Saturday, 30 January 2016

I Survive January

TS Eliot's The Wasteland opens with the words, "April is the cruelest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain."   

Not for me, Tom. I am not the cynic who doesn't want to be reminded, who doesn't want to endure April's signs of spring life because they rouse uncomfortable feelings about missed opportunities or failed love.  I long for April.  March.  May.  All those months.  For me, January, with its loss of light, its hangover from December's excesses, its sniffles, its pale faces, its quantities of marking, its catching up from December: for me January is the cruelest month, the one with least light, the one through which I seem to carry a special type of weariness. 

But this year, it's also been the month of laying low, reading.  Of walking in the rain-soaked countryside, and through the city streets, wind and rain-soaked.  Of talking to dear, kind, wise, generous friends, the ones who are seeing me through.  And just this weekend, of celebrating of my eldest son's birthday.  

As for my son, he tells me he loves this, his birth-month - sees it as a gift of an opportunity for wearing more clothes, for marveling at winter skies on the way to and from school, for not having to do much except pull on a coat and carry on, watching as the sun sets a little later, a little more kindly each day. 


  1. I made the connection recently that, because TS Eliot is an American, he was quite right about April being the cruelest month. In New England where the greyness of winter lasts until May, April is almost unbearable. There Spring is brief and barely qualifies as a season. Whereas in the UK April is the best best best! Well done at surviving January, and finding beautiful writing in it too. xxx

  2. That's really interesting Kate - thanks for that comment. You've shed new light on the subject for me! Xxx

  3. Lovin this Liz it's quite a true reflection of how a lot are feeling,great depth

  4. Very interesting to read your words Kate.
    In my flat, every morning, from my only large 'window with a view', tall or small trees start tiny tiny buds, I view January like your son. Birds of all sizes are sitting on branches and seem to contemplate. They are in a new light early hours mix birds species with communal spirit. December is the month the most challenging.