Time, season, journey

Natural Wanders Jim McGuire

Here we go again—off on another circular journey around the sun.

The road is long and winding, taking us through territory both familiar and unknown—places we’ve been before and places we can’t even now imagine. Some portions may be arduous, with lots of ups and downs. There are doubtless a fair number of surprises out there, maybe even a heartbreak or two to test our stamina and spirit.

It will require 365 days of ceaseless travel to complete the circuit—and who knows what joys, perils, and adventures await along this veiled path?

But I’m excited and willing to plunge ahead. Besides, what other choice is available?

The price to keep on living is always a willingness to keep on moving, plodding along, accepting, overcoming, dealing with whatever tries to hinder our way. But also reaping the rewards and blessings, delights and treasures, that form the compelling incentives of our travel-packet and personal itinerary.

That’s life—minute by minute, day by day, year after year. No promises, no guarantees beyond sun and moon, a spinning earth underfoot, and seasons which come and go during our circumnavigational waltz around our homeland star—bolstered as we stumble along by the strong and precious assurances of faith and belief.

Most of winter is still out there, in front of us, waiting to snow and blow, sting our eyes, redden our nose, and run shivery icicle fingers up and down our spine.

However, I want to make one thing clear at the outset, to whomever is in charge of such matters—I simply wasn’t prepared, physiologically or psychologically, for those recent few days of sub-zero temperatures we experienced during Christmas. While it wasn’t anywhere near as bad hereabouts as it was for those poor folks in Buffalo and elsewhere along Lake Erie (I most certainly do appreciate that consideration!) it was a bigger dose of Siberian cold than I care to repeat.

Maybe I’m just being a wuss, but I can happily make it through the rest of the year ahead without having to deal again with frozen plumbing and frostbite.

This is Ohio. We have whitetails rather than reindeer, possums instead of polar bears. We are Buckeyes. Not the most delicate flowers in the pot, but the only thing we’d know to do with an iceberg would be chip a few tiny shards off for pitchers of margaritas, then surround the gargantuan remainder with orange barrels and “road closed” signs and wait for July to melt the thing away.

If this sounds like I dread or dislike January, that’s truly not how I feel. Even if I could hibernate the month away, I wouldn’t. For me January is as necessary as June.

I guess what I like most about January is its overall mood, the quiet silence after the holiday bustle. Time slows in January. There’s space for relaxation, room to breathe.

January is a white serenity beyond the multicolored blaze of lighted Christmas decorations and New Year’s Eve fireworks. It’s as if nature has peeled the old year off with its passing and placed an uncluttered new canvas on the easel.

January is a vast and solemn peace. A landscape where blue jays and cardinals become sapphires and rubies. Where a single brooding hemlock can seem a vision in green.

Come January, I like to sit by the fireside, cozying up with a good book, listening to a CD—preferably something dark and complex so the music can blend with the tympanic rattle of sleet on the windowpanes and the soft, haunting moan of wind around the eaves.

Some nights, during a time of winter’s stillness, you might hear nearby trees popping in the deepening cold, cracking like gunshots. Or catch the groans and mutters of expanding river ice.

Winter may have officially arrived in December, but January is when we come face-to-face with its heart and soul. January is both eternal and eternity, endless and forever. Always, January endures—it days reign beyond ere millenniums.

Time, season, journey. Here we are, off on another circular journey around the sun.

It’s a brand new year and a brand new month, and we have fifty-two weeks of steady trekking ahead before we’ll manage to finish the course.

Be happy, be blessed! Find the beauty.

Reach Jim McGuire at: [email protected]

Natural Wanders Jim McGuire