My January Heart

I’ve somehow fallen in love with January.

Did it come out of the blue or have I been warming up to this dark, sleepy month for awhile now?

I used to dread winter. I was one of those regular northern hemisphere folk who dreaded the dark afternoons, the early nights, the freezing cold moments between home and work and the grocery store. I used to hate the hunkering down of it all. It made me crazy. How can I run, when the very nature of this month forces us to be still?

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Just the thought of the impending darkness of January has always felt too heavy for my mind. I need sun and light so constantly. Winter means staying inside, it means the dark days and even darker nights aren’t just in my mind.

It means temperatures well below freezing. -20  is normal and -30 is a thing too. Winter means hibernation and hibernation seems the opposite of relaxing. It means thinking and feeling and for years, I have wanted to avoid it all.

But now, I wake up in the dark, I leave my house in the dark, make my way through the city to my job. It’s dark the entire journey. By the time I leave 12 hours later, it’s dark again. And yet, something in me has changed, softened. I come home, I shed my layers at the door.

I light a candle, I cook, I savour. I play music that I love and take long baths until I wrinkle. I read until I sleep.

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I’ve begun to cling to the newness of the month, the beginning of the year. I let myself become wrapped up in the wonder of fresh snow and fresh starts. I pay attention to the clear skies and the crisp air. It’s not going anywhere and for once, neither am I. Fighting the season feels heavier than acceptance.

Somehow the weather outside my window begins to fade into the background. It doesn’t dictate so much about my life anymore. I don’t feel the need to uproot everything. I no longer feel the panic that the darkness used to stir up in me. There was a time that January felt like a blindfold tied tightly around my eyes for weeks on end.

And now, I see.

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I feel things deeply, still, but my world doesn’t need to change. Canadian winters are dark for months on end. But these days, my freedom feels bright.

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