A Letter to January

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

The Snow Man ~ Wallace Stevens

Oh January, what a month you have been! Normally I adore you. I love the post-Christmas hush; the quiet, somewhat dreary days; the bare trees against the blue sky; and the opportunity to just breathe. You are the last great peace before the chaos of spring and the glory of summer. You hold a special place in my heart.

This year, however, you have been difficult to endure. I know it isn’t your fault; how can you help what happens while you turn the days one-by-one in your eternal way? But alas, I fear I look forward to that promise of spring.

You see, I saw your first moments from an exhausted state of mind, fresh off a plane and heartsick over family discontent. One short week later, before I could find my footing in this new year, my grandfather left us for the next great adventure, one where we could not follow. I’ve accepted this fact and have found, on a deeper level, contentment with the situation. But grief is a strange thing and, as I have found, can wreak havoc on emotional energy. Even now I feel as though I walk in that state of being when awoken from a lucid dreaming. I struggle to make sense of the mundane tasks we’ve deemed necessary for societal survival.

Beyond this grief for my grandfather, there is a reckoning I must confront – with myself. I seek solitude and peace, two of your most lovely characteristics, January. Yet I find that I cannot accomplish my dreams without help; so I must find a way to open for others. I must somehow acknowledge those things I prefer hidden, face the fallout of trust, and retain hope that I will survive it all intact. Life distilled is simple, but oh what a complicated simple that is.

I still have a few days to bask in your winter sunlight, and I intend to do just that. I won’t hold these feelings against you; to do so would be most unfair. But I’m afraid that you will carry a few scars for me going forward. I’ll try to remember that scars are a thing of beauty, a symbol of strength and accomplishment. And I ask you to forgive me for not paying proper homage this time around. I know so few people understand or appreciate your gifts. We are all so very different along with our definitions of beauty. Next time we meet, we shall celebrate. Properly. (smile)

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