the january muse

So, here we are approaching mid-May, and, in the mid-Atlantic region, the weather is already showing signs of racing into blistering-hot Summer, skipping over Spring entirely. Naturally, with such weather conditions looming for the next several months, I can think of nothing else other than how truly great is my love for Winter.

It’s true: I love Winter. I always have. The 2014-2015 Winter, in my part of the world, was a good one. It began quite early for the mid-Atlantic region; we had snow in November, which is very unusual. We embraced the early arrival, in my household, with sledding, ice cream parties in the snow, and wood fires in the fireplace.

We have several November holidays as well…my son’s birthday, American Thanksgiving, and St. Andrew’s Day. These lead us nicely into the December holiday season, complete with the arrival of Sinterklaas and wooden shoes, decorated pine trees (inside and outside of the house), and, of course, the many year-end holidays and gatherings. I love this time of year.

But it’s January that has long been one of my favourite months of the year. Aside from all the obvious “new year” associations, I like it for several reasons:

(1) Winter is my favourite time of year, and, in January, we go deeper into Winter;
(2) The Holiday Season – Christmas, family gatherings, and all the activities associated with that time – have come to an end, and so I’m much freer to concentrate on the simple joys of the season of Winter;
(3) the undisrupted long nights provide a great time for practicing music, learning new tunes, simply thinking – and coming up with new ideas.

Of course, it’s mainly about “how great it is to be in the middle of Winter,” and I could easily get into specific details…clean, cold air; SNOW; winter ales and hot whiskies; SNOW; outdoor Winter sports; and, of course, SNOW.

The weather is good for us, but we have to get out into it to enjoy the benefits (here’s a couple of quick links to articles about this point: Winter Health Benefits and Health Benefits of Cold Weather). If you try to hide from Winter, by staying indoors and over-heating your house, you miss out on some strong health benefits and some really good fun!

And, in my case anyway, as luck will have it, I occasionally get a couple of work-free snow-days each winter … another huge plus.

In general then, I love Winter… I even wrote a song about it once, called “Under the Grey” (which is one of the tracks on my 2003 CD, “A Little Turned On“).

And yet, despite the joys I have found in Winter over the years, I still have more Winter experiences to go. Number one on my list is developing my cross-country skiing experiences … this should happen in this Winter, for certain. And, I’d also like to see a spectacular display of the Northern Lights. To do that, I’ll probably have to go on a bit of a journey (Norway, perhaps?). And, I wonder what it’s like to become sick of snow? I’ve never had a Winter when that happened to me, so I’m curious if it would.

January…it’s inspirational. All that fresh clean air, falling snow, and fun, coupled with a new calendar year, makes January a good time for renewal. Nevermind all that setting of resolutions. January is a simpler time for reflection, wondering what could be, and thinking about how to do it. The January Muse shows up every year, and I always look forward to its arrival.