The month of January is finally, blissfully gone, although, like an inconsiderate house guest, she has left messy reminders here in middle Tennessee. Snow still covers our yard; a little slush clings here and there on the more shaded roads; we are still not quite in normal routine (with schools finally going back 2 hours late today); and we are dreading the utility bill when it arrives in another week or so.

 “Hate” is a strong word that I rarely use, but I pretty much hate January. (OK, the beautiful images on display above contradict that statement, but we’ll get to that in a bit.) Never mind that I actually like thinking back on the past year and making resolutions for the new one. Never mind that several relatives and friends have January birthdays. Never mind that I love any excuse to stretch out on the sofa with a blanket and a good book. None of that is worth the cold and the mess and the short days and, most of all, the lack of energy and enthusiasm that I always feel during this month.

Colette felt like I do: “January, month of empty pockets! … let us endure this evil month, anxious as a theatrical producer’s forehead.”

I try to make it through the month by focusing on “a time for all seasons,” as modeled in Ecclesiastes. That is, there’s a time to lie on the sofa and read; there’s a time to get up and ride your bike. There’s a time to lie on the sofa and watch old movies; there’s a time to clean the house. There’s a time to lie on the sofa and take a nap; there’s a time to organize fifteen years of photos and start a new scrapbooking project.

You, dear and astute reader, undoubtedly get it: I am sloth in January.

A couple of weeks of being slothful is OK, probably even quite good for the soul. But as the month goes on, I get sick of being slothful – and yet, I can’t seem to do anything about it. I’m stuck – on the sofa, of course – just waiting for the month to pass.

But this January was a tee-niny bit different. I wasn’t particularly excited about the big winter storm as it hit. The snow didn’t seem that pretty as it was falling on Friday; the quite-impressive-for-this-part-of-the-country depths and drifts hardly phased me on Saturday. But on Sunday, the sun came out, and my outlook changed.  (more…)