and other new restrictive behavioral regimes – but is it our societal habits that makes me see the landscape a certain way, or is it the qualities of the landscape that give us that drive to tighten shit up?

As far as the air goes – or, perhaps more accurately and elegantly, the atmosphere – I’ve been meaning to note how much gloriousness there really is in January. I complain about it, I hate the cold, I have to drive a lot in the snow, but I’d be a bastard and a liar if I didn’t admit that when I really pay attention, this is a magnificent time of year in its own severe and austere sorts of ways. It’s purgative. I mean, that’s obvious, I guess – ‘tis the season for diets and other new restrictive behavioral regimes – but is it our societal habits that makes me see the landscape a certain way, or is it the qualities of the landscape that give us that drive to tighten shit up? Chicken or the egg, right?

But much as I whine about the cold and refuse steadfastly to spend much time out in it (or, really, any more time than is absolutely necessary going to and from my car and down the street to church a couple times a week), I’ve looked out there over the past couple of weeks and it’s really hit me how the cold and the barrenness is just as purgative as fire is – and I need that. I do not like it. I don’t like it at all. But face it, we need to strip everything down periodically, and killing pathogens often requires conditions that we ourselves find to be uncomfortable. Such is the cost.

As I’ve already declared, this is one of the years in which I try to accept or at least ignore the discomfort of the season (some years I decide ahead of time to just be vocally bitter about it from start to finish), and with some limited exceptions, that’s working out just fine. I’m glad to be here in January, even if I kinda hate it.

In a few days, I’ll also be glad to see it go.

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