Jan 14, 2015

These January Nights


What is worth a glance in January is so small, so fleeting, or so grand and impossible, that I seem to either rush by without notice, or stop and stare - and not so much in between.  The white that blankets us here in The Valley can bless an individual plant with an icy, crystalline dress, and at the same time turn a meadow into a vast sort of nothingness.  The endless hills to the north can blend, dull and white, into the low clouds or they can sparkle like evergreen-dotted fairytale castles in the sky when the sun breaks through to shine upon them. The views each day swing wildly from breathtaking to bland.

So too, are the first days-melting-into-weeks of the year. We've finished off or frozen the holiday leftovers and the decorations have come down, leaving everything a little more stark and uninspiring than the opulence of last month.  Yet there is still an excitement about starting a new year - a fresh calendar with 365 open spots for us to fill up with plans and dreams and celebrations.  There is hope for a year sprinkled with achievements and adventure.

I'm not quite ready to give up every last ornament and source of illumination. I need a small amount of festivity.  I like a bit of flickering light on these dark, cold January nights. I've kept back a tiny tree in a bottle - the most miniature Winter vignette.  And there are fir boughs here and there. Soon they will be picked clean for incense making and dreamy oil infusions. There are so many candles too, dancing shapes and shadows up the walls and on to the ceiling.



There is much to do during the day. Aside from the occasional date with the snow shovel, the daily offerings to the birds, and my local coffee shop to haunt, I've got plenty of year-end work to keep me head-down at the office.

The evenings are a different story. The days are lengthening, but the night still has its rule. It offers much time for cooking satisfying meals and gathering up blankets, books, and cats for a good long settling-in. There has been altar work too, and endless, steamy baths.

The rattles have made an appearance during meditation and a perfect little bell, gifted to me by a dear friend, is rung each night. There is so much quiet this time of year (however needed, appreciated) that to invite some moments of sound seems to me to encourage Winter along - not showing it the door just yet, but to let it know that while we are resting, we are also beginning to stir.

What stirs you on deep Winter evenings?  Are you venturing out, or staying in?  Does the new calendar send you bounding into the year ready to take anything on, or do you linger yet around the fire, letting your plans and dreams form as you gaze into your tea cup?

These January nights won't last for long - we are half through them already. I hope the remaining eves give you much pleasure or time for planning - whatever this first month of the year inspires.



9 comments:

Linda Wildenstein said...

THere I was scanning through the list of blogs to read and I came upon this gem. How lovely and warm are your words of winter and quiet. Love how you express what so many of us are feeling. xoxo Oma Linda

Tilda said...

Ah, you beautifully describe many of the feelings of January.
This year though, I freaked out and completely tore my kitchen apart and reorganized it the day after New Year's Day. Don't know where that came from, but happy with the results!

Rue said...

Ha! I've done that too Tilda. It's like plugging in to all that fresh year energy. It doesn't last long for me though - one good cleaning or organizing project, and the champagne wears off. ;)

Debra Nehring said...

I cannot believe that we are already two weeks into 2015!
I have so many half finished projects and ideas, and some days I feel frustrated and guilty about them, and some days I recogonize that this Time is meant for introspection, planning, and rest.
So I do.
Blessings, Jen. Your words evoke that warm wintry feel of solace.

mrsduncanmahogany said...

I must say - being in the middle of the Canadian prairies and our winters being notoriously bitter and frigid (-48 with the wind!!) I find that I am wishing January to go quickly, roll on the longer days and milder (ahem) temperatures. This January has been different. Am I getting older and just more accepting or is it because I am doing my very best to keep busy? Hard to say, but I am enjoying the days getting longer. This is a huge help with my SAD.

Rue said...

I too, have found this month easier than in years past. Age, experience, or a new appreciation...who knows? But I'm glad for it.

greekwitch said...

That was a beautiful post! Such lovely images!

Magaly Guerrero said...

We are still holding on to one winter holiday ornament (a wee green sweater with a reindeer hangs from our oak tree) and of course, I have my headless skeleton holding a pumpkin (and his head) to represent that All Hallow's Eve lasts all year long...

My winter days and nights are stirred by warm things, by standing by the window with my Piano Man looking at the NYC skyline and the trees right outside...

...and the moon, there is always the moon.

Kestril Trueseeker said...

Tis the season where the dishwasher holds mostly mugs because everyone is plowing through their warm beverage of choice. This is probably the first winter where I've been content with things being taken down an notch and moving slower. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't squirmy, ready for the warmth to return. I'll be starting up seedlings inside soon and the joy of seeing them start up will carry me through the rest of the cold time.