Are you among those who think January is a difficult month, one to ‘get through’, not necessarily a time to thrive? The run of distracting holidays from October through New Year’s is over, the Solstice has come and gone – “hurray for the light returning”. We rejoice and celebrate, yet in truth, nights are still on the long side, and days are short and cold. Here in the north half of the northern hemisphere, skies are frequently gray. To top it off, it’s one of the long months – 31 days!
In the NW signs of spring’s impeding arrival appear well before January 1. Many plants have fattening buds, bulbs are sending up shoots, there are even a few hardy winter blooming shrubs. Rarely do we have snow covering the ground, if at all, for more than a few days, except in the mountains. The tendency is to look for these signs, to look ahead to the season of verdant forests and colorful flowers. To be in waiting for spring.
But are we cheating ourselves? In the woods bare deciduous tree branches reach high into open skies. Unobstructed by the summer canopy of their own making, they let in the low, soothing winter light, warming the soil, teasing seeds, bugs, spores, larva, all kinds of life buried snug in the coolness. It is quiet, birds not yet ready to begin their spring flings. Many animals hibernate or semi-hibernate, and those who don’t, conserve their energy to forage for food. Nature knows better than we how to embrace each season.
Perhaps January is not just a month to endure, but a month to contemplate, dream, rest, find strength of mind and peace of heart to prepare for the energetic demands of spring and whatever the new year may bring.
It is a time to acknowledge there will always be winters in our lives, times that seem bleak. In seeking to find peace during those times we can be more accepting of them. In allowing ourselves to rest, we will be prepared for what comes next.
Try like the trees to embrace the cool gray skies, to wait in the quiet, while snuggled in, and to listen to the secret murmurs of the new year while learning the lessons of the old.
May your New Year ring in peacefully!