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.