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January is Waiting

“I wonder how long it would take you to notice the regular recurrence of the seasons if you were the first man on earth. What would it be like to live in open-ended time broken only by days and nights? You could say, “it’s cold again; it was cold before,” but you couldn’t make the key connection and say, “it was cold this time last year,” because the notion of “year” is precisely the one you lack. Assuming that you hadn’t yet noticed any orderly progression of heavenly bodies, how long would you have to live on earth before you could feel with any assurance that any one particular long period of cold would, in fact, end?” — Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Lately I’ve been watching some Lonewolf 902 YouTube videos of winter camping with a hot tent. I’ve done a bit of winter camping in my time, with an old sleeping bag sprinkled with ember burns to prove it, but not recently. I don’t see myself hauling a titanium stove through the woods of New Hampshire and cutting up dead standing timber for firewood anytime soon. But his adventures northeast of me in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island are stirring the imagination once again. It’s time to get back out there.

You might feel the cold, and might even experience the snow when you stay put in your nest. But you just don’t become a part of the season without being immersed in it. January, by all rites, offers cold, short days. I’ve noticed that I don’t notice as much when I don’t get out in it. Without a dog to walk in the cold night, I don’t watch the celestial dance across the sky. Without gathering my hiking gear and heading north, I don’t feel the sting of winter or the snow blindness of brilliant sun on frigid snow. What fun is January if you aren’t out in it?

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. ” — John Ruskin

January is the month when you begin to go stir crazy if you aren’t active enough. The best remedy is right in front of us—bundle up and get your ass out there. The magic of snow and ice and crisp air won’t last for long. You must go to it, prepared, if you want to experience the exhilaration of winter. Melancholy is for those who would shelter indefinitely. Nothing breaks the hold of the winter blues faster than embracing winter. So get out and experience all winter offers! How many more do you expect to have? Appreciate the gift that this season represents.

January is waiting… but it’s slipping away.

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