If We Make It Through January

There is an old song, I think Merle Haggard used to sing it, called, “If We Make It Through December” that I occasionally get rolling around in my head, like songs often do to me, remember my previous post about the song, The Windmills of Your Mind

I think Haggard’s song should have been called, “If We Make It Through January” because January is to me the toughest month to get through. Nothing much good happens in January. It’s usually cold, snowy, the days are short, and things look fairly bleak everywhere and save for January 1st, there is no holiday to look forward to.  

According to Wilkipedia, January is, on average, the coldest month of the year within most of the Northern Hemisphere. I believe it. It’s difficult to believe in global warming when you are standing outside January with a cold wind blowing.  January also has what some call, The worst day of the year, January 24th Thankfully we are past that now.

The Christmas bills start arriving in January, all of a sudden those diamond earrings you bought your wife don’t seem like such a good idea as she just left you for a buff pool boy who lives in Jamaica, winter got the best of her…home heating bills are scary to even look at, your credit card glows red and emits a warning sound everytime you take it out of your wallet, and you just busted the windshield wiper off your car while trying to scrape the crusty frozen snow off the windshield with a metal shovel while holding one ungloved hand inside your pocket…the missing glove is frozen to your face ever since you tried to wipe the snot off your nose…..

Yup, I don’t like January.

Even when I had a young keen rabbit hound and headed to the woods and swamps rabbit hunting on January Saturdays, it really wasn’t much fun. You don’t have to spend too many days of extremely frigid temperatures, treacherous icy back country dirt roads, and lots of deep snow in the woods before you start asking yourself, “Why am I here?” (Actually I did it for about 20 years before I asked myself that question and couldn’t come up with a sensible answer, perhaps because my brain had frozen.)

I dunno about you, but I like to have someone to blame stuff on. It doesn’t do much good, but it feels better somehow to have a scapegoat for things like snow and cold weather. Apparently we can blame the Romans for January.

The traditional Roman calendar only had 10 months, and January wasn’t one of them. They considered winter a “monthless time”  I like that idea….However, like most good ideas, some bozo has to come along and “make things better” and in this case the “bozo” was apparently King Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, who, around 713 BC decided that winter did indeed need some months and came up with January and February. He also extended the year to 365 days from the original 304 days, so yes, those of you working can blame him for the long years you have to work.

Apparently “bozos” abounded in ancient Rome, just like they do today everywhere, because in 46 B.C., Julius Caesar, also a Roman, decided to add a day to January, making it 31 days long…..that baaaaastard…..

 Interestingly, the Anglo-Saxons referred to January as  “Wolfmonth” because wolves came into their villages in winter in search of food. Does that remind you of anything? Coyotes coming into town perhaps? Maybe we should call January “Coyote Month.” The more things change the more they stay the same…..

Time goes slowly in January, in fact it drags. That is a good thing I suppose,  particularly if you were terminally ill or something, but that’s about it.

Apart from those hardy souls who go skating or skiing, a lot of folks hibernate through January, preferring the warmth of indoors and television to the cold outdoors. It’s tough to get excited about going out when you see the mercury dropping on the outdoor thermometer. Even the deer lay low as much as possible in this weather, “Yarding up” in places with available food where they don’t have to work too hard to survive. Apparently birds don’t even fly as much in January, unless you are referring to “snowbirds” who fly a lot in January on their way from the northern places to the heat of Florida or some tropical island in the Caribbean. It’s a good time to get on a plane and head for somewhere hot and sunny, some tropical destination that doesn’t know that January exists, perhaps they missed the Roman memo.

People get depressed in January, including myself, a reminder the importance of getting some sunlight everyday and perhaps take some vitamin D supplements to ward off that seasonal depressing feeling that is tied to a lack of sunlight during the winter months.

But here we are now on the cusp of the crossover to February. The harbinger of better days ahead. Winter is far from over, but as winter months go, February is better. For one thing it’s shorter, with only 28 days as opposed to the interminable 31 days of January.  I believe February is much better, we’ll soon start to see a subtle but noticeable lengthening in the daylight hours and hopefully somewhat milder temperatures giving us some hope, something we can cling to, even on the most dismal of storm days.  We can still get snow in February, lots of perhaps more than any other month, but somehow it doesn’t seem as bad, perhaps because we know that March is not far away and with it Spring and hopefully no snow.  We’ll soon start to hear these word, particularly after a miserable  snowstorm, “Yeah it snowed, but it won’t stay around  long now !”

That’s it for now, gotta go make some snow angels in the backyard !!

On another note, I heard from a reader who told me that last night she couldn’t sleep, so around 2:30 she decided to read The Cottage Chronicles on her blackberry….had the best sleep of her life. Another use for The Cottage Chronicles, a cure for insomnia !!!

On that note, let’s listen to Merle Haggard shall we?

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