You are currently browsing the daily archive for January 26, 2011.

Each month carries with it a certain energy, whether it’s sparked by holidays, weather, memory, or something undefinable.  We all view the months differently, depending on our preference (or loathing) for a particular season.  Some time ago, I read a piece in which twelve famous authors each contributed their views on the months – one author for each month.

While I’m not yet a famous author, the piece caught my fancy and so I’ve decided to share my own measure of months with you.

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January
A month of beginnings, yet at the same time, a month that feels frozen in its own self.  It’s a discouraging month, as we all resolve to do things better, differently, and as the days wear down, so many of us find ourselves failing at our resolutions.  But we do start with the premise of the promise, with a sense of hope, even as we find ourselves plunged in cold and regret.

February
For me, there are hints of spring here.  The crocuses that push forward from the earth, the first glimpse of the nub of a tulip, the returning birdsong.  We have that Valentine’s Day, that dreadful Hallmark holiday, stuck mid-month, and the manufactured President’s Day the following week.  It is bitter cold, and feels as if we have taken a plunge off the high board into a near-frozen pool and are struggling valiantly yet slowly to the top, where the warmth and sun live.

March
Still wrapped in the depths of winter, wet, heavy, tumultuous, like a season trying to give birth and die at the same time.  March is wild, silent, angry, rapturous.  The world is trying to ram its head out of winter and is being met with clever blocks at every turn.  It is never an easy month.  Once school is over, Spring Break no longer exists.  March just means plugging away at trying to finish out one more winter.

April
Warm and green has finally carved its way out of frozen and dead.  It’s easy to leave the house and forget to take a jacket.  There is still a feeling of promise, as opposed to all-out spring, but breath comes more easily, and with it, a certainty that new things can grow again, and the world can renew itself.  Creeks and rivers thaw and start to flow, singing along with your own blood.  If it has been a particularly hard winter, weather-wise, emotionally, or physically, April can truly be a time to rejuvenate the soul.

May
One day, you turn around and everything is suddenly this intense shade of green that you can never duplicate, never describe and never quite remember. It’s as if it happens in a blink. Small things are being born.  Seeds are being planted, the earth is being worked, bringing us closer to our own souls, our own core.  A strong sense of wanderlust may start to flicker, sparked by the increasing warmth of the world.

June
Dreams come easier.  Gentle breezes ruffle cool curtains and the earth’s perfume intensifies.  A certain joyful laziness is always lying just below the surface, inclining otherwise industrious souls to sneak off and play hookey with a fly-fishing rod or a bottle of rum.  Gardens need tending now, as spirits do, to ensure that things planted in more uncertain days can grow and flower into something rich.

July
Summer is in full swing, spirits run high and free and celebrations spring up with a happy spontaneity.  This is a time for open roads, clothing that is not permitted in schools, and suntans that dermatologists frown upon.  Berries are meant to be picked and popped in mouths.  Fresh corn is shucked on newspapers on the kitchen floor. Basking is in order, as is hiking along streams, preferably with dogs in tow.  If you’re lucky, dusk rouses bats to thin the swarm of mosquitos, and crickets make the nights musical.  Sweat trickling down various body parts can be a pleasure, as can icy-cold beers and air-conditioning.

August
The ripeness of summer has a sense of winding down, but you can still bite into a freshly picked, sun-warmed tomato and have the juice run down your chin.  The beach may occasionally have a few windy days, and superb lightning storms illuminate the mountains and plains.  The air has a passionate warmth, slow, heavy and lazy, like a fat man at the end of a great meal.

September
Indian Summer.  Pick and choose the weather – cool in the mountains, hot on the plains.  The trees are turning, colors burning a radiant kaleidoscope.  Leaves are dying, floating to the ground in a spiral of suicide, wishing to be pressed between the pages of a book in the lingering sunlight, so they can forever recall their own moments of glory.  The air rings with a robust tang that marks the end of a frivolous, splendid season.

October
Crispness.  Good sleeping weather, and mornings make you want to snuggle deeper under the covers for just five more minutes. Whiskey is yearning to be sipped by a warming fire. Chill hands are longing to be held.  There are still a few glorious days left, blessed remnants of summer that appear unexpectedly and vanish like a morning mist, hard to recall.  Wooly caterpillars predict the severity of the coming winter, and hikes want to become strolls through layers of leaves, feet delighting in the crunching.

November
Wistfulness casts a shadow on days.  A sense of preparation, almost a rising pinch of panic, a girding of the loins for the coming cold months, settles into the soul.  Some thoughts turn to family, others turn towards loneliness.  Bodies at rest want to stay at rest, at home, as a primal instinct for hibernation hints at the surface of our consciousness. Either way, we tend towards contemplation of endings.

December
Bringing with it the only sense of lightness in the cold months,  the lucky ones have a sense of  innocence and delight brought on by the approaching holiday.  We can allow a childlike wonder to take hold.  Smiles come more readily and the world takes on a gentle generosity that is distant at other times.  Endings are at the forefront, as if the year is breathing a last sigh, a rich mixture of relief, regret, rejoicing and renewal.   

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The sense of a year is like the rolling melody of the sea.  It seems to have its own crescendos, like a wave, gathering, building, bursting, blooming, dropping, crashing, rolling to a final dark calmness.  And then beginning again.

Today’s guest poet – W.H. Auden.  (I believe I include this poem in an entry last year as a tribute to the poet on his birthday, but it is one of my favorites, sad as it is, and deserves another look.  I watched “Four Weddings and A Funeral” the other night, and the reading of this piece in that movie was amazingly moving. )

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

January 2011
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