If January is the month of false hope, what is February?
January is the month of false hope.
All of those dreams you had for a new beginning, a fresh start, room for light, clear white walls against which a brand new drama might play out, all of our hopes so common they are clichés, so common among us we should question their intentions, our intentions, we should recall the year before and how we had hoped. We should know better. Only we don’t, and so, come January first, we send our intentions into the cold air. And we immediately feel lighter, as if we have inherited only the brightness that is to come, the lengthening days.
But we have inherited, too, the darkness. We forget, when we make our vows for a better life, that winter has only begun, the nights are long and cold and when the sun rises at last it swings past us at an angle, low in the sky, and often must burn through a quilt of clouds just to reach us. We forget it is often all we can do to just get up in the morning soon enough after the dawn for us to catch all of the sun we possibly can. It is enough to get up, to make coffee, to sit for a quiet moment in a patch of light, before breakfast and lunch, before it’s dinnertime again and you’re in for another night.
But the nights, the nights are crystalline winter stars, candles and a hearth, stew and books and stockings. The nights are long enough, if you spend them inside a book, you might find yourself at its end, happy but also sad the way every ending is sad.
Is there any book that doesn’t end in a period? And if it stopped midsentence would you feel it went on always? (Maybe there is a character—someone somewhere who reads constantly but never finishes a book. Rather she stops always midsentence somewhere shy of the final tenth of the final chapter.) But to return to my point, my point being that winter takes us down to our bones, even the trees return to their seeds to sleep, bears to their caves, the earth in its winter wants to sleep and to dream of