The winter winds that come with the 31 dark days of January leave us with snow to shovel, frost to scrape and the year’s highest heating bills. The combination can cause a person to feel engulfed in an icy cold surf that has swept away the final warmth of a sweet summer dream he enjoyed not so long ago.
January has brought our world to its darkest and coldest season of the year, yet hope remains. Although the sunrises are still losing ground, sunset now sneaks in a few seconds later. The steep slope of winter will be easing, and by the end of this month the sun will permit us to enjoy almost three-quarters of an hour of additional daylight. The long, slow, uphill trudge has begun. The ice will pass, the sun return.
Our early forefathers thought the time to celebrate the start of a new year was when a weak and lethargic sun stirred and began to emerge from its winter shelter to once again smile on its children. It was by solar magic that the sun told the crocus, the hyacinth, daffodils and narcissus when to emerge, to lead the way for the dogwood buds to stir and for sleeping flowers to awaken the butterflies of life.
Now faint green appears in expanding buds. The paper hyacinth and daffodils are awakening in the cold earth to remind us that winter is never forever.