The calendar imposes upon nature an artificial sense of renewal every thirty days or so, and on a much grander scale every 365 days. By the fortuity of a flip of the calendar page, January is the month when everything starts over, fresh and new.
January 1st charms, with its parades and football games. The day is lit less by its own brilliance, though, than by the leftover glow of Christmas, glad tidings and good will to all family who don’t see each other often enough and thank God for these few days off. New Year’s Day stands against shadow, because it marks the end of the seemingly interminable holiday season, which sputters to a start with tykes in costumes, picks of steam through the feasts of Thanksgiving and lumbers to its happy crescendo at Christmas. After a month of office work slowing down, vacation plans consummated, gifts purchased and given and idle time rediscovering the people we believe we really are when not tearing around trying to meet the unstoppable demands of the daily routine, the gleaming newness of New Year’s Day is a mirage. It is not a day that looks forward to the shine of the year to come, it is a day that reflects all that came before it.
Because January, truth be told, is a miserable month. February is not worse only because there is simply less of it. January is dark, cold and wet, and treats December like a houseguest who has overstayed his welcome. Business that slows over the last six weeks of the preceding year in deference to the holidays snaps to warp speed to pack the work of eight weeks into four. Many students must endure finals in January, after spending the Christmas break trying to ignore the building dread that they really should be studying during all that time off. Christmas seems nearer in June than on January 3rd.
So the weather has generally been sunny for the early part of this year, Michael has made us all proud by earning a spot on the travel baseball team and proving by his play that he belongs there, and Kelly survived finals to turn in excellent grades in a full load of terribly demanding classes. That’s about the best that can be said for the month this year. I am only now (literally, today) finally digging out from under what has been the most burdensome, stressful eight week period of work in my career. And when the month starts like this, it is not destined to go down in history as one of my top-ten favorites:
|Unscheduled airbag test -- yep, they work|
And yet, while I have no desire to live these last couple of months over again, I can’t help but be content with all we do have, even in this deepest of winters: our health, our family, our faith, our jobs, and our friends.
Still, March is just hours away.