The dark month of January is not a happy one for me, even in a normal year, and 2020 has left me feeling adrift, along with the rest of the world. This month we are passengers on our own tiny life rafts, clinging to the hope that 2021 represents, when life will perhaps begin to look normal once again.
Chores in my garden help to keep me distracted, but there’s not much left to do this season except wait for spring. I’m thankful to be living in an area where winters are mild and short. I have no earthly idea how I might cope with January in Maine or New Hampshire, though I do have a twinge of envy for those gardeners I follow on social media who wake up to gardens transformed by a frosting of white. If I could gaze upon my own “snow garden” each morning, with a cup of tea in hand, perhaps that would make January bearable.
Here in Georgia it is pouring rain. It is warm enough that frogs were singing this morning, a reminder that for most of the year a tiny creek flows just over the hill from my home. A trip outside with boots and a raincoat seemed in order, and I smiled when I saw a few groups of snowdrops just beginning to break through the pine straw. Like most gardeners, I’m always curious what might be happening out there while I’m overwintering indoors. A pale green shoot, a swelling bud, a singing bird – it doesn’t really matter what it is. Change, no matter how small, is a step toward brighter days.
Soon, I’ll be watching elegant Lenten rose blooms unfurl, despite the cold and rain we’ll surely see this month. I look forward to seeing these elegant flowers blooming faithfully each winter, but this year I’ll appreciate them even more. If the pain of 2020 has taught us anything, it is to cherish the people (and yes flowers) that we love.