The days are getting longer, the calendar says. But the few minutes of extra sunlight per day seems hard to find.
This morning, I really wanted to go for a sunrise hike. It was cold (it is January in southern Vermont), but not terribly cold, only about 15 F (-9 C). But there are deadlines in the morning, and things to get done. I started the day just after 5 AM, and I tried to find enough things to get me to that 6:50 true sunrise without affecting the rest of the schedule. But although I put clothes away, did laundry, unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, made four lunches and a cup of tea for my husband… still it was too dark to safely go through the woods.
I made due with a workout in the basement instead and emerged again at 6:45 AM. Curious to see if I had missed nature’s daily show of color and optimism, I glanced out the window.
It was perfect timing: the light was just starting. Over the next twenty minutes, I watched with a huge smile as the first glimpses of yellow turned to pink, then red, then orange. I pushed the schedule aside in my brain and gave into the wonder of the gift of this new day.
My father—who hated winter–often said, “January is the cruelest month.” (Apparently, he had no qualms of misquoting T.S. Eliot, who actually said that April won the contest.) Dad had a lot of things to say about winter—and none of them were complimentary. Fighting windchills of -40 F (which, oddly enough is also -40 C), on a dairy farm, with tractors too cold to start, animal waterers freezing regularly and cows’ udders in constant danger of frostbite will make a person come to prefer the swelter sun of July.
I admit I agree with my father, and January is a hard slough through its 31 days for me, too. The winter weather always pushes my sunny self into the shadows. This year’s addition of COVID’s nasty cancellations of, well, essentially every activity I normally find for interaction, makes it all the tougher for me. COVID is perhaps a bit harder on us extroverts who work from home, I am beginning to think.
But this morning, because of that silver lining of not having such a strict schedule to meet, I found joy in the dawn again.