January. I pulled up the meaning of January and according to Wikipiedia, January in Latin is Ianuarius and is named after the Latin word for door (ianua), since January is the opening of the door to the New Year. Somewhat related to that thought is the following; I happened to catch a few minutes of an interview with a local author on the radio while I was driving to the Arboretum the November morning the MN Herb Society decorated the holiday tree. The interview was with author, Shelley DeWees. She had written a book on 19th century women authors titled “Not Just Jane”. As I was pulling into the Arboretum, the author commented “You can only look out the window thru a frame”. Shelley was speaking about how an author’s life experiences influence their writing, even if their writing is fictional. However, the statement caused me to pause and reflect and when I parked the car, I jotted the phrase down. After all, it is the frame that makes the view interesting. It brings to mind a day in April this past year. We were at a service at the Basilica in Downtown Minneapolis and the day was particularly dreary. But as the doors were opened after the service, the surprise and beauty of the white snow in contrast with the dark somber lighting of the Basilica was magnificient. It wasn’t necessarily the view outside, but the beautiful framing of the view that made it a scene to be remembered. Whether one is pondering the year ahead, looking thru a camera lens, or just looking out your kitchen window, the frame is just as important as the view. The past and present coexist.
I received an email in December from Sivertson’s Gallery in Grand Marais. Many of you know it well as a hot spot on the North Shore. The email was titled “The Celebration of Light”. That phrase hit me, as we are celebrating the yin & yang of darkness & light right now. Darkness pulled at the light thru the Solstice and now, light will be pulling at the darkness during these January days, the days of the Door to the New Year. And that gives me hope.
There are many little Celebrations of Light that give me hope. We fill our homes with candlelight and the dancing flames of fires to chase away the darkness of these Winter nights. The Winter skies light up with color as the sun both rises and sets. The fresh snow creates a glitter of a million diamonds on the open fields. The moonlight lies still on our slumbering Winter gardens. And during the morning and the late afternoon hours, the beautiful hues of the blue shadows fall elongated on the snow. While it’s cold outside, these scenes remind us of the beauty of the austere landscape of this season. And they remind me that while it is Winter, a season that many of us wish was shortened or didn’t exist at all, the light is coming. We can have hope for the sun and hope for life that it will bring. So, sit back with a cup of tea and a good book and enjoy this season of rest. Enjoy the herbs and veggies from your garden that you dried or put up last fall. And remember, “You can only look out the window thru a frame”
The long blue shadows Lie upon crystallized snow As frost frames my view.
A haiku that I formulated while on an early winter run – my brain has to do something during my runs