January; the blue month


For as long as I can remember, January has always been a very blue month for me.

Blue, as in the color of the icy dawn and the frozen dusk. Blue, as in the color of the shadows that dance under the trees. Blue, as in the songs that are sung when the heart is heavy and slow and plodding in our chests.

Blue, as in, “How much longer can this dark weather go on?”

When the kids were little, January always meant ear infections and bronchitis and pneumonia and fevers and endless nights of rocking and crooning and soothing as the silvery moon moved slowly across the sky.   January meant snowstorms, and ice storms and being stuck in the driveway for an hour while trying to take the crying baby to the doctor’s office.

January lasted at least a thousand days, with wet woolen socks on the hearth, and one more batch of soup on the stove.  January dragged its heels and refused to move and never, ever wanted to give up its icy grip.

Now that my children are grown and gone, January has become the month of rising in the dark, driving to work in the dark, coming home to a house that is empty and cold and so very dark.  January has become the month of worry.  Are they warm? Are they well? Will this flu hit them, and will they tell me if it does?

January is the month when every ounce of energy is taken up just trying to recover from the holidays, just trying to look toward spring.

January is more wood to chop and stack and bring into the house. More wood to load into the stove, more ash to sweep, more blankets to pile on the beds. More soup, more stew, more woolen mittens.   January sucks the soul out of me, and drains me of all of my reserves.

In January, in New England, there is no extra energy for fun or laughter or silliness.

In January, I am blue.  As blue as my lips, my fingernails, my mood.  As blue as the drifting shadows that dance under the pines, waiting for the next fall of snow.

30 thoughts on “January; the blue month

  1. Beautifully said. I hate the dark at this time of year too. But I think New Englanders and Canadians share a trait–we’re survivors. We may trudge and complain, but we stick it out…until the sun returns. And it always does. 🙂


  2. For me, it used to mean packing for Florida. Winter ended in January for many years….Now it means nothing pressing on the chore list, no yard work to do, time to maybe read a little, sweatshirts to cover my holiday fat……my January is white and surrounded by quiet hope that spring is right around the corner.


    • You always have been better than me at looking on the bright side, Lizzie!
      Other than giving birth to Kate, January has just always been the month of cold, wet and sickness. Bleh!


  3. I hear you and I’m no New Englander. As soon as January hits I get the blues from the cold and the dark and all the sickness going around. Even my seven-year-old tonight said, “I can’t wait till March when sick season will be over.”


  4. Growing up in Boston, I loved January. When there was snow, I would take my Flexible Flyer to Franklin Field. When there wasn’t snow, there was always ice because they would flood the basketball court, and I skated every day. I skated until it was pitch black, until I was the only one there, until I sometimes could barely walk home because my toes were so frozen. I loved January because my birthday was coming on February 4, and I had to plan my party and what gifts I wanted.
    My son was born on January 21st, so another reason to love January, and many wonderful years enjoying his much more elaborate parties and gifts.
    When I think of January, I think of bringing him home from the hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, in his much-too-big yellow bunting because he was only six pounds and me in my much-too-big gray maternity jumper because I’d lost all my baby weight.
    And there’s the whole New Year deal — the fresh start, the hope springing eternal, the conviction that we can and will do better this year.
    January’s good. Now November…


  5. You could come down here to Texas…It’s sunny (mostly), and warm (comparatively), and ‘sides, I gotta sore throat and I think you’d be a great at mothering me…


  6. You have written this so beautifully it has made me really emotional. I do hope your January blues will pass soon and you will be heartened by the first stirrings of spring. Here, January can be crisp or dull or stormy, we just never know (England). At the moment it is just dark, very dark and dreary.


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