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.